A version of this blog post was originally published on Hugging the Cactus a couple of years ago. I’ve updated it and am sharing it again today because it still rings true – I’m good at minimizing my diabetes. Multiple aspects of it, in fact. Read on for more…
I was just sitting here, minding my own business when I got to thinking about how good people with diabetes tend to be at minimizing.
I speak for myself, and some other people with diabetes I know, when I say that we’re really good at making it seem like it’s not a big deal. We manage a 24/7, 365 chronic condition like it’s not the full-time job that it is. I have family and friends who occasionally pick up on this and marvel at my ability to be present in a myriad of social situations while discreetly watching my blood sugar levels or calculating insulin dosages. I rarely act like diabetes is as serious as it is and that’s because I’ve become an expert at making it seem like small potatoes in my life. And I’m not just good at minimizing my diabetes – I’m also highly proficient in minimizing the fact that it has forced me to make difficult decisions in my life, particularly when it comes to financial choices.
I’ve conversed with plenty of other people with diabetes about whether or not we, as individuals, have struggled to afford insulin. Most have been pretty lucky and have never really had to resort to making truly difficult choices when it comes to affording insulin or other diabetes supplies.But just because I’m able to afford insulin, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t had to make certain choices that I might not have had to make if I didn’t have diabetes.For example, when it comes to my career, I’d never consider a job that doesn’t offer solid health insurance plans. Even if my strongest desire was to be a freelance writer, I wouldn’t go through with it because I know that it would be challenging to figure out my health insurance. And I know that the minute I run out of FSA dollars each year, I start thinking about setting money aside just to cover the costs of my diabetes supplies…which means that instead of buying some new clothes or planning a weekend getaway, I sometimes have to sacrifice those luxuries in favor of ensuring I have enough money to cover my fixed expenses as well as my diabetes medications.When I think about it, of course I realize that it’s not fair, but haven’t really considered it before because this is just how it is. I’m used to it. And so are many other people. We’re all accustomed to having to make certain choices about our lifestyles or spending habits that minimize the larger issue of insulin affordability. We’re used to it, even accepting of it, but that doesn’t make it right and it certainly underscores the terrifying fact that too many people simply can’t afford insulin and have to make much tougher decisions in order to get it.It’s time to become a little less good about minimizing and better at vocalizing – not just the seriousness of diabetes, but also the dire nature of insulin affordability and access that affects millions around the world.