This week is Diabetes Week 2014.
I do always feel funny that we’ve been given a ‘week’. Diabetes doesn’t really strike me as cause to start popping the corks. But I do one million percent think that weeks like this are fantastic for raising awareness, and ultimately (and most importantly) encouraging conversations around the pancreatically challenged life.
Reading Diabetes UK’s #ICan feed was like the ultimate Monday morning dose of happy. I love me an inspirational quote – these are like quotes on steroids, with feel-good rockets up their backsides. We all know it, but sometimes it’s hard to remember: people with type 1 are just normal people living their lives. Not aliens, or freaks, who need to be tiptoed around, or wrapped in cotton wool. We’re athletes, travellers, movers, shakers, HAPPY people achieving great things each and every day – it’s just that behind the scenes, there’s some serious shit going on. Some achievements are big, like travelling the world. Some are small, like making it through the day without a hypo. But here’s the thing – that’s not a small feat at all, is it? Having to try and make it through every day of the rest of your life without dropping into the hypo zone is huge. Subtle, perhaps, but colossal. It’s also impossible, which essentially amounts to setting ourselves up for failure. And beyond that, suffering a hypo and having the knowledge and skills amidst the chaos of what a hypo entails to fix it and carry on with your day is medal-worthy.
I love the #ICan idea, because on the whole, we’re pessimists. We’re passive and we don’t shout about the great things that make us who we are; diabetes or no diabetes. But this week is indeed a celebration, a reason to pat ourselves on the back and acknowledge that we’re going through something pretty demanding, and getting on with it anyway: work, life, family, travels, exercise. Yes, everybody is going through something. But given that the something we’re going through has been deemed worthy of a national ‘week’, let’s all acknowledge that despite this shit, we’re out there, and we’re living our lives anyway. Bloody spectacularly, if the #ICan feed is anything to go by.
So for a nation of people who are humble and quiet and self-depricating, I’d like to say #ICan acknowledge that I’m not doing badly with this thing. None of us are. We’re so so hard on ourselves when we get our doses wrong, or accept that second chocolate, or inject in the same place one too many times, or fail to log all our bloods correctly, or indeed fail to make it through the day without having a hypo, sometimes two hypos, sometimes three hypos. I’ve had more hypos than I’d dare to count, some fixable with a little apple juice and a quiet minute, others much much more terrifying. But WE can also stand up and more than ever before and actually talk about this stuff with each other. The literal highs and the lows, the scares, the fears and the overcoming of things that pre-diabetes seemed god damn exciting at best, daunting at worst. Add diabetes into the mix and we can easily leap to keep-you-awake-at-night terrifying. Like going to your first sleepover, or leaving home, negotiating pregnancy, endurance running, starting a new job. WE can do these things. And hopefully Diabetes Week this year, with lovely ideas like #ICan will help turn the keep-you-awake-at-night terrifying back to daunting, and maybe just back to exciting. Because #ICan absolutely, definitely and wonderfully rely on you lot to make it just a little bit easier. Because you’re all doing it sans pancreas too. So hell yeh, maybe we should pop ourselves the prosecco after all. Now THAT, dear friends, is something #ICan definitely do.