I Can … but should I? – By Helen May


As soon as read the theme for Diabetes Week was “I Can…” I was really excited. I have tried to keep this as the underlying theme for my blog since I started. This is why I have written about participating in various forms of exercise, travelling to exotic locations and eating loads of wonderful foods. I have always wanted to be in control of diabetes and I want to share this with anyone who may be afraid to push the limits.

After my initial euphoria of the theme, I started to think a little deeper and wondered whether there was another side of the coin. If those of us with diabetes start spreading the word that Big D is not getting in the way, what would others think? If we can do whatever we want, why do we need a cure? If we can experience full and adventurous life with diabetes, why should anyone be worried about getting overweight and the risk to type 2?

Of course, the story is not that simple. Whilst those of us with diabetes can do what we want, there is less spontaneity (we have to make sure we have our diabetes kit with us and our BG levels are appropriate), there is the constant worry of complication in terms of hypos and longer term problems and there’s nothing great about having to rely on medication every day to keep us alive.

So, yes, I can do what I want. I can go sailing, I can climb mountains in Nepal, I can have a night tasting cocktails, I can eat sushi, I can apply for (and get) a new job, … But I can never forget I have diabetes. I always have to plan ahead. I always have to have insulin, dextrose, blood glucose meter on hand. And despite my best efforts, my life expectancy is shorter.

I’m not saying diabetes should stop us doing what we want. But I am also saying diabetes is a big deal that I’d rather not have.

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