Sunday, 28 July 2013

Letter to the Home Secretary: On Developing Diabetes

Dear Mrs May

'What a b***y pain.' You may have said to yourself. 'Just when I am so busy helping to run the country, I have to get diabetes. And not the pill-taking kind, that some of my parliamentary colleagues seem to have, it's the serious sort that needs injections every day'.

You may equally, or also, have thought 'Phew. I was just beginning to wonder if all those symptoms were something really serious, like cancer. I've seen that happen to people, too. What a relief'.

If you did think either, or both of these things, you have a lot in common with the many thousands of other people with Type 1 diabetes. In my experience, everyone remembers their diagnosis and how they felt, whether it was annoyance or even anger at its unannounced and unwelcome arrival, just when they were busy doing something else much more important, or because it gave a more positive name to their worst fears.

Either way, you know it's here and here to stay. We wish you success in living with it and making use of the vast array of treatments, information and fantastic support that is available to you. It's not always easy. There will be some days - known to many as 'bad diabetes days' - when it simply doesn't behave whatever you do and even gets the better of you. You can't avoid this, however strong, clever and powerful you are - and there are many other such people, like you, out there.

Above all, take advantage of what your government offers to people with long term conditions: Rigorous medical care; The chance for personalised discussions about what care and treatment is right for you; Structured education to learn more about these, meet others (learning from many others, as well as the famous, like Steve, can be inspiring and practical) and get to know how to self manage it successfully. For example, it's unlikely that 2 injections will do the trick for you with your busy lifestyle. If it does, please tell everyone how so, as it would be welcome news for many.

Please allow yourself to feel the emotions that go with such a momentous diagnosis and life with diabetes - anger, relief, disappointment, even stigma and shame. Your feelings will affect how you deal with it practically and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging them. You won't want to tell the whole country (who would?), but do tell yourself and your loved ones, who live with it too and they will want to do their bit to help you.

There's a big society with diabetes in this country, Mrs May. People who've been there and know some 'tricks of the trade'. Please take advantage of what they offer and experience the benefits for yourself - for example, one thing people will be delighted to tell you is how you can still eat bread, cake and sticky toffee pudding!

It's unwelcome news to get diabetes, but you're very welcome here.

Yours Sincerely
Successful Diabetes

Here are just a few of the many online places you might like to visit

Successful Diabetes: Getting started: a short guide
Diabetes UK
Blog: Shoot Up or Put Up: The lighter side of insulin dependency
Carbs and Cals

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