Guest Blog: Mike Ratrie- We Need Sails

We cannot change the wind, we can only adjust our sails.

Yes, it’s a cliché, but stay with me for a moment and we’ll see if I can bring it home.The wind is this case is pretty obvious, right? Our continuous, but unwanted companion, Diabetes. Some days it blows hot, howling and horrible, others cold, crafty and conniving, but every single day it blows (unless it sucks, of course). Regardless of Type, Diabetes is with us every moment of every day.Since there’s no getting away from this chronic wind, how do we manage, how can we live and thrive?

We Need Sails.

Sails can be used and adjusted to help us reach our goals. We also regularly have to evaluate whether or not the sails we are using are still up to the job. Sails that are constantly buffeted by the wind (and sun, and rain, and sleet, and snow) need to be changed, renewed, replaced.Now you can use your imagination to think of all the real-life D-items that can be used for metaphorical sails. Insulins, syringes, pens, test strips, meters, D-pills, etc are what immediately come to my mind.But what about D-parents, our HCPs (including some fabulous CDEs), the DOC? Sails, every one of them.

picture of clear test tubes

How about Health Care policy, regulations and laws? Yes, they too are sails for us to use.So this last part is what brings me to write this post.I’m not going to come up with a cure, or develop an artificial pancreas. I’m not going to create a fabulous D-blog - there are so many great ones out there already.But what I can do is use my voice with my legislators and policy makers, I can ask them to create better sails, or perhaps a better environment for others to create better sails - ones that can be adjusted more effectively. I can ask you to join me in raising our voices.

Being a DPAC Champion

To that end, I have been given the opportunity to be a part of the Diabetes Advocacy Patient Coalition, or DPAC, as a DPAC Champion. The final weekend in September and the very first day of October, the inaugural group of Champions went to Washington, DC to expand on DPAC’s mission to build better sails legislatively.This group of about 25 diverse individuals have made a commitment to advocate, advocate, advocate and get to know not only our legislators, but also the staff members that do much of the heavy lifting when it comes to drafting and passing(!) legislation.Together, the DPAC Champions plan to grow the voice of PWDs in our Nation’s capital, Washington, DC, and also in our Nation’s Capitals, from Annapolis to Tallahassee, Indianapolis to Frankfort, Sacramento to Baton Rouge and beyond. We want our legislators to gain a better understanding of what we face, and how they can positively impact our lives. In addition, through partnerships with the Lions Club International, the Association of Black Cardiologists, DPAC Champions hope to engage and energize everyone including “sugar-normals” to help advance legislative solutions to giving us better sails.I’d love to hear from you as we “adjust our sails” in 2019.

About Mike

Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1973, at age 19, Mike has led what can only be called an extremely normal life with variations. Married to Lucia Ratrie in 2014, Mike is a husband and father to a grown daughter, Anna, father in-law to her husband John, grandfather to two boys, Connor and Finn, step-dad to Lucia’s four grown children, Jason, Steven, Chad and Heather, and servant to 3 cats and 1 dog.His ever-ready smile, silly humor and positivity have been a part of numerous adventures. These include 5 years on his own sailboat, ranging from Maine to Aruba, pedaling just under 6,000 miles with Lucia on an unsupported cross-country bike trip, and a second 2,000 mile trip from Vancouver Island, BC to Los Angeles, CA.A non-blogging member of the DOC since 2008, Mike started insulin pumping in 1999 and CGM’ing in late 2014. Mike is looking forward to moving beyond raising awareness to creating actions that lead to change.