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How do you strike out the stigma of diabetes?

How do you strike out the stigma of diabetes?
Picture of Denise Barnard
Posted by: Denise Barnard
Posted on: March 24, 2017

Let’s hear from some real people, such as Jessica (pictured above), a high school student who lives with type 1 diabetes: “My grade eight teacher said that he thought type 1 diabetes was caused by eating too much sugar.”

And what about her classmates? “I have also had a classmate ask me if they could ‘catch’ diabetes by having me sneeze on them,” she says.

Jessica’s response? “Being confident, I am happy to explain to my classmates about my diabetes and am appreciative that they ask questions instead of making assumptions, but some other students with diabetes might not be because of their lack of confidence about their diabetes. “

And Tim, who lives with type 2 diabetes, says: “We should stop blaming people for the entire burden of their disease.”

His experience includes childhood and financial challenges, a lack of healthy food, and more. He is not alone. Many Canadians with diabetes face these challenges, too.

What’s Tim’s advice? “Please, next time you seek to ask someone what type of diabetes they have, remember: a person is important regardless of the cause of the disease. Let’s just support and treat it, and work hard to look at all the things we can do to make life better for all new generations and reduce the future numbers of those facing diabetes.”

So, what can the rest of us do to strike out stigma? How about following Jessica and Tim’s lead and educating others about the disease in order to put an end to the shame, blame, stigma and misinformation? And joining us now to rally to strike out stigma and end diabetes!

Have you experienced shame, blame or misconceptions about your diabetes? Tell us your story. Visit our myDC community forums and share now.

Do you have a personal story of how your diabetes diagnosis has affected you or someone you know? Fill in our easy personal story submission form, and you and your story could appear in myDC community content. 





How can you improve your relationship with food?

Picture of Denise Barnard
Posted by: Denise Barnard
Posted on: March 17, 2017

Nutrition Month 2017 image

What can I eat that won’t affect my blood sugars?

Should I go gluten-free?

Can cinnamon reduce my diabetes risk?

I have a lot of gas after eating certain foods. Should I stop eating them?

Do I have to eat vegetables? I know they’re supposed to be good for me, but I don’t like them.

When I’m stressed, I eat. I know it’s not a good idea, but I don’t know what else to do.

If you struggle with any of these challenges (and many others), there’s no time like the present for a nutrition intervention. March is Nutrition Month, and Dietitians of Canada and Diabetes Canada are here to help. This year is all about how to” take the fight out of food” and improve your relationship with food, no matter what struggle you face.

Let’s take Tim, who is 58 and lives with type 2 diabetes, as an example of how you can put this three-step approach to work.

1. Spot the problem: Tim says, “I’m overwhelmed by everyday food decisions at home or when eating out.”

2. Get the facts: Tim visited diabetes.ca and learned how he can eat well, along with other important factors that contribute to a long and healthy life, such as monitoring and keeping his blood sugars in his target range, being active, and managing stress.

3. Seek support: Tim didn’t get nutrition advice because he was afraid it would mean giving up foods he loved. But the more he read about nutrition and diabetes, the more he understood that a dietitian could help him fit his favourite foods into his eating routine, and that planning meals didn’t have to be complicated.

Have questions? Visit Diabetes Canada or call the information and support services line at 1-800-BANTING (226-8464). 

Want to find a dietitian? Visit www.dietitians.ca/find or contact your local diabetes clinic. 

Joanne Lewis is the director of nutrition and healthy eating at Diabetes Canada.

http://www.diabetes.ca/getmedia/482890c9-9f91-400b-9083-1942ed865202/index_03.jpg.aspx

What’s your biggest nutrition challenge? Tell us your story. Visit our myDC community forums and share now.

Do you have a personal story of how your diabetes diagnosis has affected you or someone you know? Fill in our easy personal story submission form, and you and your story could appear in myDC community content. 





Don’t be sorry for my daughter because she has diabetes

Don’t be sorry for my daughter because she has diabetes
Picture of Denise Barnard
Posted by: Denise Barnard
Posted on: March 06, 2017

That evening in August 2016 when my daughter, Taylor, started to crash was a scary one. She would stand for a minute, and then roll around on the floor. After watching her a few times I realized she was having trouble standing because she had no energy. Other signs had been there for awhile, including drinking an abundance of liquid every day and filling her diapers with urine within an hour.  That evening, I paced around the house as I contemplated taking her to the hospital or waiting until the next day to take her to our family doctor. Part of me worried about what the doctors were going to say, but regardless of what they told me, I would protect her. I was her father.

At the hospital, my wife, Angel, and I explained Taylor’s symptoms. A nurse checked her blood sugar: Taylor’s numbers were six times what was considered normal. A urine sample confirmed that she was chock-full of ketones. She was admitted right away. My wife was upset. It was her first day at a new job and she didn’t feel she could call in sick, plus we really needed the money with the way the Alberta economy was, so I stayed with our daughter.

Taylor was only two years old, and by that evening, she’d already had two IVs and a lot of tests. I was awake for the next 36 hours, upset, scared, and feeling so many other emotions I couldn’t even explain. I cried to the doctors. I felt so bad and felt like it was all my fault. I couldn’t help but think if I had given her one less treat she wouldn’t have gotten type 1 diabetes. The doctors did a good job trying to comfort me and explaining that Taylor’s diabetes had nothing to do with anything I did or didn’t do.

After her diagnosis, Taylor was discharged. We were asked to come back every morning that week to get educated about diabetes. There was lots to learn about blood sugars, carbs, health, insulin, and checks, and I took in as much as I could. On Friday, we were given emergency numbers, a boost of confidence, and sent on our way.

Our days are now filled with blood sugar checks, giving my little one insulin twice a day, and counting her carbs and sugar at every meal and snack. Yet I cannot imagine what it feels like to be her. She’s the one getting poked all the time. She’s the one who can’t eat what she use to. She’s the one who has had her life turned upside down. Even her babysitter bailed on her, saying she wasn’t knowledgeable enough to ‘deal with this.’

People have sent their sympathies. My response has been simple: Please don’t be sorry for me, Taylor, or my family. We are all fine. She is fine. Diabetes is a tough lifestyle change that our family has to get used to. Taylor is still the same child with the same personality: she laughs, plays, dances, loves music, and loves to spend time outside. And I love her more today that I did yesterday.

George Dean is a child and youth care worker from Dartmouth, N.S., who currently resides in Edmonton. He spent many years in the child welfare system and has been homeless. He is a loving father of three girls, a husband, and an inspiration to and advocate for youth in care all over the world. He has written articles and presented to various child and youth care agencies, and is writing his own biography.

Give to end diabetes today! 

Do you have a personal story of how diabetes has touched your life or that of someone you know? Fill in our easy personal story submission form, and you and your story could appear in myDC community content.  

Do you have a child with diabetes? Visit our myDC community forums and share your story now.





Donating to Clothesline helps fight diabetes

Donating to Clothesline helps fight diabetes
Picture of Denise Barnard
Posted by: Denise Barnard
Posted on: March 02, 2017

a photo of clothesline contest winners, colin and jennifer deacon

Colin Deacon, 57, is all too aware of diabetes and its complications due to a family member who lives with type 2 diabetes. His wife, Jennifer, is also familiar with the chronic disease; her good friend was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in high school and experienced complications when she became pregnant in her 20s. “I cannot imagine living with the risks and complications of diabetes, especially if you have limited resources,” says Colin, who credits Jennifer with introducing them to the Clothesline program.

Busy working as start-up entrepreneurs in Halifax, the couple always make time to donate their reusable items. “We love the program. We’ve been donating for as long as we can remember and through three household addresses,” says Colin. “Each call from the program reminds us that we need to do some organizing, and it is wonderful to know that the stuff we no longer need goes to support those affected by diabetes.”

As the grand prize winner of Clothesline’s Find your escape! Where will your donation take you? campaign, along with a $5,000 travel voucher, Colin and Jennifer now have another reason to love Clothesline.

Donate your gently used clothing for a chance to win a $5,000 dream vacation or one of 10 $500 VISA gift cards as part of the “Escape the winter blues! Where will your donation take you?” campaign, running until March 31. One hundred per cent of net proceeds raised by Clothesline directly support the Diabetes Canada and world-leading diabetes research, education and advocacy.

Have you donated to Clothesline before? Tell us your story. Visit our myDC community forums and share now.

Do you have a personal story of how your diabetes diagnosis has affected you or someone you know? Fill in our easy personal story submission form, and you and your story could appear in myDC community content.





Every word in this song was written by someone with diabetes

Picture of Denise Barnard
Posted by: Denise Barnard
Posted on: February 20, 2017

And that’s what makes “Brave Faces” so powerful.

“I don’t think I can do this much longer.”

“I don’t think people will understand.”

“I’m trying every day but no one sees it.”

“I’m tired of putting on a brave face.”

“I don’t want to live a life that makes me feel scared.”

Scared, angry, frustrated, overwhelmed or alone…for some, this is the daily reality of living with diabetes. But it’s not the whole story. There’s hope, too…for an end to the stigma, discrimination, complications and the disease itself.

“I’m brave.”

“I’m OK.”

“I want to live.”

“I don’t feel scared.”

“I think I can do this.”

“I can do this.”

Yes, you can! And, after you listen to the song or watch the “Brave Faces” video, please visit enddiabetes.ca – the home of End Diabetes, the new movement launched by Diabetes Canada.

Yes, Diabetes Canada. On February 13, the Canadian Diabetes Association became Diabetes Canada to shine the light on diabetes in new and bold ways. To make the invisible epidemic of diabetes visible and urgent. And, to speak clearly on behalf of the 11 million Canadians living with diabetes or prediabetes. There’s no time like the present. We all deserve a life free of fear.


Diabetes Canada and End Diabetes logos


Do you have a personal story of how diabetes has touched your life or that of someone you know? Fill in our easy personal story submission form, and you and your story could appear in our myDC community content.  

How have you dealt with the stigma or misconceptions people have about diabetes? Visit our myDC community forums and share your story now.