My name is Betsy Rodriguez and I’m from the United States. For over 25 years or more living and being the caregiver of my daughter who lives with type 1 diabetes and my husband who lives with cancer.

I'm sharing my story because I want to give a voice to those that live with chronic conditions that do not have a voice, especially those from marginalized communities living and experiencing health disparities and inequities. I want to help put a face to diabetes and other chronic conditions. Together we are stronger! “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ― Nelson Mandela.

Visual Diary

21 July 2021

My life as a caregiver living with chronic conditions: Cancer and Diabetes!

Diabetes and Cancer dramatically changed my family’s lives. Living with chronic conditions—and caring for loved ones living with them — can cause physical and emotional stress. As a caregiver, it is our right to live and be happy. However, health disparities were my Goliaths. Navigating healthcare systems, knowing how to identify health problems, and understanding available treatment options shouldn’t be a luxury based on zip code or your ethnicity.

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My daughter Carmen Borges and my husband Dr. Hedwig Borges, aka Papa Bear. Carmen has lived with Type 1 diabetes for 30 years. Papa Bear has lived with Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), which is a rare type of cancer, for 5 years.

Visual Diary

21 July 2021

Health equity is my mantra: Diabetes related technology for All

I cannot count the hours I’ve spent dealing with insurance companies and third-party vendor pharmacies for my daughter to receive a life-saving continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump. Now that she has these, my fear of losing her to hypoglycemia has settled! However, many people still lack access to these technologies due to limited or no insurance or high co-payments. Tools and software that help us to understand data can empower daily health decisions and benefit people with Type 1 or 2 diabetes.

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The day we celebrated overcoming challenges to get my daughter the pump and the CGM.

Visual Diary

21 July 2021

Insulin pump and CGM make it easier! Access is a challenge

Recalling the worst hypoglycemia my daughter had so far doesn't make it so bad anymore... I mean, we were able to move on. There are those who cannot count it. Today, we have the pump for monitoring, and there have only been exceptional situations where she had dropped down to dangerous levels. In my bag, I will always have something with fast-acting sugar to face a difficult situation. I want to be there to support her at any time.

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Continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII).

Visual Diary

21 July 2021

The C-Word and my journey as a caregiver to Papa Bear!

Hearing the word “cancer” in a diagnosis is terrifying enough, but here’s another scary thought: the treatment method is likely to be dictated by your insurance coverage. It was devastating to see the love of my life and husband of 46 years, Papa Bear, go through his journey with Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma - a rare cancer. His appearance, vitality and productivity altered, so I became the caregiver and only source of income. Catastrophic ;conditions like these demand high out-of-pocket payments. Sometimes, I feel like a deflated balloon!

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My husband, Papa Bear, and me as he goes through his journey with Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL).

Visual Diary

21 July 2021

The right to a healthy future and quality of life

I hope that my loved ones and I live a good quality life and my daughter will continue to be a Wonder Woman at age 95. And I continue with my husband for a longer time. I want to advocate for people-centered care models, encouraging comprehensive chronic disease management. I want to advocate for health systems that focus on ensuring that all people with chronic conditions have access to quality care, regardless of race or ethnicity. Health is a human right and not a privilege!

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My daughter and me as her pancreas mom - an inseparable duo!

On the left the "Empty man statue" - the incredible, heartbreaking artwork is extremely touching and very emotional. A mother’s love. A father’s love. Grandparent’s love. Love of siblings, friends and strangers. The thought of losing a love one is unimaginable – but for many, it’s all too real and some have written that this sculpture depicts how they feel – an emptiness. John Maddox wrote, “We may look as if we carry on with our lives as before. We may even have times of joy and happiness. Everything may seem “normal”. But this “emptiness” is how we all feel... all the time.”

NCD Diaries


I want to give a voice to those that live with chronic conditions that do not have a voice, especially those from marginalized communities living and experiencing health disparities and inequities. I want to help put a face to diabetes and other chronic conditions.

Betsy Rodriguez, lived experience of multiple chronic conditions, United States

About NCD DIARIES

The NCD Diaries use rich and immersive multimedia approaches to share lived experiences to drive change, using a public narrative framework.

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The experience of living with multiple chronic conditions

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