Diabetes is so often referred to as the 'invisible disease', the 'invisible disability', or the 'invisible condition' (I prefer the latter terminology!) It's true, diabetes is invisible. No one would ever know, when they see me on the street, that I've already checked my blood sugar and injected myself with insulin at least once that day. However, sometimes, it feels to me that diabetes isn't invisible at all.
I see my skin when it's covered in sore patches of blue and purple - bruises from my injections. I see the remainder of unhealed wounds everyday - permanent scars, because of the poor circulation my diabetes causes. I see hundreds of pin-prick holes on the tips of my fingers - the proof of regular blood sugar monitoring. I see a ghost in the mirror - pale and drawn from unstable blood sugars.
It's at times like these, when it feels like I have 'diabetic' tattooed on my forehead, that I have to remind myself that not everyone knows diabetes like I do. In fact, some have never heard of it at all. To them, my bruises and scars could be from sporting injuries, my face pale as a result of late nights and, as for the pin-prick holes, they would probably never be noticed at all.
I realise that because diabetes is invisible, it's so important that we let people know what it is. For me, World Diabetes Day is always about raising awareness. It's about making people aware of the symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes and the symptoms of hypo/hyperglycemic episodes. It's about letting people know the differences between the types, how it is treated and how it affects those dealing with it on a daily basis.
If we can all go out today and learn something, or tell someone one thing about diabetes, we are contributing towards a future where an invisible condition becomes one which is understood. If we can fall asleep tonight, or any night for that matter, with one more person in the world knowing something about diabetes that they didn't before, we should be proud! :) So today I go out in the world, wearing blue and taking the invisibility cloak off the shoulders of diabetes - hopefully I'll learn something too!