Recently, I saw one of my sons blithely dipping a chip into salsa, happily munching away while multi-tasking at something else – not a care in the world about his food.
It brought a smile to my face – but there was a touch of sadness with it.
You see, my work has brought me into contact with a number of PWDs (People With Diabetes) who are active on-line. And as I’ve read their blogs and tweets, talked to a number of them personally, and done my research, I’ve come to the same conclusion that they all have.
I don’t suffer from diabetes, nor does anyone in my extended family. But as I see how diabetes can essentially take over one’s life – the incessant measuring, and managing, and planning, and adjusting, all because a pancreas goes out on permanent strike (Type 1) and blood sugar levels run riot – it’s obvious that for many, diabetes is a 24/7 companion. Like having been at the altar in a shotgun wedding, where you never chose to say “I do.”
Instead, diabetes said, “You will. Deal with me.”
Some of the diabetes bloggers have kindly educated me about the disease and helped me understand – as much as is possible – what a crazy and wearying ride it is every day, just to stay on top of it. The endlessness of it. The disease guilt. The survivors’ guilt. The constant fear of the future as diabetes takes its ongoing toll on health. The fear about having children. The elusive cure which never seems to get closer.
The supplies, the equipment, the insulin, the hassles with insurance. The inability, ever, to just sit down and enjoy a meal without thinking about carbs and sugars and highs and lows and bolused insulin and “will people despise me if I eat this cupcake?”
Yes, add in the lack of understanding from society at large.
I honestly don’t know how some of these friends – including parents with children who have this condition – get through the day. I can’t imagine there’s ever 20 minutes that goes by without having to think about something diabetes-related.
Tonight, we will go to a dinner with some other families, and I won’t have to think about what I’m eating, or what my blood sugar level is – I am blessed beyond measure to have a pancreas that just works. But for thousands, that is not the case and it never will be. PWDs are blessed with amazing technology and medicines that help them live. And I’m thankful to have a chance to get to know these folks. Nonetheless, this much is abundantly clear.
Steve Woodruff consults with numerous pharmaceutical clients on training and marketing solutions and blogs at Impactiviti.
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