Let’s all unite for National Diabetes Day Nov 14
Diabetes is a disease that can make you feel very lonely – it requires self-discipline, behavior modification, and a whole lot of courage. Diabetes never leaves you, there is no vacation from it even if you sometimes just want to forget about it!
I spent many years controlling my Type 1 diabetes (T1D) extremely well and then some years dismissing it. I wanted to have a life, not just be a person with diabetes. I never asked for help – my attitude was that I was going to solve the puzzle and get rid of this terrible condition once and for all. After studying the disease in med school and as a scientist, I realized it was not so simple. The people with diabetes who I encountered during my education and my early years with the disease, were mostly very sick, since the people I saw had ended up in the hospital where I was studying or working. I had absolutely no interest in connecting with them since I could not relate to them. I was, frankly, afraid of them, and surely not inspired or comforted by them. When I was working as an intern in the ER of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, or as a post-doc at Boston’s Joslin Diabetes Center, I saw individuals who were struggling with foot ulcers, blindness, kidney or heart disease on a daily basis, and my mind became more and more set on not disclosing that I was one of them.
After leaving medicine and working in the life sciences industry, I stopped paying as much attention to my disease since the long-term consequences of the disease seemed very far away, while the near-term issues, such as having to fear low blood sugars and having to tell colleagues to accommodate to my eating habits were less desirable to someone living in the fast lane! Yet again, I did not relate to anyone with diabetes although there were several people who were going through what I was living and doing it well!
I now realize that I was wrong. Relating to others, opening up about issues in addition to strengths and weaknesses makes you stronger and it helps others as well as yourself!
Today, on National Diabetes Day we embrace fellow individuals living with diabetes, we welcome anyone who wants to share their story, and we encourage families and friends of people with diabetes to open up about their struggles.
At www.Lyfebulb.com we realize that this fight against a disease that is becoming a pandemic is not one to fight alone. We lead by example, fostering partnerships with fellow organizations to increase our reach, to expand our capabilities, and grow our community. We have also embraced mutual and diverse partners ranging from the global diabetes leader, Novo Nordisk for our Innovation Awardfocused on patient entrepreneurs, to art galleries Contini Art UK in London and Unix Gallery in Chelsea to showcase a performance by type 1 diabetic Omar Hassan on November 17th, to specially curated diabetic-friendly menus at Brasserie Ruhlmann in Rockefeller Center and Le Colonial in Midtown. We have also partnered with Punch Fitness Center on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to encourage exercise. In addition, we advise a number of smaller biotechnology and healthcare IT companies in their path toward improving the quality of life for people with diabetes, and we encourage entrepreneurs who are deriving their motivation for innovation and business-building from their own experiences with disease.
Today is a day to celebrate our unity, to celebrate our fight – but also to Live Lyfe with and without diabetes!
This blog was also featured on The Huffington Post on November 14, 2016.