Let’s kick off Diabetes Blog Week by talking about the diabetes causes and issues that really get us fired up. Are you passionate about 504 plans and school safety? Do diabetes misconceptions irk you? Do you fight for CGM coverage for Medicare patients, SDP funding, or test strip accuracy? Do you work hard at creating diabetes connections and bringing support? Whether or not you “formally” advocate for any cause, share the issues that are important to you. (Thanks go out to Kim of Texting my Pancreas for inspiring this topic.) From: http://www.bittersweetdiabetes.com/p/2014-diabetes-blog-week-topics-posts.html
While I’m not out to change the entire world, I do try to change at least our small part of it. So, what am I passionate about when it comes to diabetes? Can you guess? I can’t pick just one topic. Support. Education. School issues. Those are probably the ones that I participate or talk about the most. The ones I am most passionate about.
I don’t see “support” and automatically think about it being advocacy though. I think of it as a lifeline for anyone who is dealing with diabetes in any way – whether it is a person with diabetes, parent of someone with diabetes, friends, family, co-workers. There is no limit to who can benefit from support when it comes to having diabetes touch your life. I honestly wouldn’t be where I am right now in Angelina’s journey if it weren’t for the DOC and the 24/7 support and connection with so many other people who are walking a parallel road. Which brings me to the next cause:
EDUCATION. Diabetes education is probably the thing I am most vocal about, simply because I feel like there’s not enough awareness out there about Type 1. And it seems that even the people who try to raise awareness for Type 1 do it at the expense of Type 2. By saying “well, that statement that you made about food doesn’t apply to T1. My T1 child didn’t do this to themselves.” While the statement is true, it implies that people with T2 “did it to themselves”, which is not always the case. I don’t agree with raising awareness and education for one condition while making ignorant statements or putting down people with another, similar condition. Yes, Type 1 and Type 2 are different. Yes, Type 2 does have risk factors that include lifestyle choices… but, it also has a strongly genetic component. And regardless of any of that, diabetes, in any form, SUCKS! No one asks to have diabetes. So placing blame doesn’t benefit either cause. If I am going to teach someone about something and part of that education is differentiation from a misconception they have based on something else then I am also going to educate myself on the other topic (in this case, Type 2) so that I don’t come up looking like the ignorant and mistaken one.
Lastly, school issues. This is a tough one for me. I have a loud mouth, and a blog that I can share a lot of information on. Feelings, frustrations, triumphs, thoughts, information… But when it comes down to it, advocating for your child at their school is HARD. Because it’s not about just shooting your mouth off. If you want things done your way at your child’s school then you have to find a balance between being pushy, and being a push-over. If you go in guns blazing, chances are the school personnel are going to push back against everything you demand. But sometimes, if you go in nice and easy they just steam roll right over you and you leave feeling like you weren’t heard and didn’t get the things that you want and need for your child’s safety and well-being at school. Finding the balance is difficult. Forget difficult, it’s damn near impossible. Sometimes you can’t do it on your own. Both the American Diabetes Association and JDRF will provide information for working with the school on your own to come to an agreement about how your child’s diabetes will be managed at school. Sometimes, doing it alone isn’t enough. Both the ADA and JDRF have legal advocates that can help guide you and will also attend meetings with you to make sure that the laws and regulations regarding students with diabetes are being followed. And sometimes, the school seems to go along with all your requests during 504 meetings and then doesn’t follow the accommodations that were agreed to. Taking the steps to make sure that not only are the accommodations being agreed to, but also followed, can be a tenuous process. But, in the end, our children are the priority and as a parent we must do whatever it takes to ensure that they are having their needs met.