Welcome?

If you have found this blog, saying Welcome does not really seem appropriate. I know you wish you weren't surfing the internet for diabetes. I felt the same.

A big part of me wishes I were not writing about diabetes, nor did I anticipate to become so opinionated or informed on the subject, but it happened. In 2010, my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

It wasn't really part of the plan… Correction - it was not part of the plan, but it happened. It is not always easy, but I think we are all doing okay, and I hope we continue to do so.

Why the Middle East? I happen to live in Dubai. I don't think that living in the Middle East makes mine or my son's diabetic experience any more unique or challenging than it does elsewhere in the developed world.

I hope you stick around, or read something you like. Feel free to comment and join the conversation, subscribe or follow this blog by liking the Facebook page Diapoint.

Please note: This blog does not give medical advice. I am opinionated, and I share my experiences, but the first rule of diabetes is to follow up with your doctor and/or nurse educator about your care, diagnosis or medication. If you do not have a medical practitioner that is helping you find your way through this crazy world, then do not give up until you find the right one.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Diabetes & Disability

I often have a lot of mixed feelings about the use of these two words together. In many countries, diabetes is recognized as a disability, and I appreciate and understand the necessity of this in order to ensure that children and adults have rights and are not discriminated against. A necessity despite the modern times in which we live.

However, I still cringe sometimes when I hear diabetes described as a disability. While I do not wish to start any heated debates, I do think it is worthy to reflect on sometimes.

These thoughts are not about me not accepting my son's condition. I just feel that diabetes is one of those conditions that is not as severe as say cerebral palsy or other diseases that seem much more challenging than the cards we have been dealt.

Enter this week's Boy Scout topic - Disabilities Awareness. The requirement was to learn about disabilities - including invisible ones. My inner mom voice wondered where this would go.

My son does not see himself as disabled - and diabetes has not interfered with him doing anything he wants to do. I am (perhaps overly) cautious to ensure that his dreams and imagination continue to grow without ever seeing diabetes as an inhibiter. Not that anyone in this group is going to call it out intentionally, but kids are kids, and they perceive things in many ways.

After sending a lengthy WhatsApp response to a message asking if we had any concerns about the agenda for the topic, I made sure to take a few hours out of my work day to join the meeting. When it came time to discuss invisible disabilities, one boy offered that he was dyslexic. All the boys were so tentative and as they are at the age where they are just becoming independent readers, they showed a lot of empathy.

Another boy then said it. "Diabetes". He said it twice. It was not in reference to my son, but when he said it I held my breath.  Were my worst fears about to become true. My son's psyche crushed for the rest of his developmental years?!

I looked at my son, and I could tell he had not perceived of diabetes as an invisible disability. It was a bittersweet moment. He wasn't sad, but at that moment he may have seen diabetes differently. I had probably already freaked out the parent who worked so hard on putting the day's agenda together with my warning flag message, so I somehow remained quiet as I waited to see if it escalated.

It didn't. Instead, when asked about diabetes, my boy scout owned it. He explained in great detail what it was, how he manages it, the needle and catheter for his pump insertion site, highs and lows and more. He was confident. I was proud.

The other parent who helped manage the event did a great job of making each and every boy who shared a personal challenge feel accepted and safe.

And the moral of the story was we all have our differences and challenges. And whatever they may be, we are still the same inside. We all have a heart and feelings. Therefore, we should be kind to everyone and be inclusive.

They all agreed... Then couldn't wait to get out and run around on the playground!

2 comments:

  1. I have never regarded diabetes as a disability, especially an invisible one. I suppose I have always lived to much in the open for it to be invisible for me. But as a boy I can certainly see it. I am proud of you son and I know you are as well.

    I referred your blog to the TUDiabetes web page for the week of May 2, 2016.

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