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How culture impacts on my diabetes: Thapi's POV

by IBD Medical on August 30, 2022

Living with diabetes looks very different for everyone, despite the shared struggles of having a diagnosis that requires your attention continuously throughout the day, everyday! Sometimes, we may all live in our own bubbles and may not realise or take into consideration other perspectives that would very much help us with our own journeys too! 

As part of our new community collaborative project, we thought it could be refreshing to start discussions around global issues and how it may affect diabetes management and access.

We've brought on one of our brand ambassadors, Thapi, who is passionate about raising awareness and how culture has its own challenges with the implications of diabetes/unheard voices behind the diagnosis. We asked her 8 questions to facilitate in her sharing her unique perspective and how her diabetes story has evolved over time!



General Overview of Thapi's Video


1. What do you think is one of the biggest obstacles that people living with diabetes face in your current country of residence?

  • Access to diabetes technologies and diabetes education

"...Getting the correct nutrition for each person in South Africa. A lot of people are struggling with dietary requirements, as South Africa is a middle income country. It becomes difficult when we are told not to eat certain things, but we live off staple foods. Incorporating traditional food has become difficult..."


2. Do you think it's important to address cultural differences and how it plays a role in someone's diabetes management and access?

  • Definitely
"...I feel that we come from different cultures and are diverse, we need to learn to take that into consideration. Different cultures come with different cultural foods. For example, if I go see a dietician, the foods I'd traditionally eat at home are not considered in the standard nutrition/diet list, which can be a problem. What I eat at home are usually my staple foods and what I can afford..."


3. For you personally, what has been the most difficult part of your diabetes journey? 

  • My denial phase

"...Which lasted for about 3 years during my high school period. My current obstacles is trying to stay within a certain target for my range. I do try, but it's not as easy as it may seem..."


4. Why are you passionate about sharing your diabetes journey and playing a part in advocating for awareness?

  • I started sharing because it started with me feeling like I felt alone in my journey. I don't want others to go through the same experience.

"... Through sharing my story, I hope someone can feel that they're not alone and know that they can just come in the form of a peer to peer support. This has helped shape me to who I am today and allowed me to meet other people living with diabetes. By sharing, it's played a role in helping me learn to speak up and to be comfortable doing so because i know that there are people who struggle to speak up about it. With diabetes, it's common to feel like you have to hide it. At the moment, diabetes is probably the first thing you'll know about me, especially on my social media and I am content about it being that way..."


5. If you could change how diabetes was supported globally, what would you hope to see?

  • Less stigma around diabetes
  • Access to diabetes technologies being accessible to everyone.

"...It's always great to meet another person wearing CGM or a pump because it's like: wow you also have diabetes! It's a great conversation starter too. Even people who don't have diabetes can start to learn more about it and have conversations around it by asking questions freely. I think it's a great educational tool on the long-term basis..."


6. What is something you think is done quite well in terms of supporting diabetes and people managing diabetes?

  • The formulation of diabetes support groups and communities.

"...I think it does depend on which group you do choose to be a part of. You have to make sure that you're a part of a community where you feel like those people are your people. With the online space now, it makes it super enjoyable and easy to connect with people in your country but also globally! It's great and I am here for it..."


7. If I could redefine diabetes to my younger self how would I do so?

  • I would say diabetes is a road.

"...A road cannot always be straight. With roads, there are unexpected turns and bumps. You have to get comfortable with these unexpected things that happen on the road as the journey does change as you keep going. Diabetes is something that is constantly changing and you learn from every single day..."

  • Be kinder to myself.

"...That's the other thing i would tell my younger self. Diabetes can drain you but be kinder to yourself because you deserve to love yourself even with the diagnosis..."


8. Do you have any advice or tips for people wanting to educate or navigate around improving the access to diabetes resources?

  • Much easier done in a group than alone.

In a group, you have more ideas to bring to the table. You can make someone change a policy just because of that!

  • Research

Diabetes is ever-changing so doing research I believe is definitely the foundation!



Our Services and Blog posts are NOT intended to substitute any professional medical advice or treatment and are offered for informational purposes only. Remember to always work with your doctor before changing anything about your medication or diabetes management. The above information is NOT medical advice.