I’m lucky in that I get to talk to quite a few pancreatically challenged people, both in the real world and online. I like to hear their views. There are a few things I seem to disagree with a few people on though and I’m sorry, but they’re things I’m not willing to apologise for.
- I can’t get excited about a cure. Many people believe I should have my insulin withheld for a week to torture me for this abhorrent view. I’ve had diabetes since I was 4. If I’d have spent all that time wishing and waiting for a cure I’d have had a pretty dull life. It’s a great marketing ploy – it’s so much easier to raise funds for research into a cure rather than research into a project to examine the best ways of helping teenagers live with their diabetes. But ultimately, it’s not something I waste much time thinking about.
- I will not feel guilty about costing the NHS money. I pay my taxes, I did nothing to bring this on myself. I don’t look at people with asthma, eplilespy, multiple sclerosis or cystic fibrosis and think “they’re not worth the money it costs to keep them alive” so why should I think it about myself.
- I will not apologise for having an“expensive” pump and CGMS. The amount of times I get told – by a mixture of healthcare professionals and the pancreatically challenged “pumps are very expensive”, “they’re not suitable for everyone”, “you’re very lucky to have one” is to be frank, a little tiring. Let me take those one by one.
- “Pumps are very expensive” – compared to what? Compared to a packet of biscuits they cost a fortune. In comparison to kidney dialysis they’re an absolute bargain. Compared to the cost of providing a blind amputee with the support they need to live, they’re a drop in the ocean.
- “They’re not suitable for everyone” – I agree. At which point did I suggest that the world and his wife needed a pump? I did the research and decided it was the right route for me, that’s not the same as forcing the entire country onto insulin pumps. Research by John Pickup* says about 20-25% of people on insulin would benefit from a pump, so no one is suggesting they’re for everyone. I am keen though that everyone who’s done the research, assessed the options and decided that a pump would be good for them is given the chance to use one.
- “You’re very lucky to have one” – yes, I am. And if I’d made no effort to educate myself about how to use it, or I’d got it and left it on a shelf gathering dust I should whip myself daily with a paralysed porcupine as a punishment for wasting valuable resources. As it is, I’m using it to give me good diabetes control and great quality of life. What more do you want?
So, there’s my list of things I’m really not willing to apologise for. Sorry
* Pickup JC. Are insulin pumps underutilised in type 1 diabetes? Yes. Diabetes Care 2006; 29: 1449-52