My name is Haidee Merritt and I'm from the seacoast of New Hampshire. I've been a Type 1 diabetic for 36 years; since I'm 38, that means there really hasn't been a single moment in my life that diabetes has not been present. I have had some serious downs, a few ups too, and a fair share of complications. People tell me all the time that 'everything happens for a reason', but I'm still trying to philosophize just why I have a chronic illness. There have been some years of serious denial and for a long time I have avoided any sort of diabetic community or support. I've sort of given into this in the past few years and I'm sure it's for the better.
Every diabetic has different issues; even when presented with the same circumstance or situation few, if any, will have the same response or result. That's part of what makes this disease so isolating. People without diabetes--our spouses, children, parents--struggle to understand us and the disease; our diabetic friends struggle to understand fellow diabetics, and we struggle to understand ourselves. Yes, it's a struggle.
I majored in English at the University of Washington out in Seattle. I think I wrote a lot better in those days, probably because I wrote a lot more often than I do now. When it comes to communicating with others about diabetes, however, I find that illustration worked the best for me. Not only are my cartoons a way for me to accept the hurtles that come my way, but they have really proven to be a crucial way for me to tell other people about it. I give the view something pleasant and while they're distracted by this I slip in some information. It's sneaky, but after people have read through my drawings, they have a new understanding of diabetes and an appreciation of what I deal with.
Even I get tired of hearing myself talk about my health. Sometimes people's eye glaze over when we talk about diabetes. I've found that it's true, a picture's worth a thousand words.
Thus said, I'm trying to get some "traction" with the marketing of my comic book. ADA doesn't want it, JDA doesn't want it. It's not a medical book or a teaching guide. But it's for all of US, and the people who love us, and I know that I need to start here, with the actual patients, to get this thing off the ground. My mistake was to use the big fish as a way of getting my voice heard by the diabetic community, when all along you were right there for me to contact on my own! I have so many ideas to talk to the dLife Book Group about and I'm hoping there's some interest in learning more. I'm going to post my website here, but it's not to get you to buy it; I want you to see that this is an excellent vehicle of communication for all of us and from which we can all benefit.
That's going to be all for now. Thanks so much for listening.