Nobody Is Aware Of Diabetes
I wake up today with no saliva in my mouth and a dire quench for thirst. My insulin pump is still giving me insulin. I’m still hooked up to medical devices, but my body is resistant. Maybe due to illness, hormones, or because it’s a Tuesday. My blood sugars are high, much higher than a normal persons blood sugars. I’m tired, fatigued, and the feeling of mortality creeps in. I go to correct with insulin, drink water, and attempt to bring this down. But I know this won’t be the last time I experience this.
But nobody notices.
I spent my day monitoring my blood sugars, calculating and measuring how much insulin to give myself. My dosing is only an educated guess, and I have to make these decisions everyday in order to stay alive. But nothing is ever the same or perfect. I’m constantly on a tightrope, hoping not to fall. I’ll do the same thing every single day but receive different results.
When I go to pick up my insulin from the pharmacy, I get this overwhelming sense of sadness. I realize that the same insulin that keeps me alive comes with a huge price. Insulin is one of the most expensive drugs in the United States, and yet I can’t survive without it. Financially, this disease has crushed me. I’m in debt just for trying to stay alive.
But nobody cares.
Once I get home, I receive a notification that my blood sugar is low and dropping fast. I feel lightheaded, disorientated, and starving for glucose (energy). I go to the kitchen to grab anything I can find to raise my blood sugar. I feel alone, helpless, and I’m fighting to survive. It’s a near death experience, that I’ve experienced many times. A low feels like my body is shutting down. A low enough number could cause me to go unconscious, have a seizure, coma, or death.
But nobody is aware.
The night follows with finding a diabetes joke going viral on the internet. Where it’s mocking the disease, assuming it’s caused by being lazy and eating poorly. This is where I stop and realize that nobody notices, nobody cares, and nobody is aware because nobody actually knows about diabetes.
Nobody knows that diabetes kills more people than AIDS and Breast Cancer combined. Nobody knows that diabetes can be caused by an autoimmune disease. Nobody knows that children are dying from this disease. Nobody knows the overwhelming sense of fear of not knowing if your blood sugar will withstand the night. Nobody knows how it feels to experience the highs and lows.
Nobody knows our desperation for a cure…
…Except the person living with diabetes.
And those caring for them.