We (They) Need the Love
Last week I met with a Joslin researcher about the transition from a pediatric endo to an adult endo. For those of you who are thinking “why does that need to be researched?” let me explain. Go back to when you were 18 years old, or really anywhere between 15-22 years old. Do you remember all the changes you were going through? Do you remember how hard it was? Now add diabetes to that mix. It is an underserved population of PWDs, and I am beyond happy that they would like to know more about my experience to help others in the future.
Hmm, when I was 18. I had just left for college. I didn’t make the tennis team and I was DETERMINED to succeed. All by myself. I was at a school with less than friendly people and I didn’t know how to find the friendly ones. I was still with my pediatric endo at that time, but within one year I would change. My A1Cs were always steadily in the 8s, and I knew how to talk diabetes. I went in expecting a doctor who treated me just like my ped endo, but that wasn’t to be. My old ped endo knew my speak and could get around my “yes, I’m doing great!” This new doctor didn’t know me, so she didn’t know this, and I was doing “great!” There are a whole log of ifs/what ifs that I can go through (and have gone through since the interview, but the things that stuck out the most were what the researcher said after the interview was over.
We talked about my current endo (who specializes in the transition time), and why there is such a problem. He told me that there a ton of young adults who don’t see an endo because there is no one around to see them. So many of the medical professionals who become endocrinologists do not want to see patients with T1 diabetes. This definitely came as a shock to my system. I understand that there are more patients with T2 diabetes out there, but that doesn’t mean that we are any less deserving of quality medical treatment. Especially at that time of your life! If I hadn’t had doctors and nurses that I could call/email and parents who supported me, where would I have ended up? I don’t like to think about it. But I do want to think about what we can do for this under-served population and is there anything that can be done to get endocrinologists to see patients T1 AND T2 diabetes?