Sunday, January 20, 2008

Iain Dale has diabetes

Been catching up on the blogosphere tonight, and was taken aback by a post on Iain Dale's blog, informing us that he has been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes this week. While Iain is right to say 'it could be a lot worse', the diagnosis must still have come as a blow. I note from his post that he debated about sharing what is very personal information before deciding to publish. I'm pleased that he did so because it helps 'awareness' and early dignosis when individuals in public life allow themselves to become a platform for discussion. It gives the discussion more impact.

I was in the same position 5 years ago when I was diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer. It was a huge shock to me and the family at the time, and for a while I assumed that an early death was inevitable. After a few days I decided to be entirely open about my illness - mainly because I had been so incredibly, stupidly blind to the symptoms, which had been obvious for months. Since, I have learned that early diagnosis is crucial to maximise chances of successful treatment. Its this blindness which costs so many Bowel Cancer sufferers their lives. I was so so lucky that the tumour was at an early stage, and some pretty radical surgery led to a complete recovery. Regular readers of this blog will know that I publish Bowel Cancer related posts from time to time.

The second reason that I'm so public is that I do not see why people who have suffered illness should have to hide away. I've just been on holiday, and I've been out running and relaxing by the pool with no shirt - exactly as I've always done. I must say that I've never seen anyone else with a colostomy do that. Over the last 10 days I did notice several people (especially Barbadians) staring at my colostomy cover, probably wondering what it was. For those of you who don't know, it looks like a raised round 4 inch diameter plaster stuck on my abdomen. Because I colonically irrigate every 2 days I never have to wear a 'colostomy bag'. Only about 3% of British ostomates irrigate, which I think is a pity, because the process gives us back so much more control of our lives. So well done Iain. You'll do good through your decision to be open.

3 comments:

Alex said...

I must say I sympathise with you both Glyn- while I often disagree with both yourself and Iain politically, I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease almost three years ago now, and, while I am still on medication to keep myself in remission, I'm still pretty much able to lead a normal life (if anything a healthier one, which can only be a good thing). We need people in the public sphere to start discussion on debate on such medical conditions, as only then can public stigma be overcome and we can perhaps then come a bit closer to tackling them.

Glyn Davies said...

alex - there is genuinely no need for any sympathy. The only downside is that I have to wear a colostomy guard to play rugby and set aside about an hour every two days when I'm trapped to a specific location. The only activity from which I'm banned is high board diving, but that's not something I've ever wanted to do anyway!

There is a bit of stigma around the subjects of colonic irrigation and bowels in general. This wasn't the case in 1215 when the English (I'm not sure about the Welsh) were much more 'matter of fact' and designed toilets in pairs - and it was considered impolite for one to stand before the other was 'finished'. At least this is according to a book which I read on holiday quoting from the works of Daniel of Beccles.

Sharon said...

Hi,

7.9% of the United States population is suffering from a form of Diabetes. That is over 23 million people! Now, more than ever, it is important for organizations such as yourself. We here, at Disease.com (a site dedicated towards disease and their treatments), believe in the work you do and would like to coincide for the fight against diabetes. If you could, please list us as a resource or host our social book mark button, it would be much appreciated. Separately, we can make advancements, but together we can find a cure.
If you need more information please email me back with the subject line as your URL.

Thank You,
Sharon Vegoe
Disease.com