The Dangers of ‘Forgetting’ You Have Diabetes
This Friday’s personal blog post comes from Associate Editor, Stoyan. Enjoy!
Diabetes is known as an “invisible illness” because in most cases, you can’t really tell a person has the condition. Unless you see someone with a pump or giving himself an injection there is no way of distinguishing a type 1 diabetic from any other person.
That’s what creates a danger – a danger of forgetting just how serious the disease can be.
Even though I have type 1 diabetes and every day try to do my part in talking about the problem and advocating for a cure, I am also in danger of forgetting sometimes. While I am far from the perfect model of a diabetes patient, I follow a reasonable diet, go to the doctor once every 3 months, keep my blood sugar numbers at a good level, and have not had any real scares with the condition since my hospital stay when I was first diagnosed almost six years ago.
I go about my daily life, take my injections when I have to (nope, still not on the pump) and mostly try not to let diabetes take up much space in my mind. I feel good…but that is not an excuse for forgetting that the current reality for many others, and possibly my own future, may not be so rosy.
Drew (one of my fellow associate editors) posted a personal blog a couple of weeks ago that mentioned just how horrific the complications surrounding type 1 can be. Without listing them all, they can include eye damage, amputations, heart problems, early death…none of which are pretty. When people say diabetes is one of the most problematic diseases out there, they are not exaggerating. A chronic condition for which there is no cure is never welcome news, but one that has many serious complications is alarming and uncomfortable to think about.
Of course I hope that I can maintain my current healthy state for a long time, and more so hope that most of the people out there, be it in America or the rest of the world, can also get access to the treatments they desperately need as soon as possible. But the reality is, no matter how well we take care of ourselves, no matter what new treatments promise, a level of concern and the potential for some dangerous complications will always exist. We can feel confident, we can feel positive, but the real problem and the real danger will never go away.
That is, unless we do something about it. You can probably guess where I am going here.
A cure is not just a “bonus,” or something to think about in the distant future. It is something that we as diabetics need now, within our lifetime. It’s tempting to get complacent and focus on your own immediate situation, but in the long run, we also need to seriously plan for the future.
Even those of us who think that we have the condition under control may face a bumpy road ahead, and the future looks bleak for the millions with type 1 in third-world countries where they will have a hard time getting the daily supplies they need.
Together we can look forward to changing this future, and look toward toward making a Practical Cure for type 1 diabetes a reality. We have to keep reminding ourselves of this mission and never allow complacency to take over.