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by IBD Medical on September 23, 2022

Welcome to part 2 of Shannon's Q&A ūüíô

Shannon is a T1D from Australia who is passionate about contributing to diabetes awareness. He knows as well as anyone in the community that diabetes is a 24 hour/7 days a week/365 days a year role. Because of this, Shannon knows the importance of having access to the right support products/services for not just your diagnosis but also for you and your everyday lifestyle, which is why he's partnered with Glucology to share more stories and connect people to the right resources.

Today, we asked him 8 questions to facilitate in him sharing an Australian perspective on how diabetes is supported/not supported, and how access differs for many different groups. Shannon also uses the opportunity to outline how the mental & physical support has changed over time for him and for others around him. 

1.If you could change one thing about how diabetes is supported globally, what would you hope to see? 

    I think if one thing could change for Diabetes is the climate impact it has on our natural world.  At times I sit and do my pump changes and see the amount of plastic waste etc that is disposed of and will end up in some way incinerated and containing micro plastics which affect the environment.  I am one of millions of people across the world.  When it all adds up - its alot of waste.  It is a bigger issue for the medical industry more widely but I think with just the environmental impact of Diabetes (one of many thousands of conditions) on our planet we should be researching better, sustainable materials in the way our pump materials are manufactured, syringes are made, test strips etc.
    2.What is something you think is done quite well in regard to supporting diabetes and people managing diabetes?
    As mentioned earlier, technology has probably been the greatest physical support to diabetes management.  Mental Health support and the effects of Mental Health on Diabetes is also done a lot better now than when I was diagnosed.  I was told I would have needles for the rest of my life from my own father, not a doctor, not a nurse or psychologist.  Back in 1986 if you were to see a Psychologist, it would be considered very unusual and seen as a big issue, compared to the greater knowledge and acceptance of good mental health has now in the world.
    3.If you could redefine diabetes to your younger self, how would you do so? 
    This is a long, hard journey - but you can live a rewarding and successful life and achieve anything you like.  Back in 1986, I would ask if I was going to die, not can I be what I want to achieve.  This is the positivity that needs to be installed into young people.  I think in this day and age with the internet and other easy resources at close hands the journey is a lot easier for younger people.  If you wanted to find out about T1D in 1986 you needed to go to a library and get stale old books and pamphlets you would love at now, both in content, language and presentation.
    4.Do you have any advice or tips for people wanting to educate and navigate around improving their access to diabetes resources? 

      Always think global in the first context.  Look globally, nationally, across your state and then local area.  You will get a great picture at all levels of what you have access to.  Look for resources in your local area.  Living in Melbourne - Victoria, Australia I would visit sites like Diabetes Australia, Diabetes Victoria and related sites which are level, well resourced and have the appropriate professionals looking out for you.  If you want to connect with others, find local groups in your area or online to connect with people and know you are not on the journey alone.  There are many others who have it - it comes with the old saying "A problem shared, is a problem halved".  Don't be afraid to ask questions, and when people ask you a question - be confident in your condition, as most of the time they are wanting to be better informed about it by a person who lives with it.





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