Women are more likely than men to have their symptoms dismissed or downplayed by medical professionals. When they get a diagnosis, they often face stigma and judgment. In light of this, WH created the “Owning It” package—which spotlights various women with complicated and often difficult-to-diagnose conditions who decided to take a stand for their health. Our hope is that their stories help empower women everywhere to advocate for themselves and get the care and attention they deserve.
We were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at very different times in our lives: One of us [Miriam] was 6, whereas the other [Emily] had almost two beautiful decades with a working
pancreas before an autoimmune reaction caused it to stop producing insulin. Still, our experiences have been similar in so many ways.
When we first got a label for our chronic illness, no one really talked to either of us about how it was going to change our lives emotionally, socially, and psychologically. We always felt there was a void there. That’s a big part of why Miriam became a mental health counselor—and it’s why we cohost our podcast, Pancreas Pals,
Diabetes is a challenge, and people are often insensitive to our needs in surprising ways—like when airport staff are jerks about the fact that we have to carry medical supplies on planes. We shouldn’t have to advocate for ourselves in situations like that, but we do because no one else is doing it for us. And that’s what our podcast is all about: advocating for yourself and helping others with type 1 diabetes realize that educating people about the disease doesn’t have to mean giving a formal presentation to all your friends. Instead, you do it by sharing bits and pieces of what it’s like to live with your condition.
This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of Women’s Health.
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