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Through its new audio series, Patient Voices on Type 2 Diabetes, the New York Times has created a platform for people living with type 2 to share their narratives.

The first piece in the series introduces five men and women who were initially interviewed in 2009 as part of the NYT’s Patient Voices series, which highlighted a range of conditions, including AIDS, autism, and type 2 diabetes. In short two-minute clips, patients discuss their diagnosis and the impact on their day-to-day lives. Some common themes emerge – this chronic condition has a profound effect on patients and on their families/loved ones, but every individual accepts responsibility to be more engaged in his/her own health in order to resume a relatively normal lifestyle. At the same time, the heterogeneity of diabetes is very apparent in this piece. Despite a shared diagnosis, these five patients come from starkly different backgrounds and thus respond differently to their disease, with reactions ranging from “I just want to have a normal life” to a more accepting “Just make one small change at a time.” We applaud the NYT for establishing this platform for people affected by type 2 diabetes to speak out. It’s a step in the right direction as we continue to combat stigma surrounding type 2 diabetes, and hopefully, the NYT will get this issue the wide societal exposure that it needs. We look forward to future broadcasts.

  • Here’s a sneak peek at the five narratives published so far (but we highly encourage you to take a listen for yourself!):
    • Jazmyne Robinson is a teenager from Ferguson, MO, who first started noticing hyperglycemia symptoms at six-years-old.
    • Larry Brandwein is a 56-year-old man from Brooklyn, NY, who struggles to keep up with the demands of his type 2 diabetes.
    • Andy Shein is a 44-year-old from Bedford, MA, who considers himself a “statistical anomaly.”
    • Sandy Bumford from Athens, MI is 44 years-old and hopes to set a good example for her children by taking care of her health.
    • Dan Pham, 39, hails from Fort Lauderdale, FL. He virtually reversed his diabetes in <two months, and he considers his story anything but unique.
  • Quotable Quotes:
    • “Diabetes does not forget. You can’t fool yourself, and you can’t fool diabetes. You have to eat right, you have to get enough exercise, and you have to see a doctor regularly. If you do what you’re supposed to be doing, you can live a normal life… I live alone, I don’t have anyone looking after me, and I tend to neglect taking care of my diabetes.” – Larry Brandwein
    • “Don’t let the disease control your body, because if you let the disease control your body, then you’re just going to be one sad person. You have to keep it in control and live your regular life. Exercise and eat right… and it’s like the disease isn’t even there.” – Jazmyne Robinson
    • “Just make one change at a time, and once you get that mastered, move on to the next. You’ll be better for it in the long run.” – Sandy Bumford