I Have a D-Dream
A diabetes awareness article inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.
By Manny Hernandez
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
April 2011— Although the challenges faced by African Americans in the sixties and people with diabetes today are very different, because this article is getting published close to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 2011, I took the liberty of applying some elements from his historical "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963 to diabetes today.
In 1921, insulin was discovered. This moment came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of people with type 1 diabetes who, until then, had been doomed to die as a result of a non-functioning pancreas.
But ninety years later, still too many people with diabetes languish (and far too many still die because they don't have access to insulin too). Some of them see their bodies decay, some see their souls turn sour.
Ninety years later, lots of people with diabetes lack vital information and support that can help them live a healthy life with this chronic disease. And so I've written this article today to dramatize this shameful state of things.
It would be terrible for people with diabetes in the world to overlook the urgency of the moment. We live in a time when the barriers to access to life-and-soul-saving knowledge and support we need have dropped lower than ever.
January 2011 is a beginning. Not just the start of a new year, but the start of a diabetes revolution!
As we share diabetes information and offer support to one another, let's not forget who the real enemy is. People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are not the enemy. It is not even sensationalist media or the person making inappropriate treatment recommendations. Our enemy is IGNORANCE!
We can never be satisfied as long as there are people with diabetes living through this disease all alone. We cannot be satisfied as long as people without diabetes do not understand what life with diabetes is really like.
I know you may be struggling. You may be unemployed or uninsured. You may live surrounded by people who don't understand you or you may hide to give yourself an insulin shot. Know that somehow this situation can and will be changed!
Although things today are far from where we want them to be, I have a dream that everyone with diabetes will be able to meet someone else they can vent with or learn from, to become more informed and empowered patients together.
I have a dream that all partners of people with diabetes will understand how challenging this disease can be for their spouses, become more informed, and turn into the main source of support for their better half.
I have a dream that one day all people diagnosed with diabetes will come to terms with the disease and accept that life has changed for them; that's the first step for all of us.
And if the right thing is to happen, a cure for diabetes must become true.
And so let a cure ring from every corner of the world.
Let a cure ring from the mighty mountains north of India.
Let a cure ring from the China to Mexico, from Russia to Germany.
Let a cure ring from Brazilian lands to the USA.
And when this happens, we will all be able to sing together:
Cured at last! Cured at last!
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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I met a mother recently whose daughter was just recently diagnosed. They've been on the diabetes wagon for about 3 weeks. Mom seems alright, maybe a little overwhelmed and certainly looking tired. I had a meeting with her, set up by a local friend who reads my blog and knows my diabetes story. She thought I could be helpful in assisting with the navigation of diabetes territory. We sat at a table a local coffee shop. I sipped a water while mom got a black coffee. ...