This content material initially appeared on Beyond Type 1. Republished with permission.
By Makaila Heifner
Eritrea Mussa Khan is 28 years outdated and has had sort 1 diabetes for 18 years. She lives in Dallas, Texas along with her husband the place she works full-time in utility improvement coaching for a big faculty district.
Recently, Eritrea joined the group at Diabetics Doing Things as a Content Creator and is a co-host on the podcast. Their new 4-part sequence “More Than a Diabetic,” options 15 members of the diabetes neighborhood who’re all folks of coloration. This sequence focuses on vital matters like medical racism, illustration within the diabetes neighborhood, and the way we are able to collectively as a neighborhood do higher to help Black and different folks of coloration with diabetes.
Eritrea not too long ago sat down with Beyond Type 1 to debate the podcast, id, and diabetes.
BT1: Do you bear in mind what it was like while you have been recognized? Had you had any prior data of sort 1?
Eritrea: No, I didn’t know something about diabetes in any respect. I used to be eight, so I used to be fairly small. I keep in mind that I despatched my mother and father residence once I obtained recognized as a result of I used to be extra nervous about my siblings than myself and being like, “Hey, my mom has to get up early tomorrow and take my brothers to school. She has to go home and get some rest.” I took cost of a variety of my very own care, but in addition my mother and father have been foreigners to the nation. Their understanding was restricted due to language boundaries so it was simpler for me to take cost and be the translator, not only for them, however for myself in order that I may perceive every thing firsthand. If I wanted to handle myself, I may try this. I used to be very a lot somewhat grownup about it.
How did you change into concerned within the diabetes world and activism?
I began going to diabetes camps once I was actually younger. I used to be recognized in 2002, and I went to my first diabetes camp that very same winter. The subsequent summer season I began to go to Camp New Horizons right here in Texas with my brothers as a result of it was supplied to diabetics and their siblings. At 13, you may change into a counselor in coaching (CIT), and so I turned a CIT after which my brothers all grew up going to camp as properly so then they turned CITs. It form of turned a household factor. When I turned 18, I turned a counselor after which I began volunteering each summer season. I’ve a variety of buddies with diabetes. I went to a variety of camps so it is sensible that I made a variety of long-lasting relationships. As I obtained older, I simply tried to volunteer my time right here and there. Last 12 months in 2020 I met Rob Howe at a Diabetes Meetup in Dallas (pre-pandemic) and later obtained actually fortunate to be supplied a chance to create content material over at Diabetics Doing Things.
Do you ever really feel burned out whereas working in diabetes?
I’m fortunate sufficient that I don’t work within the diabetes house full time, and I don’t need to say by no means however I simply really feel it could be so onerous. I do know some individuals who work full-time in diabetes and severely large “Kudos,” as a result of I really feel like we already work full time in diabetes. There’s no trip from this factor! I do positively undergo some burnout. I’ve a therapist. This will not be a humblebrag. I’m not okay all the time, it’s onerous out right here. But in some way, I handle. I attempt to go for walks lots in order that I can actually simply look across the earth and notice that it’s a lot greater than simply me and my expertise and what I’m going by in my second. I attempt to eat good meals and revel in as many small issues as I can. It’s the small stuff that makes up the large stuff.
How did you come to create “more than a diabetic” and why did you’re feeling just like the house was so obligatory for the neighborhood?
When Rob and I began speaking about me working at Diabetics Doing Things, the dialog was actually round doing issues in a different way. There is a kind of aesthetic or sort of face of diabetes. That face is quite common inside the on-line neighborhood and I see it on a regular basis, and even faces that appear like mine, which is the very consumable Black woman: mild pores and skin, curly hair, very cute, blah, blah, blah. And I hate it. It’s ridiculous, Black folks and folks of coloration exist in all shades, shapes, sizes, varieties of diabetes. And their experiences ought to be talked about, represented appropriately. I wished to create an area the place folks have been going to have actual conversations with out mincing phrases to spare emotions. I assumed that it was vital for us to be trustworthy, to be clear, and to have these conversations out within the open as an alternative of continuous to speak about having these conversations. Something that’s at all times actually bothered me about how methods of oppression are created is that the conversations about altering them are at all times being had by the identical individuals who created the issue. It actually felt prefer it was time for these conversations to be centered across the people who find themselves impacted by the societal impression of erasing BIPOC experiences. So, that’s what we did.
When do you’re feeling most empowered and who in your life contributes to that?
I at all times really feel supported at residence. I’ve the perfect husband ever who lets me go on hour-long rants about issues and tells me, “Hell yeah.” Having the house and generally the bravery to say issues which may make some folks uncomfortable is essential. I additionally work someplace actually nice, and Rob is a extremely nice particular person to work for. I at all times really feel like Diabetics Doing Things is right here to inform the reality, even when these truths could also be somewhat bit uncomfortable generally.
Do you’ve got a message for anybody that’s combating discrimination or racism?
I believe we’re all struggling. I believe each single particular person is struggling. But possibly one thing we may all take into consideration extra is simply being deliberately type. There’s a distinction between being good and being type. We all have to be somewhat bit kinder and suppose extra in regards to the different particular person’s human expertise. We have to be somewhat bit extra intentional with that kindness. If we’re being requested to talk someplace, questions have to be requested. Who else is talking? Am I taking over house that could possibly be for another person? Are all teams being represented right here appropriately? Are we making this accessible for everybody?
It’s about being type, being intentional, opening up doorways for different folks different than simply ourselves. I do know that all of us need to get forward, I do know all of us need to do properly. That’s not what I’m arguing. I’m simply saying that we are able to’t all do properly once we’re ignoring the wants of different folks in our neighborhood. You cant be an advocate for diabetes after which ignore BIPOC with diabetes or LGBTQ folks with diabetes or sort 2 diabetics. We all have diabetes. We all want to assist one another.
What’s subsequent for you? The podcast?
Diabetics Doing Things remains to be doing takeovers on Mondays. We do about two takeovers a month. It’s known as “Doing Things Day,” and we hand over our account to any individual someplace they usually take us by a day of their life with sort 1 diabetes. We’ve gone to locations like Palestine, Lebanon, London, Georgia, Tennessee. We get to see a sliver of a second in somebody’s life, only a day. I actually take pleasure in these takeovers as a result of they permit us to go everywhere in the world. It’s going to be actually superior. We’re protecting some actually cool new folks in March.
For now, I do know I’m doing a little extra producing at Diabetics Doing Things, and I’m not likely going wherever. I’ll be right here engaged on stuff, brainstorming what my subsequent factor is.
I’m additionally engaged on a venture that I’m actually enthusiastic about. I’m on the lookout for diabetics within the media. I like initiatives like these as a result of I so take pleasure in taking place a rabbit gap. Catching up on Steel Magnolias and Scrubs has been a deal with. I’m actually excited for what 2021 will convey to Diabetics Doing Things and what season two of More Than A Diabetic will appear like.
Any final ideas?
For anyone listening to any of those episodes, please simply pay attention. That’s it, have an open thoughts. If you end up feeling one thing whereas listening, I invite you to lean into that feeling and discover it. This will not be about only one singular particular person. What the last word aim of More than a diabetic was is to shed a highlight on a problem that impacts all of us. It’s a few shared neighborhood expertise that so many individuals who appear like me, and who don’t appear like me, have gone by.
Read extra about neighborhood, diabetes burnout, Intensive administration, interview, podcast.