November is National Diabetes Awareness month. It’s a good time to reflect on your blood glucose successes and have compassion for what you may view as failures. What’s in a glucose reading anyway? It’s just a number. It gives you feedback for a certain time period. Everyone struggles with maintaining good blood sugars. The important thing to remember is that you are not alone. In this issue, you will find everyday heroes who are committed to reminding other people that we are all in this together. Since dialog is what it’s all about when dealing with your diabetes, I am happy to tell you about a new section of our popular web site, Diabetes Health Forums. It’s a place where you can participate in an existing discussion or start a new one of your own. Learn more at www.diabeteshealth.com/forums.
John B. is an active participant in Diabetes Health Forums. He lives in Missouri and was diagnosed with type 1 in 1992. When we asked John why he patiently spends so much time answering people’s questions on Diabetes Health Forums and guiding them to the information they need, he responded, “I want to do good by helping others. I want to work with like-minded people to find ways to improve diabetes care. I want to repay those who helped me and gave me hope by doing the same for others.”
Fourteen-year-old Eva H. is another active participant in Diabetes Health Forums. She was diagnosed with type 1 when she was eight years old. Eva started several discussions (or “threads” in today’s parlance) because she wants to become a pediatric endocrinologist. She thinks “it’s a good idea for teens with diabetes to have a place to go to talk, vent, gripe, or just express success in pumping and with diabetes in general.”
Eva’s mother, Cynthia, wrote an article in this issue about her nine children, three of whom have type 1. Neither Cynthia nor her husband, Greg, has diabetes, and the three diagnoses were quite a shock. It’s gut-wrenching to watch a child cope with something as challenging as diabetes. But Cynthia is an everyday hero. She rolled up her sleeves and became an advocate in the schools for better understanding of diabetes. She taught her children to pick themselves up and go on with life. Cynthia writes, “I think that all of my kids are who they are because of the experiences that have touched them. I like the people that they have become.”
This issue of Diabetes Health also celebrates the heroes that live among us. Laura Dugan writes in “My Own Injection” about finding out that she had type 2 at age forty-five. She says she shouldn’t have been shocked, her father had type 1, and other family members suffered from type 2. Her father died at the age of forty-one from a heart attack, but her mother “always insisted that it was partly because he didn’t manage his diabetes well.” But no one in Laura’s family talked openly about diabetes. There was no exchange of information, so Laura had no idea what to do when her own diagnosis came. Thankfully, Laura has since taken control of her health. It’s not easy. Diabetes Health Forums can support Laura and help her to remember that we are all in this together. We have shared experiences. We’ve all been frustrated. We’ve laughed. We’ve cried. We’ve carried on.
The awe-inspiring Jay Hewitt on our front cover has lived with type 1 since 1991. He’s an elite Ironman triathlete (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, 26.2 mile run) and three-time member of the U.S. National Team for Long Course Triathlon. He is a lawyer, father, and motivational speaker. This issue marks the beginning of his regular “Reaching the Finish Line” column in Diabetes Health. Each issue, he’ll write about motivation, fitness, nutrition, and how to achieve goals in life and business.
If you like to stories about overcoming odds, don’t miss the article about the Canadian pilot Steve Steele, who helped pave the way for pilots with diabetes to fly commercial jets in Canada. There’s also Jean Roemer, MSN, MN, CRNP, CDE who gathers diabetic supplies and ships them to Malawi, Africa. Finally, there’s Al Krause (diagnosed with type 2 in 2002) and Ruth Higgins, who worked hard to stick to Dr. Bernstein’s low carb diet while vacationing Down Under.
It’s a time to celebrate all of us: those who don’t give up, who live by example, and who are helping us all live a better life.