I did something yesterday that I’ve never done before. I don’t hold much hope that it will do any good but I had to try. I sent letters to my congressmen asking them to educate themselves about what it’s like to live with Type 2 Diabetes and use that knowledge to make informed decisions regarding health care costs, nutrition and medical research.
I’m continually frustrated by the way people with T2 are portrayed in the media. I think it’s important for people to understand that we’re just people; people who are dealing with a serious disease; people who are stigmatized because of this disease; people who need help. Here is my letter:
Dear Senator/Congressman, (my actual letters were personalized)
I write to you as a concerned citizen who has Type 2 Diabetes. As you know, there is an epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes in our nation and around the world. I’m sure you’ve seen the media coverage from ads to news stories about this issue. However, did you know that a lot of what you see and read is inaccurate and/or misleading? The media portrays people who have developed Type 2 Diabetes as people who are obese, lazy and unable to make informed decisions about their health. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, some of us are overweight but the stigma that has been attached to this disease is seriously hurting our chances for good research for a cure and better treatment plans. This isn’t just about being overweight; it’s about genetics and poor diet. We need your help!
Many people who are diagnosed are shoved out the door with little education or direction. We are expected to control our condition but we aren’t being given the tools to succeed. Diabetes is not a “one size fits all” type of disease. Each of us reacts differently to medication and food. Each of us has to figure out what works for us. There isn’t just one way to deal with Diabetes. We can’t just lose weight and be cured.
People with Diabetes need support; we need better food; we need widespread effective education about what we should eat in order to control our disease or prevent it from developing in the first place. Yes, we need a cure but we also need help for the 25.8 MILLION people who are dealing with this disease right now!
I am writing to ask you to educate yourself about what it’s really like to have Type 2 Diabetes and think about this when you’re faced with legislative decisions regarding health care costs, nutrition and medical research. There are many people who blog about their lives with Diabetes, including me. I ask you to have someone on your staff read these blogs and try to understand just what it’s like to live with this disease. You can find my blog at http://kates-sweet-success.blogspot.com/ which includes links to other blogs. You can follow people on Twitter like @DiabetesSocMed who hosts a TweetChat on Wednesday evenings at 9PM Eastern for people with Diabetes (#DSMA). There are amazing websites dedicated to helping people with Diabetes like Diabetes Daily.
This isn’t about politics; this is about people who need help. This is about understanding your constituents and doing something effective to lighten their load. Diabetes isn’t a sentence, it’s just a word. However, unless something dramatic is done to change the tide, we are doomed. Please seriously consider my request.