This week, advocates from around the country will convene in Washington, D.C., for the biannual American Diabetes Association® Capitol Hill Advocacy Day. What does it mean to be a Diabetes Advocate? Let’s hear from Association volunteer Allison, who will be joining us!
I still play competitive soccer and the flute, and I am a straight-A student. But it isn’t the same. FOREVER tethered to diabetes, the many pricks and sticks. FOREVER? REALLY?
Each day I have to check my blood sugar at least 6 to 10 times. I have to measure all my food and figure out how many carbohydrates there are in what I eat. It’s a lot for a kid, or anyone, to manage.
I do have a different life than my friends, but I am NOT different than them. I have to think every hour, every minute, every second of every day about how what I am about to do will affect my glucose. My friends can go and run around or go to sleep and never think that something bad might happen. But with my diabetes, it’s something I cannot control; it’s something that could send me to the hospital in an instant.
My first thoughts about a friend’s party are not about the fun. I think, “Do I have my meter? Enough strips? Juice? Do I have enough insulin in my pump?” I wonder what kind of cake and food will be there. Will my mom be there to help me, or will I have to teach another adult about my diabetes? I cannot NOT think about these things because they keep me alive. NOT healthy, but ALIVE.
I’m an 11-year-old making sure I have the things I need to survive each and every day. I was told this was FOREVER at the age of 6. FOREVER with insulin and checking my glucose.
Five years later, and I don’t want this forever. The ups and downs, the emotions I deal with, the looks and stares of people when I prick my finger and when they ask if I have a “pager” on my hip. The stress I see in my parents when they check my glucose in the middle of the night, the doctors’ visits and all the medical bills they pay.
FOREVER just seems wrong to me.
Just because you’re not joining Allison on the Hill doesn’t mean you can’t help. Anyone who is affected by diabetes can be an advocate and take part Capitol Hill Advocacy Day from afar.
Please sign our petition to Congress at http://stopdiabetes.com/petition. Together, we can win this battle!
The Association also asks that you join our Thunderclap and dedicate your social media status to help spread the word about our advocacy efforts. By inviting your friends and family to participate we can ignite a dialogue about the importance of preventing, treating and curing diabetes.