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Oprah Does Diabetes.

The Open Letter Mailbag.  Also looks like a sack of potatoes.  BUT LOW CARB ONES!  :pDear Oprah and Dr. Oz,

Diabetes is very expensive to manage and to treat the complications of, but what comes at an even higher cost is the damage of statements from a doctor, claiming that diabetes is reversible. I was diagnosed as a child, and my type 1 diabetes is not the result of any controllable factors. However, I have many friends who have type 2 diabetes who can make the same claim.

I can't lie - I had a lot of hope about your episode regarding diabetes.  Even though it was billed as "the silent killer" and even though I knew you'd show the darkest side of diabetes-related complications possible to "sensationalize" this disease, I was holding out because I wanted this episode to be accurate. 

Dr. Oz, you are a doctor, and a mouthpiece for the medical community.  I realize you are a cardiologist, not an endocrinologist, so you can't be expected to know everything about every medical condition, but I'm surprised you were chosen as the expert on diabetes.  I understand that doctors are human, as are their patients, and no one expects you to be an expert on every medical condition.  I actually respect doctors who admit that they can do a lot, but can't do everything.  And since you aren't an endocrinologist, I'm not shocked at your casual mentions of the two types of diabetes, not making clear distinctions between the two.  (Actually, I believe it was Oprah (or her husband, Richie Cunningham) who continued to bring up the "type 1 or type 2" question.) 

I was hoping that you take a clinical approach, instead of one that generalizes diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a very serious disease and shouldn't be put in that "lose weight and you'll save the healthcare system millions" category. You had an opportunity, and a duty, to educate the public about the different kinds of diabetes, and to help people understand what methods of treatment work best.

I was disheartened to see how this show was handled, editorially.  You two started off by saying that diabetes is an epidemic, one that will eventually bankrupt our healthcare system.  After discussing how insulin and glucose work in the body, you then cut to Laureen.  Laureen is 44 years old, on dialysis waiting for her second kidney transplant, and a double amputee.  You zoom in closely on her tears as they fall, as she laments how she has been dealing with diabetes for most of her life and wishes that she took better care of herself when she was young.  

(Back to the studio:  Oprah asks if Laureen was a type 1 or a type 2 diabetic.  Dr. Oz says she was type 1 diabetic.  "She's type 1.  She's not making enough insulin.  Type 1 is genetic."  I'll admit this is one of the first times I've ever heard type 1 and type 2 even mentioned in the same breath in mainstream television.  And then in the next breath:  "Diabetes is an epidemic.")

Why show a type 1 diabetic with serious complications, and then say that diabetes is the fastest growing disease in the country?  You need to specify that diet and exercise, or lack thereof, did not cause Laureen's type 1 diabetes.  Yet you want people to see the horrible effects of type 1 diabetes on her body and then say that a generalized "diabetes" is an epidemic.  Type 1 is not an epidemic.  Type 2 diabetes is.  And thanks to your mishandling of the facts, ignorance now joins the epidemic status as well.

Do you realize how frustrating it can be to live with diabetes, of any kind?  The testing, the injections, the complications, the daily fear of what may happen while you're driving or - worse - what may happen while you sleep?  The physical impact of diabetes is tremendous, as you both illustrated with your jar of glass shards, representing what an excess of sugar in the blood stream can do to blood vessels.

But do you realize how equally frustrating the stigma of diabetes is?  How we are so often viewed as having "brought this on ourselves" or as not working hard enough to prevent complications?  I've written in my blog countless times about the impact of diabetes and guilt, but you wouldn't understand that. You understand ratings.  You understand getting your name out there and having people click on your website ads and tune into your show.  You understand that showing a woman with missing limbs and streaming tears will make people sit on their couches and watch your show.  What you don't understand is how some of us felt, watching from our homes.  Opinions vary on how your show handled diabetes, but for me, personally, I feel like you just blended the worst of both kinds and then barreled into generic advice about generic diabetes symptoms and "remedies." 

Now please don't get me wrong:  I'm grateful for having more of a spotlight on diabetes.  For all the times I've wanted to see diabetes featured on the Oprah show, I feel somewhat guilty for criticizing how your portrayed the disease.  But it's hard for me to disconnect logic (i.e. not everyone has type 1 diabetes so not everyone will understand what information is correct or incorrect about diabetes) from my body's visceral response.  I know that during many points in your show, I felt so frustrated.  I wanted clarity to be delivered to the parts of society that are  unfamiliar with diabetes.  I wanted to have people watch your show and come away thinking, "Wow.  There's more than one type of diabetes?  It's not all about diet and exercise, but there are people who don't have a choice in this diagnosis?"  Instead, I'm afraid that people will continue to think that diabetes is just diabetes, and that there is no distinction between the causes or the treatments.  They'll think that all diabetes is controllable and treatable and potentially reversible.  That it just requires work, and for the diabetic to not be lazy about taking care of themselves. 

If one dollar of funding towards type 1 diabetes research is put back into a potential donor's pocket because they believe, as a result of your words, that all types of diabetes are the same and that all diabetics simply didn't take the measures to "prevent" their disease, this is your burden.

And for those of us with diabetes, we will have to carry the burden that society doesn't deem us "worth curing" because they think we did this to ourselves.

Sincerely,
Kerri Sparling
Type 1 diabetes for 23 years … and counting

NOTE:  To send your comments to Oprah, click this link.

Comments

Thank you so much, I was so frustrated myself, I wrote to Oprah and her Staff as well. Not just for myself but for the image they portrayed for type 1 diabetics. People who know nothing about the disease will now meet me and think that one day I too will be like the 44 year old women they showed on tv today.

I think I love you... /wink

T1 for 40 years and counting

:::clapping:::

Well said Kerri. Well written, thought out letter.

Thank you.

Kerri,
Thank you so much for this post, it really says everything that I felt as I watched it but just couldnt formulate the words. I wish to god they had done a better job since they have such a HUGE platform. The lack of an endocrinologist was the worst mistake. Wonderful post!!

Thank you kerri I saw the oprah too and I am outraged at how they made diabetes to be our fault no it's is not We as diabetic both type one and type need to stand up to doctor oz and stop his blaming of us diabetics

Yes, next time, Oprah, please have Matt Corcoran be your guest!! He knows his stuff and won't start talking about glucose shards of glass attacking the blood vessels. What was that all about?!

And type 1 is all genetic and I was born with it? Huh??

Furthermore, regardless, I don't think it's appropriate to shame ANYBODY with diabetes, type 1 or type 2. Come on! This attitude of shame/hate/blame towards people has got to go. Educate and encourage with an attitude of love and caring and it will do more than if you make people feel like they are failures from the get-go.

:::CLAP CLAP CLAP::: I already get crap from people about complications and how I must not be taking good care of myself because I have to take insulin. I already get an earful of "you're a bad diabetic, you can reverse this." Now it's only going to get worse.

Bankrupting the healthcare industry? The one that won't let me be insured and won't give me a CGMS? They are bankrupting ME!!

Thanks again, Kerri, for posting about things like this. I knew I could count on you to put words to what a lot of people are feeling.

Thank you. Especially for this sentence; "However, I have many friends who have type 2 diabetes who can make the same claim."

T2 for one year and counting (and young, thin, and sick of hearing that I could have prevented this).

thanks for this kerri. It makes me rage so hard when generalised statements are raised like that, and things are put across wrong.

Have you thought of writing into the show and letting them know? Do they have a contact email? I've not seen it, but i'm now wanting to find it online and then write in!!!!

Does anyone have a link to this show?

I watched, it made me sad, so much misinformation...
Thank you for taking the time to compose an excellent response.

Kerri,

I have not seen this programme as it is not out here yet, but you post tugged at my heart strings. You have put into words how I feel eveytime type 1 and 2 are talked about as the same disease. Thank you for putting mine (and so many others) feelings into words and sharing it with the world wide web.

I couldn't agree more...I watched that show yesterday and my stomach was literally turning...Its so hard to hear as a "T1" that if you exercise a little more, or you eat the apple instead of the cookie you can reverse this..."WE CANT!" Thanks Kerri for having a voice for all of us!

Well said Kerri. I wish they had just spent 5 minutes talking clearly about Type 1 diabetes and dispelling myths. We could only wish that they also do a show on Type 1 diabetes and show what a great life one can have if they do their best to manage it.

I show another face of diabetes: http://www.d-mom.com/diabetes-song-and-dance/ My daughter did not do anything to cause it.

thank you for this true and poignant post, kerri. once again, you've managed to put into words what we've all been feeling.

laura

Amen!!!!

Exactly, Kerri, spot on as usual. I knew I was setting myself up for failure when I sat down to watch, but, gosh, it's the Oprah show. The stab in my heart came when he said "amount of insulin you have to take every day depends on 'how bad' your diabetes is". I could feel the tears well up in frustration that now Oprah has perpetuated the ignorance that is already out there. That I fight daily so that my 8yo daughter hopefully doesn't have to deal with as much in the future.

The show was all scare tactics and ratings and ignorance to clarification. And sadness to those who had no choice to fight this battle.

Wooo hoooooooooo!!! You GO girl! I sure hope you sent a copy of this post to the staff over at Oprah...

YOU GO, GIRL!!!!!!! I was so disturbed after they showed the lady with her leg cut off that I ended up turning on Judge Judy!!! You "clarify" that your show is about Type 2, but show someone with Type 1...WHO, admitted that she didn't take care of herself when she was younger. I am so glad my 7-year old with Type 1 didn't skip through the livingroom at that point and ask what was wrong with her!!! Grrrrr

Now...off to put a link on Dr. Oz's Facebook page to your site so ALL can read about the affects that their show had on a very large group of people! And they picked the wrong group to mess with!!! ;)

Thank you so very much Kerri for taking our Type 1 responsibility to educate to a new level with such a well written letter.

My father has always taken care of himself. He was diagnosed with diabetes in his late 70s and is now 84. I don't even think about his diabetes because he is in such great shape -- I keep hoping I'll be that good at his age. My best friend's daughter was diagnosed with diabetes. My boss' son has diabetes. In all cases these people are healthy and yet were struck by diabetes. While I didn't see the Oprah episode, it angers me that a show that, in concept, may have wanted to do good actually did more harm. It may have grabbed ratings, but it didn't educate. Thank you, Kerri, for an informative letter, one that educated me and one that should be sent to as many people as possible.

Well, I just fired off my own letter to Ms. Winfrey, hoping that somehow she will do another show with a type 1 and a type 2 plus and Endocrinologist to set the record straight. I worded it nicely but the meaning between the lines was a tad bit harsh. OK...really harsh. This disease "sucks" enough without all the misconceptions being reinforced on National TV.

Well said Kerri for the first time I watched Oprah and let me say even for a type II I was really disappointed at the show for its disregard of the facts at the very least, but one has to remember that this is all entertainment and not a public service announcement. Even though she has a million followers and I suppose an obligation to her viewer's she also has to keep them entertained and morbid horror stories do that for people.

Kerri - you are so rational and well-spoken. Imagine if they had allowed someone like you to speak on behalf of the T1's to show that there is another side. Thanks for all you do.

Well said. How about we have a show on diabetes? Let's have a cardiologist as the expert instead of a leading endocrinologist. Unbelievable.

Maybe next time Oprah should have Halle Berry on, so she can explain how she weened herself off of insulin and went from a Type 1 to a Type 2....

Very well said...thanks Kerri!

Word. Up.

I hope this post is seen by someone associated with the Oprah show and/or Dr. Oz. They really did a poor job of integrating their object of focusing on type 2 diabetes annihilating African Americans (per Oprah) and showing a long term type 1 with many complications. They did mention there were two different types but Dr. Oz didn't even give a correct definition of them. To say that people with type 1 don't make "enough" insulin? And that the amount of insulin you take every day is how bad your diabetes is? I think their biggest fault was not brining on an expert such as an endocrinologist. Shame on them.

AMEN! I was thinking about this the other day I flipped oparh on because it said diabetes the min I heard type 2 I said god is that the only focus what happens to us ??? And changed the channel thank you for saying the words I wanted to say but could not get out ! 29 year TYPE 1 diabetic

Thanks Kerri. Many people look at this woman as a hero and her associate speak nothing but gospel. She has always been a sensationalist and just because she is on television people believe every word. Well it's time we stop looking for icons and do our own due diligence. Turn off the TV and get into reality.
Again, thank you Kerri.

Ron Wilson Type I diabetic from three known generations of tall thin diabetics.

((high five))

You've said it all, Kerri. Thank you. You are cooler than my cat, and let me just say - it's tough to be cooler than my cat. Or your cats. I nominate you to be a co-founder of Allison's Diabetes Speakers Bureau.

AMEN!! I was so frustrated too! Am working on a letter to Oprah and her staff. We'll see if I can have the guts to hit the send button or not. Good luck to all the type 1's out there who will be left to defend themselves when someone says, "You're diaebtic - just lose some weight and you won't be anymore." or "You shouldn't eat sugar - but the cookie back"

~Amanda (Type 1 for 3 years)

Thanks Kerri for writing this, I really hope you sent a million copies of this to both Oprah and Dr. Oz.

Its so so so frustrating when public figures can't take the time to educate themselves on a topic they are presenting to the nation, but yet I can take the time out of my day to correct the person at the gym who tells me to keep working out so I wont be diabetic anymore.

Very disappointed in them.

Amen, sista. I hope you actually sent this off to them.

Thank you. I hope Oprah or someone w/ her organization reads this. It's important that people understand.

Hi Kerri!
WAY TO GO! I really, really, really (really!) hope you sent this letter off to Oprah & Dr. Oz. It's a much, much (MUCH!) better letter than I would have written.

I, too, had high hopes for this show. Very frustrating show, indeed!

Way to go! My daughter~5 years old~ was diagnosed type 1, 3 months ago, and while I readilly admit I didn't know all the differences between type 1 and type 2 3 months ago, I did know enough that they are VERY different in many ways, now that I am more educated and still learning more every day, I get so frustrated with other people out there, but also feel overwhelmed when I try to explain the differences to them, I stumbled across your blog a month ago and I really enjoy it, thanks for writing it helps me alot!

It was frustrating, but a baby step at the same time. She is the one person out there that will come back and say "I was wrong." Maybe she will this time and champion our cause.

What is that oath doctors take.....do no harm? I'm afraid Dr. Oz and Opie did more harm to the diabetic community and the general public's understanding of the disease than they did good. Thanks for being our mouthpiece. Shout out to BSparl too.

Preach.

I love the passion and clarity in your perspective, I hope they listen. Great post Kerri.

Amen, Sista. Well put, as ever...you nailed it. I wrote about this, too, as it upset me greatly.

Amen. Bravo. Great post about it.

I found it a disconcerting show on so many levels. I didn't let my 7 year old with Type 1 watch any of it.

Thank you Kerri. Knew you would step up to the plate and get our side of the story and sum up all of our feelings into one post.

Awesome! Couldn't have said it better than that!

WOW!! That is fantastic Kerri!
Why should we have to settle for mediocre coverage on our very complex disease that somehow got a similar name to a very different disease? Its maddening! Thank you 100 times over for being such a great voice for us T1's!!!

Wonderful letter, Kerri!

A similar situation occurred about a year ago when Dr. Oz was on the Oprah Show with Montel Williams. Multiple sclerosis was discussed without a neurologist onboard.

Dr. Oz had way too many MSers scared that they would die of suffocation if they experienced the "MS hug" and loved ones scared that their MSers would commit suicide. Now how are those two images for a disease which is not widely known nor well understood?

Dr. Oz and Oprah, let the true medical experts and patient advocates/educators have the stage please.

I have never posted a comment, but I have to on this post.

Thank you SO MUCH for putting this down. You are so amazingly correct and so very clear in explaining it, in a way I never could.

Thank you! And I absolutely love your blog :) It is what has helped me become motivated again in my own diabetes care.

T1 for 20.5 years, and counting...

Thank you. Why must this go on and on? I did hear the doctor (not Oz, the other one whose name I've forgotten) continuously use "type 2" when he was discussing the public health epidemic, so that was good. But otherwise, shows like this are the reason I pick up a cookie and people say, "I thought you can't eat that. And by the way, why do you have it if you're thin?"
GRR. Thanks, Kerri. I hope they listen.

Thank you, Kerri. This is par for the course for network television.

A recent episode of "Men of a Certain Age" featured a scene where the son of the character who has diabetes, captures him on video, hiding his bad eating habits from his wife. Gives the image that people with diabetes bring it on themselves.

http://www.tnt.tv/dramavision/?cid=54015

Well written Keri. I would love to see you on Oprah. You would make us all proud.

Oprah did diabetes the way Debbie "did" Dallas in an infamous old porn movie. I didn't bother to see either, knowing what the tired plot would be well ahead of time. The result in both cases was the same - just like Dallas, diabetics are s*****d. She pimped this show, according to everything I'm reading, so the simile stands.
My son's a type 1. He's now a young adult, & people are telling him that now that he's an adult, he's a type 2 diabetic. So now, he won't need insulin! It's actually an old, old error that I'd heard from the time I was young. We had a kid with diabetes in the school back then. I looked it up in an encyclopedia when I was I guess 9 or so. But all my life I heard people tell this kid that adulthood would bring type 2 diabetes. After all, type 1 is juvenile diabetes, adults can't have it; they only have type 2. Oh, the kid hears, won't it be nice when diet, exercise, & pills take care of your diabetes & when if you just eat mostly fruits & veggies, you'll never have to take another shot again.
I had hoped, with the Web out there, available for anyone with half a brain (& willing to look at something besides the unclothed human body in a variety of absurd positions people consider appealing for reasons beyond this nurse's ken), that this tired old "grow out of type 1" mindset would be gone, or nearly so, but you can't fix stupid.
You also can't fix a TV show host who is, per my son's (& several other people's) reckoning, building her own religion where she is god. I agree, but there's one problem: Last time I checked, even for the most conceited of physicians (& I've seen my share of them in my nursing career, which is now ended by a litany of autoimmune chronic illnesses), I can safely say God did not die & will the business of running the world to any of them, regardless of their prestige or TV ratings. I'm waiting for the golden statue of Oprah at her HQ, ready for adoring acolytes to dance around in a frenzy of worship.

I hope that Oprah and Dr. Oz see this blog and how upset the T1 community is at how they were portrayed.

My husband is a type 1 diabetic who was diagnosed at 17 months of age. He will soon turn 45 and is active, fit and living a full-life free from complications thanks to diligent parents and doctors that taught him early on the importance of control and (more recently) to using a pump. He is totally reliant on insulin as he no longer produces any after being a type 1 for nearly 44 years… but that does not stop him from being a cyclist, guitarist and a downhill skiier as well as a fantastic father to a young son and much, much more. His life is not sad -- it is full and happy.

Living with type 1 is not easy on him or those who love him. Some days are better than others, but mostly he has things in control and plans to keep it that way.

I agree that showing only type 1 diabetics facing amputation and dialysis etc. is not putting the right face on this disease. I am so disappointed in Oprah and Dr. Oz.

Oh, and do not even get me started on the Halle Berry curing herself thing. ugh.

signed,
loving wife to a T1 for 43 yrs and counting

If you want to complain to Oprah directly here's the link.
http://www.oprah.com/ownshow/plug_form.html?plug_id=220

Wonderful response Kerri. Thank you for saying it for all of us.

When we put together the guests for the "reality" Oprah show on diabetes, can we add a proctologist to the mix -- you know, just to extract some heads??

Every time I hear the media refer to diabetes without a type I email them. Because the longer people think that all of us are type 2 and our disease is our own fault, the less money we receive for research. It makes me CRAZY!!!! The media is perpetuating a stereotype[e that is literally killing us.

Thank you for that! As an atypical Type 2 I get frustrated by the "it's my fault game." I was diagnosed at a normal weight at age 25. I spent the first two years constantly feeling guilty and like I had somehow brought this upon myself. I eat ridiculously healthy, less than 60 carbs a day, a tons of veggies, and I still can't get off any of my pills or insulin (if there's a diet out there, I've tried it from Bernstein to Raw). When people here I am Type II, I frequently get preached at or told, "Oh, my friend did this diet or that and now their off their meds." All types of diabetes suck and for many of us there's a huge genetic component or shear bad luck!

Thank you for the link, Autumn. I sent an email while my sweet blood was boiling.

Thank you, Kerri!!

Oh how I needed to read that. I watched the show and was left speachless. Your words were my thoughts. Thank you for expressing them!

A very well written article Kerri. Didn't bother to watch Oprah....sadly, no surprise on the coverage. As a mom of a T1 (11 yrs), what I really wish would happen is the medical community would separate T1 & T2 by renaming one or the other. Similar, but the not the same. Apples and bananas are in the fruit family, but are so very different. That would help considerably with the public's confusion and constant ignorance of the vast differences!

Go get 'em and many thanks for your post.

i did not what oprah (in fact, i've never viewed the show) but i find it fascinating that people are so lathered up by what took place.
i've been T1 for 560 years and i have no complications; never had a seizure; never been incapacitated by high or a low; never been to the hospital for D-related event.
so ... life is fantastic.
but ... this never-ending sibling rivalry between T1 and T2 seems silly to me. who cares what people say? who cares what misinformation is sent forth? really. it makes no different in our day to day life so i refuse to pay any attention to any of it.
i have many more important things to worry about.
finally ... it's important to note that no matter what type of D you have, we all share common challenges.
sibling rivalries are silly for kids and they're silly and unproductive for adults.
i'm sure i'm in the minority, but i would be very happy if we all moved on to something else.

Thanks for saying this so eloquently. Our 8-year old son was diagnosed with T1 last May, and I worry about the igorance and misinformation he will have to deal with as he gets older. Let's hope the media gets their priorities straight and starts educating instead of entertaining and grabbing for ratings.

DCReporter - I totally hear you on having different opinions and I'm glad you decided to share what you were thinking. But I think misinformation is dangerous, and I care about how people perceive my disease because at the end of the day, I'd love to have more advancements towards a cure. And those are funded by donations. And donations are given by people who believe that the disease is worth curing.

So, coming full circle, I want people to know that diabetes is worth curing. I believe that it is. And I'd like to have the next 23 years with type 1 see some PROGRESS, not stigma.

(And 560 years with type 1? Holy crap!)

It killed me to watch this episode. So, if I exercised more than I could have prevented this?!? What kind of exercises should I have been doing at the age of two??
It is upsetting because she could have changed the public's opinion and knowledge of Type 1 Diabetes - but she didn't.
Signed,
College Student - T1D for 19 Years

Thanks for the great post. After watching Oprah take on diabetes I was so disappointed that the focus was on a group of people who knowingly choose not to take care of themselves. Listening to those church women talk about all of the people in their families who have died from diabetes related complications, and then to hear from the one woman who hadn't checked her sugar for months, and had stopped taking her medication!!! That totally floored me. Can Oprah honestly say that these are the people we should focus on educating? Why not put the focus on those of us, T1 and T2, who put in a lot of work everyday to make sure that we don't become "burdens on the health care system", and who value leading healthy lives. I don't expect Oprah to be able to cover every detail of diabetes in an hour long show, and I certainly expect her to capitalize on a bit of sensationalism to get to her audience, but surely after grabbing their attention she could have used some better information to focus on the disease itself, instead of the millions of people who continue to ignore its existence. Thanks again! (adult onset T1)

Thanks for the great post. After watching Oprah take on diabetes I was so disappointed that the focus was on a group of people who knowingly choose not to take care of themselves. Listening to those church women talk about all of the people in their families who have died from diabetes related complications, and then to hear from the one woman who hadn't checked her sugar for months, and had stopped taking her medication!!! That totally floored me. Can Oprah honestly say that these are the people we should focus on educating? Why not put the focus on those of us, T1 and T2, who put in a lot of work everyday to make sure that we don't become "burdens on the health care system", and who value leading healthy lives. I don't expect Oprah to be able to cover every detail of diabetes in an hour long show, and I certainly expect her to capitalize on a bit of sensationalism to get to her audience, but surely after grabbing their attention she could have used some better information to focus on the disease itself, instead of the millions of people who continue to ignore its existence. Thanks again! (adult onset T1)

Thank you, thank you. It's sad how little our culture has progressed in understanding diabetes. What's perhaps worse, even a lot of doctors - endocrinologists included - don't distinguish enough between type 1 and type 2. I have type 1 and have normal cholesterol, yet the only thing that kept my endo from putting me on a statin was that I'm a female of childbearing age. Where's the evidence for statins in diabetics? Only from people over age 50 with type 2!! And then he left me to work out my BG on my own (he's no longer my endo). Yes, type 2 is also not the fault of the people who have it, although diet and exercise can help basically put it into remission (still not a "cure"). I know more and more thin people who have it. Actually, type 1 incidence has been increasing since about the late 70s, as well, although it's not technically an epidemic. The less people overgeneralize, the more we might get to the true causes of these conditions - and from there to true cures!

Kerri,

Thank you for such an excellent blog. I had no idea that people in the media that are so educated could be so ignorant. Thank you for bringing this to light.

I hope this gets you a spot on Oprah! Well done.

Well put, my thoughts exactly.

Thank you Kerri - I hope Oprah and Dr. Oz see it and invite you on the show. I love your blog!

As a 21 year Type 1 LADA, I would have liked the show to have talked about what makes Type 1 different from Type 2. However, there was just so much that they just got wrong about things in general. It's the carbs, stupid. And you can't cure it by eating right and exercising. I wish. Oh yeah, it isn't my parent's fault, or mine, or anyone elses, that we got hosed. and an expert in diabetes would have come in handy. I'm curious what medical professionals would say about the show.

I give her credit for trying (and I won't go the cynical route and talk about ratings...), but I don't think did anyone any favors, PWD or not.

Kerri- awesome, thank you so much!
I, too am tired to the shame thing regarding any diabetes type 1 or type 2.

Would it be okay to have someone with cancer on TV and say "you could have prevented this"? There would be public outrage! Jokes on TV about "losing a leg to diabetes", would it be okay to joke about someone losing a body part to cancer? I don't think so. There are so many comments posted on Oprah's website, I hope she listens up and give some attention to this.

doh! that should be 50 years. though 560 isn't a bad goal.

Kerri,

I did not see the show (had I been afforded the opportunity, I would have missed it based on what I have seen from Dr. Oz in the past), however, your statements are well written and much appreciated. Thank you for all that you do to champion awareness and for yoru bravery in sharing so much of your life with D, with us...

Cheers!

A-D

I wouldn't even watch the show as I assumed they were going to lump diabetics in one group and that would piss me off. ignorance.

Hi: When Oprah asked Dr. Oz the difference between T1 and T2, he generalized the info on what T1 was about, but it was really clear that the show was about T2 and how it is affecting the African American community. Being AA myself and having two children with diabetes (T1 and T2) the information I got from the show (especially the broken glass part) was shocking, as I did not have a clue how diabetes actually damaged our bodies. I knew about the amputations, but not about the heart or kidney damage. AA's do not have access to an endo (I do), and rely on their family doctor that they have been going to for years for their care, who may not be as informative as an endo. We can be passive about diabetes (i.e., oh it's just a little sugar). I can't even tell you how often I have heard that in my lifetime from my parents' friends and relatives about their diabetes. When my T2 son was diagnosed, I didn't take it as seriously as my T1 son...of course now I do. It was shocking, very saddening to find out that 100 AA people per day die from this disease mainly because they did not take care of themselves...did anyone see the food they were eating? LOL...that's how we eat! The show itself will be informative to us about how deadly this disease is and that it's not "just a little sugar". Though I do very much agree with what everyone is saying here, that more needs to be said on this, especially when it comes to T1, I am glad that this particular info on T2 was brought up and hopefully it will help someone, because it definitely helped me. Thanks for allowing me to post :-)

Kerri, thank you so much for this post. My mother called me in tears yesterday, scared at the thought of me losing a limb or my kidney function (I am Type 1, diagnosed in 2007 at age 26). It took me nearly 45 minutes on the phone to calm her down. When she told me what was said on this episode I was livid. This kind of ignorance bothers me more (most days) then even having to deal with the management of this disease.

Thanks Kerri for putting exactly what we are all feeling into a beautiful letter. Well done-hope you get a reply.

I also saw the Oprah diabetic episode. At first I was thinking hey maybe this will show the world what both sides are like. Yes type 2 is more common but can be reverse. If only it was that easy for us type 1's. Although seeing that lady on dialysis makes me want to continue doing the good job and even better control than I have. Oprah needs to have a full episode dealing on type one diabetes so everyone can undertsand how it is to be us (type 1's).

Kerri,

My girlfriend e-mailed you earlier today about the show. After reading your post, I've linked to it on my Facebook page, asking my friends to send a message to Oprah about how wrong she was with her show last night.

Thank you for posting this, and I hope that someone over at Harpo Productions sees all this, takes it seriously and issues an apology.

Again, thanks for taking the time to construct a thoughtful, well-written message to Ms. Winfrey, who with all the power she wields, should really know better.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you. I didn't see the episode, but I get the general idea and I hope you (and we) are heard.

Excellent blog Kerri! Bravo!

In my opinion, they should have two separate shows - one for type 1 & one for type 2.

My bro has 1 and I have 2.

I, too, had high hopes about the Oprah special and I was so disappointed, frustrated and angry by the time they reached the first commercial break . . . Glad to know I wasn't alone.

X's and O's to you! Worded beautifully!

Kerri, I read your blog every day because my father is a T2. I usually find your writing to be very informative; however, your blog today I find to be frankly very self righteous and overly sensitive. Dr Oz stated that the show's focus would mostly be on T2. The current health crisis of obesity is what is driving the huge surge in T2.

The T1 that Dr Oz interviewed admitted that she didn't always take the best care of herself and she accepted her current consequences.

And Dr Oz never said T1 is reversible. He said that 90% of the time T2 is reversible.

Finally the anger I'm gleaning from the other responses is disturbing. I sense a competition that is confusing.

Pug Girl - I'm glad you felt comfortable enough to tell me what you thought, and I totally respect your opinions. My frustration with this episode is borne from the fear that people lump all kinds of diabetes in together, and that people, as a whole, don't view diabetes, as a whole, "worth curing."

For me, I am so tired of that mentality. Diabetes is a disease, not a preference, and I want to see it eradicated on all sides. But I want to make sure that society understands that curing one doesn't necessarily cure the other. And with such a focus on type 2 in mainstream media, my fear is that people with type 1 will be swept under the rug.

(But overly-sensitive? That's definitely true. I'm pretty pregnant, pretty emotional, and often stirred up these days. Feel bad for my husband! :) )

Right on, Kerri!

Also, on another note . . . you are quite an inspiration chronicling your pregnancy. I actually always grew up thinking I would never be able to have children because of my disease. I was obviously WRONG!! Thanks for sharing. I really enjoy reading your blog.

I'm sorry, but I have to humbly disagree with you all. The purpose of Oprah's show was:

1. Showing what can happen if you are type 1 and do not take care of yourself and the consequences (the nurse).

2. The african americans who are in denial about diabetes--a little sugar--and what the consequences of that entails.

3. The 6 million people who have diabetes and do not know it.

Did anyone here who has diabetes go to Walgreens today and get your finger pricked. Of course not. The show was not talking about us, the people who struggle, but are living great lives with diabetes, not the challenges with the health care system for patients with diabetes, not why more children than ever before are getting diabetes. There are so many aspects to this disease that Oprah would probably need a week of shows to touch base on everything. I'm writing Oprah, but to ask her to do another show about other aspects of diabetes and I hope some of you will too. Thank you.

Hutch - You don't need to disagree humbly. You can give your opinion openly. :)

I did not watch the show because I knew it would piss me off, but it seems obvious to me from reading blog posts and comments that Oprah failed to state the purpose of her show in a succinct and clear manner. That is what is causing so much anger and confusion in the greater diabetes community.

From Hudson's and Hutch's comments, I'm getting the idea that the show was supposed to focus on diabetes in the African American community and the lack of education and support for diabetics (diagnosed and undiagnosed) therein. I don't think most of us (white, middle class) Type Is have any idea what we are talking about when it comes to diabetes in that arena, so I'm backing off from any outrage on the images presented on the show. It's a shame that Oprah presented her topic so badly, because it really needs to be addressed.

For what it is worth, I absolutely agree with Kerri that misinformation is dangerous and damaging to cure research for all types of diabetes. Type II is poorly understood and portrayed -- the fact that media doctors are always saying it can be reversed is laughable...diet and treadmills are not a cure! Obesity is not the cause of Type II! DUH people! Type I and autoimmune disease in general is even more obscure despite skyrocketing levels of these diseases...so we've got to keep harping on these people to get it right when they decide to do a P.S.A., because they are doing us all a great disservice no matter what kind of diabetes we are trying to manage.

I was a member in the audience for the Oprah taping. I found the show to be educational about type 2 diabetes. I hope that the show helped the type 2 community to be proactive in their care for the disease. I didn't like that the show mixed type 1 and type 2 messages...however, I am diabetic so I was able to understand the differences. To a random viewer on tv, they could have gotten confused.

After the taping was over, there was a series of Q & A. A lady in the front row of the audience said that her son was a 15 year old, type 1 diabetic and wasn't taking it seriously. She started crying and said she didn't know how to reach out to. I then stood up, started waving my hands in the air and Oprah called on me. That is when I was able to deliver my personal story of growing up with type 1 diabetes and the isolation I went through. My personal story can be found here, http://www.jimmyinsulin.org/st.html

I recently started a non profit organization called Jimmy Insulin. I started this organization so that no one has to go through diabetes alone. We provide free 1 on 1 diabetes support.

After the Q & A concluded, I went up to the lady in the front row and reached out to her. I am trying to support her son in taking charge in management of the diabetes. I also reached out to a producer at the show. She said they had such a strong turnout that they are thinking about doing a show focused on type 1 diabetes. I hope they do this. I think it would be great to educate the public on the different aspects that a type 1 diabetic has go through on a daily basis.

I am still in hope that one day there will be a cure...however, until that point I have started an organization to unite the diabetic community in order to remove the isolation and deliver education, support, encouragement, and INSPIRATION.

For those who are saying that Type 2 can be reversed, you are so wrong. Even if I get my numbers to non-diabetic levels, I am still a Type 2 diabetic. I am just a diabetic under tight control. I have my diabetes under control with diet and exercise. Yes, I am very lucky, but I am not cured. See what happens when I eat a burger, fries, and a regular soda - you won't be saying I'm cured. Type 2 is not reversible.

I'm one of those young, normal weight people diagnosed with Type 2. Sometimes genetics sucks!

Type 1 or 2 doesn't matter to me as far as the bond I feel when I hear someone else has diabetes. My 10 yr old daughter's friend and I had a good giggle together when we found out that we carried the same meter. I pray every day for a cure. Honestly I could live with my Type 2 if those I know with Type 1 would be cured! Sending my thoughts and prayers to you all!

I've been Type 1 with NO complications for the past 21 years. If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me if I was going to have to have my foot amputated in the future I'd be RICH. Shame on Oprah.

Thank you for the post. I too hope that Oprah and all of her staff see this. It doesn't surprise me that she had a show that was poorly researched. It wouldn't be her first. Thank you for standing up for the T1 and T2 community. Hopefully she will put you on the show and people can see that, even thought we didn't choose the disease, there are people who manage (with a lot of work) it well.

T1 for 6 years

Kerri:

I've been FUMING for over 24 hours now (not good when you teach SpEd Kindergarten and you have to keep it together AND try to keep the BS in check...)

I was originally Dx'ed as T2 simply because I am heavier. Based on my symptom set for the period before diagnosis (all classic T1 onset signs) I have demanded a c-peptide and am now shopping for a new endo because "heavy 30 year olds only have T2" Yeah, not so much. Meds never worked, only insulin did.

So having been on both sides of the D mental fence, I was horrified and livid by the misinformation spread about BOTH types.

I jokingly last week put a picture of Oprah on my facebook as my "doppleganger" and removed it in a fit of rage.

And my reason for this whole diatribe is to ask if you'd mind if I linked this to my FB where people asked WHY I was upset with Oprah and Oz. You said it better than I ever could have.

Leigh

I couldn't put my finger on why I didn't like the show. It just wasn't organized well, overall, and left me feeling YUCK. You were better able to articulate your feelings---horray for you.

Back in November or Dec., Dr. Oz did a show on Diabetes. Newly diagnosed with Type I this past year at the age of 38, I was thrilled to see a show dedicated to diabetes. Not once during the whole episode did Dr. Oz mention Type 1... I was shocked and disappointed and wrote in to express my frustration.

I can't blame people for not knowing more about Type 1 (before my diagnosis, I knew NOTHING), but find it discouraging to hear the "you must have eaten a lot of sugar when you were a kid" comments over and over. Oprah and Dr. Oz have the voice to educate and yet, it seems like even they lack the fundamentals.
Anyway, thanks for the heads up on the show! (And for writing Oprah, I think I'll do the same!)

I wanted to mention one more thing. I feel like while feeling outraged about constantly having the media lump "diabetes" as a whole, it goes so far beyond that. I am a talent agent in NYC. I cannot tell you how many times we work on commercials for any number of diabetes products. Most of the auditions are for products that type1's or type2's, people with gestational diabetes or all three use. But when they are looking for actors to be the "diabetics" the specs are almost always the same:
adults in their 40's+ who are overweight.
The face of diabetes is a big blur because even the companies that are paying for the commercials are they,themselves contributing to the idea that there is one "Diabetes."
Maybe we should be insisting that the commercials selling meters, insulin, pills or the like, are more clear too.I am happy to see that in the last few years things have gotten better. Last week I worked on a spot for a meter and they were casting real diabetics with type1 and real diabetics with type 2. It was nice.
And to those of you who are type 2, I apologize ahead of time because what I have been feeling for the last 2 years is unfair to you. But, since we can clearly be candid here, I want to take that opportunity.
I hurt my back a few years ago and have subsequently gained a lot of weight. Actually, around 60 pounds.
The other day, I caught myself talking to a client about my pump. I quickly went on to say, "I have been a type 1 diabetic since i was 7... I was diabetic before I was fat, my weight didn't cause my diabetes."
That is unfair. That is my diabetic guilt. I have become so fearful that people will think if I lost weight I would not be diabetic- Or at least people I have met after I gained this weight. I somehow feel it necessary to explain that my diabetes isn't my fault. And I guess that implies that those with type 2 are at fault. The more the media carelessly throws the word "Diabetes" around, the more I fear I won't get the funding I need as a type 1. It sounds so selfish, I know. And it is. But, I never knew how divisive my feelings are until now.
We both need to work together to teach the public and the media that we are different and each deserves research and funding. Period.

Thanks Kerri my mother is a diabetic. 4 generations in a row in my family have it. She was so mad about this show and I told her what your doing. I think ill write Oprah a letter also.

Kerri (SixUntilMe),

Thank you so much for investing the time to write this excellent post. It's right on the money IMO.

Jeff (V6Shell)
w/ Type 1 Diabetes for 25 years & Counting!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you X a million! I didn't see the show but I would have been yelling at the t.v. and pissed off for days and months and possibly years! Thanks for the link, I also wrote in about this! I also may be in love with you! JK! Thanks again!

I forgot to say that I would like to copy this letter to my facebook!

Thank you so much for this letter. Very well said.

My 13 year old son has Type 1 Diabetes, and it is most certainly NOT his fault.

Hey Kerri,

I recently started reading your blog and absolutely LOVE it!!!! Thank you for your inspiration! I have to tell you that I live in Chicago and received an email that Oprah was having this show and I was offered tickets to go. I went hesitently because I'm not a fan of Oprah and had a feeling it was going to only touch on type II. The second I got there and looked around, I knew immediately, it was going to be AWFUL and a COMPLETE MESS and it was! I knew a lot of people in the audience who are Type I and you could just feel how appaulled we felt and just shamed. I felt like the step child and I completely agree that Dr. Oz did not explain the two different types at all. He skipped right over it!!! During the taping, you could tell Oprah was irritated by the church ladies and their hats more than anything and didn't really care about the topic of the show. It was a disappointment and of course it validated how much I don't like Oprah and what she and her crew decide to edit to inform and educate the world on such a vital topic that affects our lives everyday!

Thank you Kerri for including the link. When I first heard that this show was going to be on, I was hoping that it would be done right. I'm pissed that it is just another piece of crap piece done on diabetes.

Amen Sister, Amen!

Very well written and stated. It is a shame that a person such as Oprah, who so many look up to, would spread such misinformation to the public. I hope she will take note of the adverse reaction to her show and do another show and make it a much better and more accurate one!

Kerri-
Very good job on articulating my feelings and the feelings of the T1 community in general. I have had dm-1 for 12 yrs and have been a CDE for 6 yrs and felt this show did more harm than good as far as sorting fact from ficktion. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

A friend posted this on face book and I just had to comment. I thought the show was clear about the two kinds of diebetes. The epidemic is with type 2 and that is why they focussed so heavily on that kind. Losing weight and eating right will make a difference and that is such an important thing to get through people's heads. I don't understand your anger, and I don't see what the problem is. Dr Oz wanted to "show" people how this "feels" and that is why he used the lady with type 1. If type 2 goes untreated long enough, those people will also have the same outcome. If thought the episode was well done and covered the main points accurately. You can not prevent type 1 but you sure can prevent type 2.

Actually i see this story completely different. This is sadly a publicity stunt. Entertainers use "causes" to stay in the public eye. Like her show "Oprahs big give" There is no need for diabetes awarness at all. The FDA and food industry who give the poison that passes as food are to blame. The pancreas of the people have been destroyed. The pillmakers get rich. Thaanks but say NO to Oprah's publicity stunt

After watching the show i was confused and upset. Thank you for clearing it up. I completely agree with you.

Colette, you can't always prevent Type 2 diabetes. Feel free to look at my comment above. I'm under 40 and normal weight, but I have Type 2 diabetes. What could I have done to prevent this from happening to me? I would love to know since my children have a family history on both sides so genetics is working against them in a major way.

Scott,
As a type 1 diabetic, for 27 years and counting, my beta cells stopped working at age seven. Food did not "destroy my pancreas."
Would you please clarify? Maybe I misunderstood your post.
Amy

Personally, I think the concept of "fault" is unhelpful when discussing diabetes. You should, of course, take personal responsibility for your own health and your own choices. However, when you make less-than-optimal choices from time to time - as we all do - using the language of blame and shame just makes people feel bad and drives behaviors underground. It does nothing to create positive change, and fails to recognize individual human experiences.

The truth is that people arrive at a diagnosis of T2 diabetes by all different routes. Are people who overeat or don't exercise or make poor dietary choices and who develop diabetes more deserving of scorn or judgment than people who overeat or don't exercise or make poor dietary choices and *don't* develop diabetes? The point is that the personal choices are the same, but the genetic component is different. Why does it make sense to blame people for having a different genetic makeup?

Focusing on blame and guilt just drives a wedge between people and perpetuates stereotypes. It fuels unjustified animosity between the general public and people with diabetes, and between Type I and Type II. Why should this community, full of people who are best situated to empathize and educate, get caught up in the ridiculous, media-fueled debate over who "deserves" diabetes. The answer is clear: no one.

Dr. Oz had Carnie Wilson on his show yesterday (2/5). He put her in the "Truth tube" and when she wasn't too shaken by her weight or waistline, he checked her blood glucose with a finger prick. He then dramatically proclaimed (and I quote) "You're blood sugar is 100, you're borderline diabetic" (no mention of whether or not she was fasting, had eaten recently...)
Maybe she is, maybe she isn't, but for the ignorant viewer, this is scary stuff.
And to think my daughter (T1, age 8) and I celebrate each time she gets a perfect 100.

Stop the sensationalism!

I didn't watch this, but I'm glad I didn't. Raging...
My son was diagnosed at twenty months old. How in the heck could his lack of "taking care of himself" done this????? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

February 4th was 7 years and counting.

The day-to-day life of the typical diabetic is just not sensational enough for network TV. Didn't watch the episode - don't plan to.

Well said.

I have let the good'ole Oprah show know my feelings too about how they showcased this disease.

I do applaud them for finally covering Diabetes, however a wee bit more effort was really needed on how they made T1's look.

Kerri,

Awesome letter. I read your blog all the time, and I wanted you to know that although I don't have type I diabetes, that I know the differences between the two types, in large part due to what I've learned on your blog. I'm also 30 and have my own congenital heart conditions, and I think part of the reason I love your blog is I love your outlook on life, food, and what it's like to have something wrong with my health that I had no control over getting. So thank you for what you do.

You also give me hope that someday I will find a Chris in my life. And I'm rooting for you and BSparl!

Melissa

i see that a lot of diabetics are checking in here. wonderful, you've been diagnosed and receiving treatment and etc....

as an awareness campaign, though, i think that oprah did a wonderful job. a. every single hypochondriac is going to talk to their doctor, b. discussion is created between those living with diabetes and those who don't have it yet, c. diet and health are a factor for some diabetes victims so maybe they'll change their diet or get off their fat asses, d. people are seeking out RELIABLE and AUTHENTIC medical information on the interwebs instead of trusting oprah's medical advice.

/sarcasm off

would you rather oprah and dr. oz never bring up the topic of diabetes in the first place? and who the f trusts daytime dramatv for authentic medical advice?

contact her producers if you want more accurate and in-depth information on the oprah soap opera. or, better yet, change the channel and watch something else, like pbs.

To the person who wrote this post. You are telling people to watch something else if they didn't like what was said on oprah.. well then if you don't like the complaint, don't post on this!

(would you rather oprah and dr. oz never bring up the topic of diabetes in the first place? and who the f trusts daytime dramatv for authentic medical advice?

contact her producers if you want more accurate and in-depth information on the oprah soap opera. or, better yet, change the channel and watch something else, like pbs.)

Ok, for those of you who think the show was good/helpful and don't understand others frustration/disappointment with this show... Granted type 2 is an epidemic, primarily due to obesity and poor eating habits... Fine I'll give you that. However, being an RD/CDE, I have several patients who are type 2 and NOT overweight in the least. We need to stop blaming and shaming the patients and help them learn to manage their disease. No one wants to be obese and certainly no one wants to have diabetes so have a little sympathy please. As far as Oprah's show the fact that those of you who didn't find this show disappointing shows your lack of knowledge of the facts. Type 2 is NOT always reversable- not even close to the 90% of the time Dr. OZ stated. By the time fasting blood sugars are elevated enough to diagnose type 2 the person is already at 50% reduction in beta cell function. I have several dm-2 patients who've worked hard to lose weight but still have to take insulin or oral meds. The purpose of diabetes self-management is NOT to get off medicine b/c that is NOT a realistic goal for everyone and in fact not realistic for most. But, what is realistic is trying to help the person with diabetes live the best life they can given the circumstances they have to deal with. And if Oprah's going to do a show about diabetes... they should at least be able to accurately explain the difference between the 2 types of diabetes (maybe even add a gestational diabetes too) which the show DID NOT do. The only good thing that came out of this show is that it got people taking about diabetes and brought awareness to the fact that diabetes is serious.

Thank you Kerri! This has always made me mad about shows on diabetes. We are not all the same and type 1 diabetics don't have a way to prevent our disease.

Thank you again, 25 years and counting.

Kellie

Thank you Karen for your comments. The information you just gave is exactly why it was so negligent on the part of Oprah and her producers to not include an endo or CDE on the show.

Thanks to Kerri for bringing this to my attention because I make a point not to watch the Oprah show.

Sue, my dad has type 2 diabetes as well and is very thin. He drank tons of Coke all his life and ate huge portions. If he did not drink so much soda, I'm sure he wouldn't be where he is today. As for preventing it, you can. This is the one epidemic that is our own fault. Today portions are so huge and there is so much added sugar in everything. Our bodies can not handle all that. You, like my dad, are the exception to the rule of the typical type 2 group, but like him, you may look back and see how you may have gotten this.

Kerri,

I am the mother of a 9 year old T1 girl.

Thank you so much for voicing this. I too watched the Oprah show frustrated to no end after looking forward to it. I sent along my comments to Oprah, asked them to do more to explain, especially concerned with the definitions Dr. Oz presented. Thank you for bringing this to our attention!

I love your posts. Thanks so much for all you do!

Amen. Thanks Kerri. I just cried for frustration after experiencing that show. Just thinking about the JUDGMENT I will be under because of the misinformation makes me want to cry even more. Sigh... at least we know the truth.

Hi Kerri,

Michael Hoskins sent me over to your blog after he read my blog entry on the Oprah show. Thank you so much for giving voice to the topic, and I completely agree with you. You said it perfectly!

I plan to also write Oprah. The show was quite hurtful; I felt slighted.

But I'm also taking the whole experience as an inspirational wake-up call. Why did this show bother me so much? What can I learn about myself through the process?

I'd love to cross-link with you and hear more about you as a blogger. I just started blogging a few months ago and would love to learn!!!!

Best wishes,
Ophir

http://theconsciousdiabetic.blogspot.com

Thankyou for commenting and expressing your concerns with regards to that episode.

I only watched a bit of that episode and was out-raged and gut wrenched that Oprah dared to have that episode on national television. I was not able to finish watching I was so ticked off. You have put into words how I feel eveytime type 1 and 2 are talked about as the same disease.

Thankyou for speaking for the diabetes community.

Type 1-6 years & couting!

I actually saw this after already emailing Oprah and venting about it. I am so upset about this. I had a little more faith in Oprah. I am just so hurt.

Thank you Kerri for all that you do. I had several friends tell me about how Oprah was airing such an episode, but I didn't watch because deep down I knew how it would pan out - and it would just frustrate me.

Unfortunately, people with large followings are frequently confused as being subject matter experts.

Keep up the great work!!

Kerri,

as always you are right on. I was so upset after watching the show thinking that no one around me will understand what my daughter`s diagnosis means.
Thank you for your post.
And I have not had a chance yet to congratulate you and your husband on your pregnancy, I`m very excited for you, good luck with everything !

I had very similar thoughts when I watched this episode and I was so glad to see that you wrote about them. I think it is so important for people to know the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 and I think Oprah missed a great opportunity to educate people!

I shared the link to this post on my Facebook page so my friends and family will know that the message behind this episode was tainted and they should seek more information elsewhere.

Thank you Kerri. I used your link and wrote this to Oprah

Re: "Diabetes: America's Silent Killer." My first article on The Huffington Post, "Oprah Takes On Diabetes - I Still Have a Request" was on this program. As someone living with type 1 diabetes before I saw the program I was thrilled that Oprah was shining her light on diabetes. My article focused on this, and contained a plea for a follow up show on behavioral change - the lynchpin to getting millions of Americans with type 2 diabetes to adopt healthier habits. My second post, going up today, is an open letter to Oprah that I drafted immediately afterward, that a follow up show be empowering, not fear-mongering, to help people manage their diabetes.

Personally, I like most in the type 1 community, are frankly stunned at the fear-mongering and the casual lumping together of type 1s and type 2s, the appearance given that type 1 is due to obesity, like type 2 and that we will end up like Lauren.

For the 2 million type 1s who live with daily insulin injections and for many ten times a day blood pricks, due to an auto-immune condition we could not have prevented, we are horrified at how poorly type 1 was portrayed and how confusing it must be to the general public. We who fear 'dead-in-bed' syndrome, dying in the night due to hypoglycemia, and the parents who fear it for their children, we who must measure our blood sugar 'round the clock and deal with intensive management of a chronic illness, we live in a world where no one notices us, and, we have been once again made invisible, and worse, portrayed as if we are ignorant and lazy.

I am equally shocked that Dr. Oz, someone I've long admired, was so offhand with his statements to give the general public many confusing notions and half true statements. Certainly we type 1s cannot reverse our diabetes. If Dr. Oz needs to separate fact from fiction he can read my book, "50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life and the 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It." Lastly, I cannot understand why was there not a single diabetes practitioner on the program.

In my posts on The Huffington Post I will focus on what we can do to help more patients and the general public better understand and improve their diabetes management. In my heart, you have greatly disappointed.

As a certified diabetes educator, I too was dismayed with how Oprah Show presented diabetes. Aside from the fact that I'm fairly certain the American Heart Association has already claimed Hypertension as The Silent Killer! Thank you for sharing your views. Hopefully if the show's producers hear us, they will follow-up with more accurate information.

Good job Kerri!

I fired off a little note to Oprah - hell hath no fury like the grandmother of an 8 yr old precious granddaughter, who is also type 1!

Be expecting a phone call from Miss Oprah herself - I won't be surprised to see you as a guest on her show - maybe after B Sparl is here and settled in??

Love you as always!!!

Donna Longenecker

It's a tragedy that people will never be properly educated about type 1 diabetes when the media and even doctors can't get their facts straight.

Thank you for your voice in the diabetic community, Kerri! This was fantastic!

I was in the audience for the "diabetes" show and it was very interesting. First, they provided a box lunch for everyone at about 11:00am, I hate eating lunch that early. Second, the boxed lunch was about 95-110 grams of carbs, no labels. Third, both my mother and I are type one and she was scared to take insulin. I told her take your insulin, who cares, we are all diabetics. Boy was I wrong one guy stared at my mom and said "Ooohhh you must have it bad". I stopped him and explained that we had type one diabetes and that we have to take insulin.

Then came the show, the big time. I might get to be seen on TV, alas I was not but oh well. The show very much had a blame the person mentality. Dr. Oz always talks about eating whole grains and avoiding white foods. Yes, I try to do this, but why wasn't there even a mention of the lack of adequate grocery stores in low income neighborhoods related to the type two epidemic. When a person has to buy food from a store that is surround in bullet proof glass, the healthy options are limited. When I lived in Little Village (a low income primarily Latino neighborhood in Chicago) grocery stores were hard to find. Corner markets were everywhere. Luckily I had a car and I was able to make the trek to get my groceries. People eat so poorly because of a lack of access to quality fresh food, they don't exercise much because they live in dangerous neighborhoods, this leads to depression, and eventually type two diabetes. Instead they took the easy way out and blamed the victims.

The show was more frustrating than it was helpful in my opinion. Diabetes is not a choice! I hate being lumped into the same category as type two diabetics, it is hard to explain this to people. Oprah and Dr. Oz missed a big point about why type 2 diabetes is such an epidemic in low income communities. She should have had a public health expert and an urban planner on the show to talk about those needs.

Oprah if you read this I am issuing a challenge. Do a comprehensive show about type one diabetes. Don't blame the victims, rather look for solutions to the epidemic.

Thank you such an enlightening blog entry Kerri! As a mother of a Type 1 diabetic I welcome any information out there. Not too many people really know the difference between the two types. I have told my daughter to check out your blog. Thank you!

Well said Kerri! My daughter is 13 and was diagnosed at age 9 with Type 1. I was speechless when I was watching that show and humilated.. I was in a hair salon at the time in the waiting area with a friend and I was outraged and hoping that my daughter wasn't home watching the program as well. Your right Type 1's have enough to go through with out dealing with uneducated people who think they know what they are talking about.

Thank you, thank you for the wonderful letter. I used your link to the Oprah Show to submit my opinion.
Holly
(7 year old son was dx'd at 15 months old and husband at 14 years old)

Great responses. I was also very confused when he first showed the woman, but I guess his point was that she did not handle her insulin well. But it just created more confusion!

An additional note about the frustration from T1's wanting to separate the two or "sibling rivalry." I have had T1 for 27 years, diagnosed at age 12 - and unless you live Type 1, it is extremely difficult to convey that no matter how positive and proactive you are - it is a daily beat down. Every day.

You accumulate a lifetime of deflecting ignorance and horrible stories - 2 personal examples, "diabetics can't eat ham", "my aunt had that, she went blind, then had to have her leg amputated. She died when she was 32." In pre-web days, you had to go to diabetes camp to meet others like you. You had to walk out of class every day 30 minutes before everyone else to drain your bladder so you could do a double void urine test. That is just awesome in high school.

In college, you make the choice whether to leave the syringes in the glove box when you go out with your buddies, or just take a vacation for a few hours and load up when you get home.

You stay in great shape, but the penalty is that the long acting insulin your doctor has you take at bedtime peaks at 4 am and you wake up in the 30's and just hope you make those last few steps to the kitchen before it all goes black.

You know one other guy in your college classes that is a T1. He doesn't show up for class one day. You find out he didn't make it to the kitchen in time the night before and 2 days later you are at his funeral wondering when your number is coming up.

You get molested at airport security every time you fly. You get accused of being drunk, grumpy...you break out in a sweat in a cold conference room during an important meeting because, although you have your insulin to carb ratio down to a science - it just doesn't work that day and gets a big WTH? look from the people who are not aware - not to mention it drains your energy and you are bonked out.

It creates an opportunity to educate others, but then everyone is hyper vigilant about what "the diabetic guy at work eats"....and you start getting the "can't eat ham" stuff.

Now, lather, rinse and repeat with about 100 other variations on the advice, the setting of the random low blood sugar, throw in the medical bill fights - did I mention you have to show up to the fight every day??? You may not fight the best each day but should you decide to just "no show" for about 3 or 4 days because you don't feel like it, you will likely be in a coma.

Accumulate a lifetime of experiences like that and watch an entire generation of people get progressively less active and kids getting type 2 - and you have every damn right to want to be different!!! You have to work to stay alive. It's like a part time job you are forced to take but can never quit.

Kids with Type 2 is like a 10 year olds having heart attacks. People should be scared to death when they see that. That is a societal problem as a whole.

Do you think Lance Armstrong and the pack a day for 50 years smoker have the same cancer? Note to Type 2's - I'm not blanketing you with that because there are also ignorant stereotypes that affect you as well.

My point is, most of the information - and Type 1's are very acutely aware of it - is a broad general comparison like that. Both cancers are horrible, both types of diabetes are horrible - but there are extreme variations on what causes or contributes to it.

When people like Oprah feed the unsure masses with this perpetuating crap and we have to work every day just to stay alive on our end of the spectrum, it is frustrating And we see an increasing prevalence on the other end - and the far end on the other side is someone who could make life style changes but you see them come back from lunch very day with a biggie size fast food meal and they are over 400 lbs, it is hard to contain it.

I worked at a place like that - had at least 10 people in excess of 400 lbs. One of them, a Type 2 told me, "it must be nice to have a high metabolism" as she huffed and puffed her way back to her desk.

Just as the smoker takes a draw of his cigarette and says to Lance, it must be nice to be fast on a bike.

"Gee, Oprah it must be nice to be rich and famous. I wish I had rich parents." She would knock your ass out.

To take that a step further, do you think there were some Endocrinologists that were a bit upset?? In essence Oprah was on one far end of the spectrum while an Endocrinologist is on the other. But instead of cancer or diabetes being the common term, the scale is "Medical Expert."

I sat in a boardroom with an executive of a big Pharma company in Switzerland 5 years ago. I asked what they had on the horizon for Type 1's, specifically "closing the loop" on the CGMS/Pump. He said, "We are really focused only on developing Type 2 drugs because as a business, the market is huge." (no pun intended) Go through 22 years of fighting the battle, get excited because you are going to visit this big pharma company and may get to hear about exciting new research - only to get a kick in the crotch like that and it will make you question the word "hope"

If it weren't for top notch organizations like JDRF keeping Type 1 research at the forefront, that light at the end of the tunnel would still be far away.

PS - I have used the Lance vs. pack a day smoker for the past couple of years just to give people a frame of reference, a scale of sorts. I think it all started about the time Halle Berry claimed she cured her type 1 through diet and exercise.

Diabetes is hard. Every day. Taking care of my diabetes has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done and it will probably be the hardest thing that I will ever do. Every day, even if I do everything right, there are a million things that can go wrong-Waiters who don’t care that I ordered diet pop, airplanes that sit on the runway that don’t go anywhere but won’t open their doors, company lunches at restaurants with no nutritional menus, trips with children to the emergency room, traffic jams, movie theaters and sporting events where I’m not allowed to take food or drink, lines at the DMV…and then there’s all the things that I could have prevented if only I’d tried a little harder, all the bottles of insulin fumbled and dropped on concrete floors, dead batteries in my meter that I should have replaced but forgot to, falling asleep before taking night time insulin, not packing enough glucose tabs, accidentally taking insulin twice because the kids were fighting over the last piece of pizza at dinner, and my all time favorite…God forgive me...I was happy and I just plain forgot.

I was really upset the other day by a healthy person telling me (of course not directly, but by virtue of some story about one of their friends or relatives) how they could do so much better than me at managing diabetes. Seriously, diabetes aside I doubt, even as a healthy person they could do all the things required of a diabetic, day in and day out, every morning, every meal, every bedtime, without fail- that they could do everything exactly on time, in exactly the same way, consistently, without deviation, every minute of every day for the rest of their lives, despite the fact that some days they might be tired, or have the flu, and especially never mind the fact that being diabetic, we are NOT healthy. We are chronically ill. We have a disease that waits for us to forget, to make a mistake and it never rests. It waits for us to look away, to drop the ball, to relax, to be human, and it makes us pay- In the short term with disorientation, loss of consciousness, or even comas, and in the long term with our feet, our eyes, our kidneys and eventually our lives.

Despite this, I have not let diabetes stop me. Since I’ve been diagnosed I have gotten married, graduated from college, worked at NASA, had two healthy children, battled cancer, and lived my life, and even though I fight this disease every day with everything I've got, I have had to accept the fact that unless I get run over by a bus diabetes will kill me.

It is hard, and the ignorance of people like Oprah has made it a lot harder for all of us who struggle to come to terms with the fact no matter how good we are, no matter how perfect we will still be criticized by those who have no idea what having this disease (type ONE diabetes) is like, and they continue to tell us we could do so much more to be a “better diabetic”

Oprah needs to get a clue, and get over herself. She has no idea.

I didn't see the show, and now am less inclined to do so.

As a T2, I have a hard time hearing that I brought this on myself. Maybe I did, maybe I didn't - there is no comprehensive test to determine *why* I have developed it, and with both biological parents T2, plus two grandparents, ...who can say that maybe, just maybe, I am predisposed to this. Maybe I had it earlier, when I was underweight at 110 lbs and struggling to keep my sugar levels balanced, passing out from sugar crashes,...but because I was "skinny" no one bothered to test me. Oh - and some expert doctor please explain to me why my husband, who is 50 lbs overweight *doesn't* have diabetes, if all that causes it is being fat. Explain why my father developed it at 30 as an underweight male.

I am slightly disturbed by the division that seems to be setting up between the T1s and the T2s. I wouldn't wish T1 on anyone, because I understand how difficult it is for me to manage T2 and cannot imagine dealing with T1 daily.

Lumping the two types together is dangerous. But seriously, telling people to "just lose weight, exercise more and watch what you eat" is just as damaging. TRY loosing weight as a insulin resistant, T2...just TRY it....and then come back to me and tell me how easy it was....

Great letter, I didn't see the show which is probably a good thing since my letter to Oprah would not have been written so well. I have two children with type 1, both diagnosed before their second birthday and this disease needs awareness. I am so tired of peolpe asking me if I fed then too much sugar, ate too much sugar while pregnant or what I did to cause this. The only other thing besides this letter I have found online that amply describes how I feel is this hilarious video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFIVVHQod5o

Yep. If I had a penny for every time I said to someone - I have diabetes - and they said - but you're so skinny - I would probably have enough money to buy all the dexcom sensors I will ever need....

24 Yo, type 1 since age 18...

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