I began the new year with a renewed commitment to both my blog and my website. I was going to provide more information as well as make sure that everything was kept fresh and uptodate. I have been working hard at my promise to myself and have been very happy with the results.
I have been going back over old school policies and looking to see if more boards are now protecting their students with diabetes. I was happy to see Alberta had made changes. There were more policies out there. We were doing something right. I continued looking that the rest of the country and my enthusiasm took a big hit. When looking at British Columbia I saw that most places had antiquated policies regarding the administering of medication in schools that had been passed in the late 1990s! There were some places that had upgraded to create a "medical alert" policy but these policies were very minimalist. I did note however, that almost every board had an anaphylatic policy.
This brought me back to the good old breast cancer frustration. No, its not as strange of a leap as it sounds. Remember, in earlier posts I have discussed how wonderfully the breast cancer people have promoted their cause (and the allergy people have obviously done well at promoting their's). Some have said that diabetes is not "sexy" like breast cancer and that's why they are more successful than we are. That made sense. They also use pink as an awareness color and face it, its a nice color for many items. Diabetes can't decide if we are grey or blue.
I was frustrated. We can't get the public's attention like the cancer people do. We can't get the school's attention like the allergy people do. What is wrong? I have been working on this stuff for over 10 years now. How can all of my work and the work of so many others be for not? We had to have made some inroads.
I had tried to appease myself by remembering the things that had changed...and then came the latest uproar in the diabetes online community. For those of us who live and breathe diabetes, you know what I am talking about. There has been a renewed fuss surrounding the JDRF. I won't go into it at the moment because the issue has been flogged to death and then some, but what I took away from it is how separate we have become when we desperately need to be united.
We waste our energy raging over which type of diabetes is worse and whose fault it is that we have to deal with it. Can't we just all agree that "diabetes" sucks and we need to do everything we can together to make it better?
It would appear that there is also a battle over which charity you should support and "my charity is better than your charity". For me, each organization has something to offer someone. I am not a big fundraiser. I hate asking people for money. I ask governments for money but that is different. Possibly, its because of this that I really have no time to worry about which charity should get my money (that and the fact that my visa gets the bulk of my money).
The third area I have heard debate lately is between parents and people with diabetes. I really don't get this one. As a parent, the "people with diabetes" are someone's children. Their perspective is invaluable because they live in the same place as my child. They have heard the "cure in 5-10 years" speech that many specialists love to give the newly diagnosed. (Thankfully we heard, "In 5-10 years the technology should be a lot better and make his life easier but be prepare for impotence in his twentys and other possible issues.") They have been "low". They have been "high". They live with something attached to them 24/7 or they know that they forget to take insulin now and then. They know what its like to be a human pin cushion. I don't. I know what its like to care. I know what its like to will your child to live. I know what its like to be sleep deprived but they offer a unique position that I personally treasure.
My focus is on the now. I focus on trying to help people today live to see a tomorrow with minimal, if not no, complications. I spend my energy helping people get through with what they have and try to get governments to assist so that they can have better tools with less cost to themselves.
Maybe its because of this that I am so frustrated. We are all on the same side. When push comes to shove (and there seems to be a lot of cyber pushing and shoving going on) we all want our loved ones with diabetes to be healthy. We would all love to see a cure. We all want the very best for those with diabetes.
If we are to go forward, we must be together. As one voice we are strong but as a mob who are simply shouting at one another...well we are just that, a disgruntled mob. Many have said it before but I will say it again...United we will stand but divided we fall. Let's move forward united and stronger than we have ever been so we can truly see real change in the world for people with diabetes.