2017 The Diabetes Year That Was

Melinda Seed

There’s been WAY more good in my life, both diabetes and otherwise than bad or ugly this year. A fact for which I’m grateful but as the year lurches towards its conclusion I’ll add to the nostalgia doing the rounds with some reflections of the good, the bad and the ugly as I see it in the world of diabetes in 2017.

The Ugly:

If low carb works for you, that’s great and if you want to share your success on social media, great, go for it. What is not cool is lecturing/haranguing and shaming people who don’t treat their diabetes in the same way you do. Everyone’s metabolism is surprisingly different so lay off the judgement and assumption that because it works for you, it must work for everyone.

It’s 2017, the internet has been a thing for over 20 years. Why are health professionals in Australia still relying on faxes to do referrals etc? This is ugly or maybe bad or perhaps both.

The Bad:

Insulin has been available to sustain life in people with diabetes for 97 years. Why are people with type 1 in one of the world’s richest nations having to ration insulin because they can’t afford it?  The answer is that companies are doing what they are obliged to do,maximise profits. Society is failing in its duty to limit that profiteering. Democratic governments should act in the best interests of their people, it is a disgrace that the US government has failed for decades to do this.  #insulin4all and @T1international are great but they shouldn’t be necessary.

Whilst I am enormously grateful for the level of taxpayer subsidy we receive in Australia, it is disappointing that we’re still waiting for the “imminent” announcement regarding subsidisation of the Freestyle Libre and that CGM has been subsidised based on age rather than clinical need. (Notwithstanding that the subsidisation is wonderful and due in no small part to tenacious advocacy work by those in the type 1 community).

I also take this opportunity to remind everyone that the price paid for NDSS products has risen with the CPI for people with diabetes BUT the government has not paid anymore for the products and is in fact, looking for a reduction in price from the producers. Let’s not be complacent about the cost of living with diabetes.

The Good

My diabetes year was excellent. I was privileged to have the opportunity to meet up IRL with diabetes friends and make new ones in Melbourne at DX2, to hear from some great health advocates and be inspired in Sydney.

It was fabulous that Diabetes Australia recruited social media junkies 🙂 with diabetes to report on the ADS-ADEA Annual Scientific Meeting. This conference was great in that not only were a small group of us enabled to attend to share the proceedings with others, but there were many voices of people with diabetes throughout the conference.

The social media world made my life so much easier when my out of warranty pump failed. A million thanks to the person who sent me their “spare” pump to save me from injecting Protaphane and also to the endo who communicated with me so quickly and facilitated my new pump. The system worked for me despite me not being as ontop of things as I should have been (shouldn’t really have let my pump get so far out of warranty.)

Diabetes actually gave me more than it took this year-opportunities to travel, shared experiences and friendship. I don’t know whether the “gift” that keeps on giving will strike back  in 2018 or beyond (and some years it’s definitely taken a lot) but to all my friends with type 1 D thanks for your support and comraderie here’s to kicking diabetes’ arse for another few decades.  Cheers! 

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