This is day 6 of Wego Health National Health Blog Post Month. Today's topic is to "write about a time you had to take the high road."
Last evening I was reading Kortnie's D-Life blog and happened to see a link to this youtube video made by another blogger, Joanne, from the Death of a Pancreas blog. It left me in tears laughing hysterically not because I find it amusing to call uninformed or misinformed people stupid, but rather because it gets super exhausting to clarify what type 1 diabetes is to the many people who think they know what it is based on what you read in the media.
Truthfully, I was one of those uninformed/misinformed people. How could anyone NOT be after all? If I google diabetes, I come up with a variety of links to diet plans, supplements claiming to "reverse" diabetes and all kinds of heaping criticism about the epidemic of obesity and the rise of diabetes. I may have been misinformed yes. But I'd like to think I never openly said something that came across as judging another with diabetes.
I can't think of a single week where I haven't had to hear some comment about Alex and diabetes that isn't uniformed/misinformed. And unlike other incurable diseases, people feel some need to express opinions about people who have diabetes. Sometimes, I try to nicely educate. Sometimes I just bite my tongue and take the high road. Here are some examples:
I don't know that many people who don't occasionally eat fast food. It isn't low calorie. It isn't low carb. But once in a while my daughter wants a happy meal. Within a few weeks of coming home from the hospital, we stopped for a happy meal on the way home from getting some blood work done. We took it to the ice rink where her brother had a practice. Someone I barely knew but had heard about Alex's diagnosis made it a point to whisper behind me to someone else "perhaps that's why she has diabetes." I wanted to burst out in tears. We were like a month out of the hospital and it was the FIRST time I had purchased a meal out and was trying to count the carbs AND give her a shot in public. I was exhausted from getting up 3 times a night testing her blood. I was exhausted from a lot of things. If we had come home from the hospital because my daughter had God forbid been diagnosed with cancer, would that same person feel the need to say "perhaps her happy meals caused her cancer"? I think not. But something about "diabetes" makes it okay to critique every morsel of food my daughter eats out in public. Alas, instead of slugging this person, I simply walked away.
My child can eat ANYTHING she wants to eat as long as she counts the carbs and boluses. That being said like EVERYONE ELSE, she should eat a well balanced diet. Your non-diabetic child shouldn't have candy corn for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My diabetic child shouldn't either. But if she is in school and they are passing out 2 snack bags of candy corn to each child, don't skip mine or give her only one because she is diabetic!!!!! And, yes this happens at school and other places more often than I can count.
I know this supplement that will cure diabetes
We were approached by a casual acquaintance on several occasions last spring to check out this supplement that they believed would help produce insulin. I tried to be nice and say thank you and I'll read about it because saying "there is no cure for diabetes" didn't work. That was a mistake. They spent the next 3 months hounding me with cards and asking to meet me to show me a video. No matter how much I tried to be courteous and explain that my daughter's diabetes won't be fixed with a supplement you can't buy in stores and is sold through a multi-level marketing company, they continued to ask me to check it out. Since we were involved in a common group, I felt the need to take the high road and just ignore them until they eventually stopped asking me because they moved away.
If there was some supplement that could make your pancreas suddenly produce insulin...that would be called a CURE. I'm sure it wouldn't be sold by non-medical people through a multi-level marketing company for $45 a bottle.
The bad kind of diabetes
I get this so often it's insane. I'm guessing that most people's definition of "bad kind" is the kind (type 1) that doesn't improve with diet and exercise (type 2). If that is the only way to define it, then yes, she has the "bad kind". However I'm pretty sure my Uncle Billy who lost both his legs and another aunt who lost both her legs and then died would argue that type 2 isn't the "good kind". Most times it's just not worth opening up the discussion. I just smile and say she has the kind that means she does not produce insulin at all.
There is NO GOOD KIND of diabetes!
Loss of limbs
Why yes, I know I just brought up 2 relatives who lost limbs. But I make it a point NOT to do this in front my daughter. And, I don't make it a point to cite the worst case scenarios right off the bat when someone mentions their incurable disease. Again, God forbid if my child had cancer, would you turn around and tell me the story of your 4th cousin whose child had the same cancer and died? That's really helpful, don't you think? And please don't bring up these kinds of things in front of my 10 year old who right now needs to focus on proper self care and management and not on things that would frighten her.
Not everyone who has diabetes loses limbs or goes blind. There are a number of people with diabetes that live a long life without extreme complications. It doesn't mean that diabetes isn't a big deal. It doesn't mean it doesn't sucks monkey balls for those people who do suffer extreme complication or die from this disease. It means that between education and advancements in technology, this is a disease you can hope to manage. It doesn't mean you want to live with it. It doesn't mean a cure isn't important. It doesn't mean you can't spend every waking moment thinking about your self-care and self-management to keep blood sugars in check. It just simply means you may be able to manage it better than in years/decades past.