Independence Day can also mark diabetes-independence

Becoming more self-sufficient

As we gather over the grill with family and friends, hoist a few or compete in the hot dog eating contest on Coney Island's boardwalk, I'm also thinking about how we move toward greater independence living with diabetes.

I shared the article below about the value of peer-mentoring with Mr. Teng Liak, the awe-inspiring, forward-thinking CEO of the new outstanding hospital in Singapore, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, where I visited in May. 

Mr. Liak wrote back, "The world has completely changed under us. For the first time in human history, good quality information and knowledge is available 24/7 for free to everyone. We, the so called "experts," no longer have the monopoly to knowledge. Great big headache for those living in the past. Great opportunities and relief for those willing to take full advantage of the changed environment."

I couldn't agree more. It's also an opportunity to health care providers to babysit their patients less and patients to take treatment into their own hands, as HCPs recognize their patients as experts - on their condition, particularly if chronic, and their life, and as patients realize their responsibility in their treatment. That to me is diabetes-independence. Those who participated in the peer-mentoring study below, joined with a fellow patient trained to help them, and then became more able to help themselves. Again, independence.

A crucial key to independent living with diabetes is continued learning. In support of that I'm off this week to Children With Diabetes' annual conference 'Friends for Life.' I'm giving three programs - one on flourishing with Diabetes, another on inspired Diabetes Self-Management and another on tools to live our best life.  is at the biggest gathering of parents of children with type 1 diabetes, and this year for the first time, type 1 adults. 

When I went in 2007 it was enough for me to just walk the halls and help parents frightened for their children see that they can grow up and have healthy, happy - independent - lives. I'm looking forward to that again.

I also love that Friends for Life is a unique and charged environment for friendship, support and learning, and that we get to gather and hang awhile with those who "get it" and then go off - often with friendships that last a lifetime - and though them stronger than before.

Copyright ©riva greenberg 2007. All rights reserved.