November is National Diabetes Month– Wahoo? Hmm.

November 12th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

I’m not sure who made November National Diabetes Month.  I went to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since I figured they’d know. 

I found the page that started with a let’s be nice and say “off-putting” sentence:

You have the power to prevent and control diabetes.

It didn’t necessarily get better as I continued to read:

If you already have diabetes, managing the disease can lower your risk of complications such as kidney failure, heart disease and stroke, blindness, and amputations of legs and feet.

So maybe I shouldn’t be looking to the government health agency for much help.

I went to the American Diabetes Association’s website since I figured maybe they could be more of a help. 

Ah.  They want a donation from me. 

Moving on, I did a search on the site for what to say about November.  More information

American Diabetes Month®

November is American Diabetes Month, a time to communicate the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of diabetes prevention and control. For years, the American Diabetes Association has used this month as an opportunity to raise awareness of the disease and its serious complications.

Still not quite happy with this.  I try to communicate something about my disease every day… so a full month dedicated to doing precisely that seems… simultaneously superfluous and unnecessary.  (And I’m rather confused why the ADA felt a need to trademark the term “American Diabetes Month”.)

So off I went next to the JDRF website.  (Maybe they won’t tell me to prevent and control my diabetes.)  Oh wait: still a plug for money and self-serving laudations for what JDRF is doing when it comes to research.  Well, I guess it’s closer. 

Renewal of U.S. Government Special Diabetes Program Will Ensure Progress toward Better Treatments and a Cure for Type 1 Diabetes

NEW YORK, Nov. 5, 2010 – Thanks to significant research advances in recent years, people living with type 1 diabetes have received better treatments and therapies. Scientists have made headway in uncovering the possible cause of type 1 diabetes, and in their efforts to find ways to prevent, treat, or reverse the autoimmune disease and its complications. Despite this progress, we still have a long road ahead of us to identify a cure that will eliminate type 1 diabetes once and for all.

Alright.  I’m done with my search.  I am still not finding what I want on three of the biggest national resources I expect should be supporting ME and MY DISEASE. 

I don’t need a month each year to wear blue, or gray, or whatever.  I don’t need to send money to organizations so that they can design holiday cards and mail me a catalog about the holiday cards. 

Nope.  That isn’t what the month is to me.  To me, November being Diabetes Month is about what every other month, day, hour, and minute is about: keeping myself healthy, emotionally and physically, and living my life. 

My diabetes comes first some days, and my life comes first some days.  It’s hard to explain to a lot of people how constant the diabetes thinking really is.  It’s hard to explain being at a restaurant or at someone’s house and wondering if I should bolus before I’ve seen the food (preferable to time the insulin to meet the carbohydrates entering my system to keep my blood sugar levels more even), or after (safer in that I can visually guess the carbohydrate counts and don’t risk my insulin hitting my system before the food has left the kitchen on its way to me).  It’s hard to explain how I don’t even realize I’m checking my blood sugar at work until I see a coworker get nervous and stop talking to me because he’s busy watching me check.  Or, for that matter, how that coworker’s response FEELS to me.

I wonder if November being Diabetes Month really does increase awareness of my type one diabetes.  I suspect it doesn’t.  Given the fact that the American Diabetes Association still seems concerned about me losing a foot, I am not sure they understand my type one.

Good thing November holds other special events for me in my life: if it were a special month just because it is Diabetes Month I might be disappointed!

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