A Diabetic Diabetologist
My name is Marco and I am 47. I have a wonderful wife Ilaria and two beloved children, Aurelio and Emma. I am diabetic since 1970, took a degree in Medicine some years after the diagnosis of IDDM and lead now a very happy life working as a diabetologist, despite everyone initially thought that a doctor's life would be too full of stress for a diabetic as I am.
My promising future as a swimmer and as a water-polo goal keeper had already been compromised by a motor accident in which my left leg had been seriously damaged and which forced me in hospital for a long time. After only one year another unhappy experience was putting my life and my personal abilities to a severe test. Once again my future expectations had to be revised and the dream to become an engineer was put aside as soon as I came to know the "world of diabetics": difficult relationships with diabetologists, long queues to see them, day-and-night blood-drawing, old syringes with needles to be boiled, no reagent strips, no portable blood-glucose-meters and so on. I can still remember when I had to go to the hospital, even at night, for the glucose-measurement, knowing the results only two or three days after, thus being hard to prevent the frequent switching of glycaemia during the day. It was at that time that I realized how important it was for a diabetic to become independent in the management of his/her "illness" and I personally became convinced that I had "to know" the most of diabetes" in order to be able to live together with it and not be overwhelmed by it.
My innate curiosity and the love I felt for myself made me put on a kind of challenging attitude towards diabetes: I had to find a way to get the best of the handicap I had to live with for all my life. First of all, I had to truly and fully accept the chronic disease and succeed in having a positive attitude towards it and so towards life. So, after the first difficult years, I started to lead a very active, almost frenetic life in an attempt to show to myself, but also to others, that there was nothing I couldn't do only because I was diabetic. To fix one's aims and to attain them is something important that makes one's self-esteem grow and being diabetic became something I did not need to hide to the rest of the world. Deciding to become a diabetologist then made me feel even better as I had the opportunity to help other diabetic patients to free themselves from the up-to-then very strict dependence from the diabetologist and their illness.
Things are not always so easy, however, as when you are faced with patients affected by chronic complications or with others that do not accept their illness and that are also those who find it difficult to trust me and my suggestions as diabetologist. More often, however, my work brings me satisfaction as when the number of my patients actively involved in the self-management of diabetes and feeling happy of the progresses they make grows constantly. My work is for me a continuous testing of my technical skills as well as of my psychological attitude towards it and towards my patients; it makes me feel good every day of my life despite the many difficulties it presents which are sometimes even harder to bear because of my personal reactions to it as diabetic myself.
Dr. Songini lives in Italy and receives e-mail at [email protected] You can read about his work at Sardinian Association for the Study and Research of IDDM web page. Dr. Songini is also a member of the Diabetes Team.
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