Guest Post by Sarah Jane
Since I have never been a 20-something without diabetes, I can only assume what being a 20-something without diabetes would be like. I assume that most 20-somethings don’t often think about how they will die or when they will die. I assume most 20-somethings don’t think about how one beer or glass of wine will affect their blood sugar. I assume most 20-somethings consider cheese fries on a Friday night to be a nonchalant manner, not a fastidious math problem. I assume most 20-somethings feel energetic and ready to take on the world. I assume most 20-somethings find the prospect of losing their parent’s health insurance at 26 a minute problem rather than a panic attack educing fear.
Being that I am a 20-something (23, to be exact) with diabetes, I can tell you how 23 year olds with diabetes see the world. At least, how this 23 year old sees the world. I see my next seven years as a privilege rather than a sure thing. I fear diseases in my 30’s that most people don’t worry about till their 50’s or 60’s, like heart disease and kidney disease. I drink far less than my friends do, because I have had secondhand experience, through a friend with diabetes, of what a blood sugar of 36 plus several liters of alcohol can do to a person. I spend at least a half hour on the internet researching carbohydrate, protein, and fat content of my favorite restaurant meals before partaking in them, and even then I often miscalculate my dosage, making the rest of my night out with friends miserable as my blood sugars swing too high or too low. I often feel lethargic and discouraged because of “off” blood sugar readings. And February 7, 2013? Until I find myself a full time job with health benefits, I will fear that day, my 26th birthday, when the cost of my diabetes supplies will increase because I will no longer have health coverage. (Thank goodness for Health Care Reform, because without it that date would be in 2011, aka just a few months from now).
I know that all of these things are upsetting and may make you, my readers, feel saddened or feel sorry for me. Please, don’t. I am only publishing them during November for awareness’s sake. This is what we, persons with diabetes, deal with on a regular basis. Fear, feelings, and problems that people without our disease don’t have to deal with. This is why we need a cure. This is why we need to join together, locally, nationally, and internationally, to fund research and push legislation that can help us fight this disease in all aspects. Health care access. Treatment research. Support systems. All of these things are infinitely important to our self-care. It doesn’t matter the type of diabetes or who the person is who has the disease. I write about being a 23 year old with diabetes because that is what I know. But dealing with diabetes is difficult at any age. I know that with the support of my family, online and offline, I have it a lot better than a lot of people who live with diabetes. But I also know that with more support, we can do bigger and better things.
How are you supporting research, advocacy, or a diabetic community this month?
You can read more about Sarah on her blog: Sarahndipity
Follow Sarah on twitter@sajabla