Not enough credit is given to the people who help make us successful in life. I’m talking about the teachers, the coaches, the friends, the family members, and everyone who gives so willingly of their time, and asks for nothing in return but the opportunity to do it again and better.
There are also folks that we employ to work with us, and help us find success. Our healthcare team is a key group of people in this category, who care about us while also putting their years of education and experience to use to guide us toward favorable health outcomes.
Life is easier when we’re not alone, when we have someone to talk to, and work through challenges with. Diabetes can be a very lonely disease, leaving us to spend a lot of time in our own heads, with our own thoughts of what we are doing right and wrong, what we could or should be doing better, and whether or not we are holding up our end of the bargain with our partners, and living in fear of how they will react if we don’t.
We shouldn’t fear including others in our lives with diabetes. Our healthcare providers, friends, coworkers, and loved ones should be the people we can trust the most with our diabetes. These are people who sincerely want to help, and we rarely let them in on the secrets about how they can do that in a way that works for us. This issue of The PLAID Journal features a Moving Forward piece called “Talking Points,” and is an excellent guide to how the people who support us can learn, listen, and lean in to help.
As we all know, there are no trophies for living well with diabetes. The closest we get to a prize is a stamp of “compliant” on our electronic health record, and the opportunity to do it again tomorrow. In regards to changing the way we classify our diabetes performance, we have an Audience Perspective this issue called “Leading the Struggle to Thrive” that proposes a shift in the way we talk about diabetes in the healthcare setting. Talking about diabetes is important, but we need to make sure we’re talking about it in the proper tones, with respect to the work that living well with diabetes requires.
Our partners are even included in how we are thinking about new diabetes technologies that are quickly coming to market. One of our Research articles this issue called “Partner Perspectives On Closed Loop Systems” explores how the people we share our lives with feel about new technologies in living with diabetes, and the potential that these technologies have to reduce the frightening possibility of hypoglycemia.
Evident throughout this issue of PLAID is that people love each other, and they care. People have hope. The things we are able to accomplish together give us hope. The opportunity to return the support, and achieve bigger things as a team gives us hope. Standing up to adversity, winning in both the short and long terms, and changing the world around us gives us hope.
Hope defines our life with diabetes. We hope for a cure. We hope for better technologies that make living with diabetes easier. We hope for more effective medications that reduce the physiological burden of diabetes. We hope we don’t ever get complications from living with this progressive disease. We hope we don’t ever have to ask for help. We hope our health insurance covers us when we do need help. We hope the people that we love and care about with diabetes don’t ever need our help, and that we’ll be prepared if they ever do.
If there is one thing that I wish every person newly diagnosed with diabetes could understand from day one, it is that diabetes can open so many more doors than it can shut. Human beings need each other, and have since we first began drawing on cave walls in an attempt to communicate about the world around us. Hidden within the curse of diabetes is a gift of hope that gives us an opportunity to bond closer with other people, to help each other, and to help ourselves.
In an uncertain world, where the rules are constantly changing, the one thing we can rely on is hope for something better. As American Jewish educator and journalist Morris Mandel said, “Even the darkest hour only has 60 minutes.” As our healthcare laws change, and our diabetes technologies improve, we as a community of partners must continue to advocate for those things that can yield more favorable outcomes. We must advocate for ourselves, but most importantly, we must advocate for each other. Even when the work is hard, even when we’re uncertain of success, we must push through to get what we need for ourselves and for the greater good.
Everything changes, sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse. But change is a temporary state. Whether for our own lives with diabetes or for the people we care about most in this world, we must confront difficult moments of change with hope, with courage, with dignity, and with resolve, and demand opportunities to achieve success again and again… and better.
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