x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Diabetic blogger chronicles her frustrations

Aisha Al Qaissieh is determined to shatter misconceptions about diabetes through her blog.

Ms Al Qaissieh was 11 when she found out she was diabetic.
Ms Al Qaissieh was 11 when she found out she was diabetic.

DUBAI // Aisha Al Qaissieh says her diabetes used to make her feel invisible.

Ms Al Qaissieh has been turned down for marriage a number of times because of her condition.

“Being diabetic doesn’t bother me but people being so ignorant about it does,” she said.

Ms Al Qaissieh was 11 when she found out she was diabetic. At first it came as a shock, as there was no medical history of the condition in her family.

But she said the only difference between her and other people was “having my Insulin pump on me at all times.

“I get overwhelmed and frustrated when people think of diabetes as a pitiful condition. But I don’t blame them, because if you do an online search for diabetes, you find a lot of horrifying images of feet and devastated faces.”

Ms Al Qaissieh says diabetes requires a lot of monitoring but as long as it is kept under control with medication, diet and exercise, it needn’t be a death sentence.

“Wouldn’t any person, any non-diabetic, face horrific health complications if they didn’t ensure their health was maintained?”

Misconceptions about the disorder inspired her to start a blog, sweeetdiabetic.blog.com, to document her journey and raise awareness.

Ms Al Qaissieh hopes to encourage acceptance and shatter the stigmas with diabetes, and wants others to do the same.

“If the UAE has one of the highest diabetes rates, why am I facing so much difficulty finding diabetics to share with, or just talk to?” she asked.

“That is why it was important for me to create a community – even if it is just virtual.”

* Amna Al Haddad

Ms Al Qaissieh's journey can also be followed on Twitter, where she tweets under the handle @Diabeticdiaryae.