On the last two weeks I had really sad news about two women who died because of diabetes. It´s not that uncommon and it always hit me. One was someone close to a friend family, here in São Paulo, a women around 35, who had a successful life in her personal and professional life. What people told me (people are afraid to tell you bad news when they know you have diabetes) that she got a H1N1 influenza for the second time and didn´t resist to it. The other person was a young girl I met in one of my trips, very kind and intelligent. She had a kidney failure and didn´t resist.
One had access to medication and education. I can´t tell that the same happened to the other. But what it makes me think is that handle diabetes is such a difficult task that we need to emphasize the importance of the multidisciplinary treatment, with the idea that no one should face this disease alone or “in the dark”.
This is not new: diabetes is a chronic disease and until this day it has no cure. This is a huge burden people with diabetes have to live with, added to this the stress of controlling 24/7 the glycemia, having to deal with prejudice, fear and stigma, explaining what is happening to you to your family and friends (and sometimes to society) and take care of our body (after all, diabetes is not the only thing you need to care about your health) and mind.
When difficult times comes on your professional or personal life it is hard to keep the balance and all the balls juggling in the air. And I think that fits here some ideas (the same that I need to listen sometimes) that can improve any type of relationship, by the way. It´s not a recipe, but maybe it can give food for thought:
1) Family and Friends: please, listen without any playing the judge or the devil´s advocate. Don´t minimize what someone is feeling by trying to rationalize an emotion.
2) Healthcare professionals: make treatment decisions a shared goal, that I also have the autonomy to choose the path I want to follow.
3) You there with diabetes:
- Clarify to yourself why you are feeling what your feeling: Clarity: invest on your self-knowledge, continuously, and in every sense of your being. This will help you understand more of your body (eg.: every time I get to stressed my glycemia tend to raise/ drop) and mind (to help you cope with this condition (and many others that life can bring unexpectedly).
- You are not alone: don´t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help and search for professional health support, including support groups, sometimes those beloved one around you are not ready to listen, understand and create the empathy you need on a specific moment. Not because they don´t want to, they really love you, but sometimes they just don´t have the tools, we are all humans: liable to defects and limitations;
- Fight for your rights: of access to medicine, care and education.
- Don´t be afraid of being wrong: sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down. Don´t be too hard on yourself. Learn with your mistakes.
Write this post is somehow a chance to take the pain I feel when those kind of news hit me. Wish and hope that one day no one will die prematurely from diabetes.