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.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A New Beginning - Because Nobody Died....

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives!

For me, it is the start of a new chapter for lack of a better analogy.

Last week I left my corporate job. I have been doing that routine for over 20 years, and I was with this company for the last 9.5 years. It was even longer than I thought!

It wasn't that it was bad. On the contrary. It was an interesting global company with a lot of internal opportunity. I had a child while I worked there and found some kind of work-life balance - even with diabetes in our lives, and my colleagues were great too. Perhaps I could have worked there the rest of my work life.

But I couldn't.

Something had been gnawing at me for almost two years or so. I wanted to do more. I was already doing a lot, but I wanted to do more to help diabetics somehow. I have over 15 years of experience in healthcare management and another five in corporate education and development. I am already active in some advocacy and share my experiences in a few presentations every year, but I need to do more.

It was not an easy decision, but it was. Yes, leaving the comfort of a regular salary and job behind is frightening, but I could not ignore my conscious any longer.

On my last day my boss gave a really nice overview of the work I had done over the last four years in my current position. One of the things that was highlighted was how even at the most stressful times when I would have every right to be going nuts, I was calm. She put it much more eloquently than that, but kept referring to my ability to smile and stay calm. I didn't expect that to be such a highlight. I mean, I can manage stress, but I didn't think I had this office zen vibe she was describing.

In the past, a few colleagues asked me how I was able to deal with certain situations or difficult people. My honest response: "Well, no one died." No one ever died from a lost deal, from an incorrect spreadsheet, reworking an agenda for the thousandth time, or redoing a powerpoint presentation until it saw a diminishing margin of return. I lived through some of those situations, and I lived to tell about it.

As I listened to my boss say these things, I kept thinking the same thing. I was calm because no one was dying as we were in the office at 10pm or as I was waiting for emails at 1am to finalize a big presentation. Furthermore, those times were temporary.

I used to work in clinics and hospitals. Medical mistakes have huge implications compared to a small mistake in a presentation. And there are so many risks that can contribute that must be considered. This is why waiting for an email until the wee hours of the morning, while not ideal, did not bother me too much.

Now I do not believe that anyone outside of healthcare should approach their jobs with a "no one died" attitude. Nor do not say this to belittle the work. This is not the case at all.

I believe we should all give 110% and work hard. Work as if you live for it when you are there. If you start thinking well, no one will die if I don't finish this report, you won't finish it. It becomes an excuse, and not a good one as that is not what you are paid for. The more you give, the more you will get. You must always deliver.

My moment of zen is that when someone gets really upset about something small, and I know I gave 110% or more, I try reframe it.

While no one was dying at my great corporate job, the sad reality that pushed me to make this move is that people do die.

As the caretaker of a diabetic, I am very well aware of the fact that adults and children die from diabetes. This was my challenge. This is what was running around in my conscious for more than a couple of years.

It is always heartbreaking to read about a diabetes related death that could have been avoided - whether that be a misdiagnosis or a mistreatment. It shouldn't happen.

Many more diabetics develop complications over time. Many people struggle with their disease. Diabetics are sometimes misinformed. The public is misinformed. Some may be ashamed of their diabetes. This bothers me.

So now armed with my healthcare management and education background, and the knowledge I have from managing diabetes for a child, I moved into the next phase. There is so much to do, and I am excited and overwhelmed at the same time.

I woke up today, and immediately got to work.