Apparently, we haven’t been screaming loud enough or taking the proper measures to ensure that people know how big of impact diabetes is making worldwide. I’m honestly quite shocked that new and updated numbers about those living with and those living with who have gone undiagnosed have not yet been revealed. The last time that I looked at the stats, they were the same, so let’s not dwell on that.
Let’s dwell on the fact that people are still not aware of the repercussions and issues that lie ahead for our country and our world if we do not do something about the health and wellness for those communities who are getting hit hardest by this epidemic (because by definition, that’s what this is). Additionally, there are things that need to get done for those living with Type 1, not just Type 2, as well.
I don’t know if I should technically call it discrimination, but I’ve come across those folks to who’ve been “shocked” to hear that I have diabetes. I’ve also come across those who feel like they can cure me of my disease. Trust me, I’ve had those beliefs myself but to no avail, I know that this is a lifelong battle I’m going to have to go through. But how long will we be able to go without starting to ask questions about a cure or a more formidable lifestyle that’s agile and convenient, because I’m going to be honest, I’m tired of this disease.
Regardless of all of that, people who are shocked to hear that I live with diabetes are also ignorant to the fact of how it all works, possibly taking for granted the fact that their bodies work the right way. As a society, we are not aware of how diabetes comes into our lives, the causes nor the effects that they have on us as a whole, and in turn don’t understand how to fix the problem. That’s what we need to get to—people have to learn what’s wrong in order to fix it.
Let it also be known that I’m jealous of Breast Cancer Awareness. Yes, I said it. The whole month of October turns pink. And I have to wonder, is it the fact that Type 2 diabetes is, for lack of better description, believed to be a lifestyle onset disease rather than something that “just happens” the reason why people don’t support it? Because when it comes to diseases that kill people, Diabetes takes more lives than breast cancer and AIDS combined. However, that doesn’t seem to be enough to cause a ruckus, which I think is due to the inability to comprehend just how bad it can be and how with some awareness it can possibly be curbed.
There’s an Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, the NFL got in on it with their pink gloves and now retailers are merchandising pink products during October because, well, they need to make money on your boobs, too! While the ADA has its Walk to Stop Diabetes every year, it is nowhere near the fundraiser or awareness tool that it is meant to be. If those diagnosed were walking, there would be well over 70 million people taking to the Lake Shore Drives of the world. (I live in Chicago.)
During November, we should be talking about the issues that those living with diabetes face. These topics include the lack of healthcare; the lack of resources; the lack of education; the lack of proper doctors and medical service people who actually know diabetes inside and out and who can suggest proper measures to ensure the well-being of those who have been diagnosed or have been living with it for years.
We should be talking about the advances in medicine like the strides in creating pumps closer and closer to becoming the artificial pancreas we’ve all been waiting for in order to take our lives back and not live under the beck and call of this monster of a disease. We should be taking part in studies and writing about them—as I will next week.
There are plenty of us living with this disease and we’re loud and proud and active in so many spaces, that we should make those funders of health and illnesses listen to us, to know that we need to do more in order to teach people about diabetes— all types. We should be preaching to the choir, but have those members of the choir preach to their flock.
Think about it, I don’t have breast cancer, I hope to never have it, and I know about it. Why do I know about it? Because I’m a woman and have breasts. Doesn’t everyone have a pancreas that has the chance to malfunction? Not to be a Debbie Downer or anything, but folks should learn more about the pieces of their body that MIGHT have a chance of going awry.
The importance for talking about diabetes has not died, nor will it ever. It’s an epidemic, disease, disorder that will impact citizens of the world for as long as people walk the planet. We, as “preachers” or members of the DOC write and talk and expel and share and endure all that comes from having the disease, but now it’s time to reach out to those who have a pancreas to make an even bigger impact. I mean, I got a tattoo that represents diabetes awareness so that people HAD to ask me about it, even if they don’t have diabetes and know no one with it.
So, during this month of November, I ask you, how can we keep the conversation going?