As Diabetes Awareness Month came to a close, I took time to think about what I’d discovered.
If I’m honest, I’d never really heard about Diabetes Awareness Month or World Diabetes Day, which falls smack bang in the middle. I’ve been a diabetic for 16 years, how was this not on my radar? It certainly is now and has become a significant milestone in my diabetes journey.
I attended the Diabetes NZ annual conference 30 October – 1 November, a rather appropriate way to kick‑start the month. Two and a half days entrenched in workshops, discussions, presentations and sharing tips and tricks with other diabetics, parents of diabetic children and people that worked in the industry, who just got it! I left the conference determined to make a difference. What that looks like, we’ll I’m not quite sure yet? Let’s call it a work in progress. Watch this space…
I began posting regularly on Facebook, Instagram and twitter, sharing what living with diabetes was all about. I also caught up with Diabetes NZ to chat about awareness and how we can work together, helped at their Diabetes Awareness Roadshow and even made a cameo appearance on the Type1Day1 video, released by BeyondType 1 on World Diabetes Day. Check it out here.
What I discovered:
We (diabetics) are all fighting hard to manage the highs and lows to ensure we have the same choices and opportunities as everyone else. That’s all we want. If we choose to compete professionally in road cycling or adventure racing, we can. If we decide to run 25 kilometres to raise funds for young kiwi diabetics, we can. If we choose to travel around the world and represent NZ at the World Diabetes Congress, we can. If we choose to have children, drive a car, hold down a job, we can!
To prevent or reduce the risk of people developing diabetes, we need to raise Diabetes awareness. It will also help diabetics access/build support networks and realise they are not alone. Raising diabetes awareness can’t be achieved by a single person. We all need to start the conversation, share our thoughts and challenge the barriers.
Knowledge is the key when it comes to mastering diabetes. During diabetes awareness month, people from around the world shared their stories, their successes and their challenges. I soaked it up and my confidence grew. Before I knew it, I was being released from the care of the Hutt Hospital Diabetes team. The ‘insulin-pump training wheels’ have been removed. Let’s do this!