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D-Blog Day: Six Things on SixUntilMe.

D-Blog Day 2010:  SUM EditionIt's Diabetes Month.  And it's D-Blog Day (thanks, Gina!).  This year, the online collective is talking about the six things they wish people knew about diabetes.  I know we, as part of this community, know an awful lot, but I wanted to write this for the people who might just stumble onto this post arbitrarily.  Because we talk a lot to one another within our community, but we need to bring awareness outside of this bubble. 

Here are my six things that I wish society knew about diabetes:

There is more than one kind of diabetes.  This isn't a knock on my type 2 and gestational diabetes friends, but definitely a knock on society's perceptions at large.  People have one musty, old perception of what diabetes looks like, and it's always someone older, heavier, and lazy.  Wouldn't they be surprised to meet our fit type 2 friends, or the 20 year old gestational diabetic?  Or a "juvenile diabetic" who isn't eight years old?  Diabetes doesn't have "a look."  This disease does not discriminate.

Diabetes affects more than just the person playing host to it. I am the one wearing and insulin pump, a continuous glucose monitor, and actually feeling these blood sugar highs and lows.  But I'm not the only one affected by diabetes.  My parents had to care for me when I was young, acting as my pancreas.  My friends have been affected by my lows and highs while we're hanging out, sometimes forced to jump the bar and accost the bartender for orange juice.  (True story.)  And my husband has taken on this disease as his own as best he can, making it such an integrated part of our life together that I don't feel alone.  Diabetes isn't just mine.  It belongs to everyone who cares about me.

Diabetes isn't just a physiological disease.  It's an emotional one, too. It's not just a question of blood sugar levels and insulin supplementation.  It's about managing the emotions that come as part of life with a chronic illness.  It's about the guilt of complications.  The pressure to control an uncontrollable disease.  The hope that tomorrow will come without incident.  I feel that the emotional aspects of diabetes need to be attended to with the same care and diligence as an A1C level.  Maybe more so, because life needs to be happy, whether it's a short life or a very long one.

Diabetes isn't easy.
  We just make it look that way sometimes.  Some of the perceptions that the general public has is that diabetes is easy to handle.  "You just wear the pump, test your blood sugar, and watch your diet and you'll be fine, right?"  Wrong.  You can do the exact same thing every day and still see varying diabetes outcomes.  It's never all figured out.  Diabetes is a daily dance of numbers and emotions and even though we, as a community, make it look easy sometimes, it sure isn't.   

No diabetes is the same. Even within a community of diabetics, there are still widely varying ways of treating diabetes and even more ways of dealing with the emotional aspects.  There's no winning combination and no "right" way to deal with this disease.  Being on a pump means you use a pump to infuse your insulin - this doesn't necessarily mean you are taking better care of yourself than the person who opts for injections.  Low-carb doesn't work for everyone, and neither do certain medications.  Your diabetes may vary (thanks, Bennet), and what works for you may not work for everyone.   It's important to remember that this disease doesn't have a predictable path, so there are plenty of "right' ways to handle it.

Just because we don't look sick doesn't mean we don't deserve a cure.  That statement sums it up for me.  We might make it look easy, but it isn't.  There's no rhyme or reason to this disease, and even with the best care and the best intentions, complications can sometimes still come calling.  And their effects are devastating.  Diabetes, of all kinds, deserves a cure.  No one asked for any of this.  We deserve better than society thinking that diabetes isn't worth their attention.  We deserve a cure.

Happy D-Blog Day to my fellow PWDs and caregivers.  You guys make this whole mess so much easier to deal with.  Thanks for being there!

Comments

Thanks for the tears!

Good grief, the emotional side! Last night I bawled because I couldn't get below 200 mg/dL for over 3 hours and it made me feel like such a failure. I can't believe how much diabetes has messed with my self-esteem.

I just need to remember that one bad day doesn't result in a bad life. Marathon, not a sprint, right?

Oh and avocados, yo!

Thanks for the tears!

Kerri,
Thank you for the truthful, articulate and positive perspective on this crazy, wicked hard and uncontrollable disease.

great article--you covered everything beautifully. Thank you.

Awesome, awesome AWESOME! Thank you for this so much!

This is a brilliant post. I love it. I am going to send it everyone so that they too might begin to understand, you sum it up so well.

Thank you.

What a great list. You perfectly SUM-med up what many of us feel and think.

I love what Holly said in the comments above about it being a marathon and not a sprint.

Thank you!

As always, you know how to say exactly what needs to be said. :)

Once again, I think Holly and I must share a brain. The emotional side is what totally struck me about your Six. I'm, for the most part, a person very in control of my emotions, but sometimes the 'betes just gives me an emotional beating. I usually end up in anger rather than tears, but seriously, this life is an emotional roller coaster.

Word up! I feel like I covered all the kind of dumb diabetes points.

I'm glad everyone else is covering the real stuff!

Well put. The emotional side is just as important as the physical side.

Excellent post! I'm forwarding it to everyone I know.

I wish I could say these were my thoughts exactly, but you said it so much better than I could.

You should put this on a poster. I would hang over my desk to save me trying to explain myself all so often.

I LOVE YOUR LIST! Thanks for taking a moment to mention the people in your life who love you and live with this disease as well.

Excellent post, Kerri! I'm also forwarding it to friends. And hey, we had the same #1!

Nicely done, Kerri. Word, times six.

Thank you so much for this. I printed it out and am hanging it up at my desk at work!

LOVES!

We mentioned some of the same things in ours Kerri.

6 Things You Should Know About Diabetes:

WE HAVE A VOICE. LISTEN.(x6)

Great post, as usual.

This is perfect! I'm sharing this with everyone i know because it's so true. I LOVE #1 because just a few weeks ago a co-worker found out I was type 1 diabetic and I told her I was connected to an insulin pump 24/7 and she was like "wow you must have it really bad then!"

I can identify with so many of these, dude. Great post!

Well done, Kerri. The emotional side of this disease is too often overlooked.

Kerri,

I am a mother to a newly diagnosed daughter. I wanted to participate in Dblog, but don't feel like I know enough yet to come up with 6 reasons.

So, I read lots and lots of posts from wonderful writers like you and 'chose' 6 to share. I loved your #5 reponse, so I used it in my post and linked to you at SUM. I hope you don't mind.

Thank you for all you share!!!

So honking good.

Beautifully said! My husband is the one with diabetes but it truly affects all of us. He is on a pump and has a sensor but today we have seen 43 and right now, 299. It is a never ending balance between lows and highs. Thanks for all you share with us.
Charla

Really well said. Thanks for having a voice for those of us who couldn't articulate our thoughts half as well. I love your blog....for the first time since my diagnosis I feel I've found a community that understands me.

Thanks for this great list Kerri. As a parent of a T1 child, I want you to know how much I appreciate your voice in the DOC.

This is really great. I am going to post a link and send it to my family and friends. Sometimes I think that because so many people have diabetes, people think it is no big deal....but it is, and there are so many aspects of having diabetes.... thanks for a great post!

Well said Kerri. I especially agree with that certain treatments work better for some and not for others. I had bad experience with another type 1 saying my use of a diabetic service dog was not appropriate and i should use a cgms. I did but it missed quite a few lows. I have drastic drops and i found my service dog catches a larger pecentage of my lows. I have gotten myself into too many stick situations with my hypoglycemia unawareness.

Thanks Kerri. I so enjoy reading your blogs. I am one of those odd T1 diabetics and I do get scrutinized. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes with my second pregnancy. Then when my second child was 4 yrs old, I was misdiagnosed with T2 diabetes. The doctor said I was over weight and middle aged. I was 30 yrs old. I got my weight down within a year but the pills that I took were not working. Then the doctor put me on insulin and changed my diagnosis to T1. I gained back my weight and then some over 10 years. So I could not possibly be T1. I was 60 pounds over weight. I have managed to get my weight back down to normal again. Now I am 52 yrs old, I am considered too old to be T1. 22+ years with diabetes with mild neuropathy in my feet. Thanks for your and the diabetes community's posts. In agreement with the above comments. This was great.

Christine

I am the mother of a T1 10 yo girl. We take on her diabetes with her everyday. Thanks for making me cry by writing the things that I have thought many times but could never have found the words to write.

This was great and I hope you don't mind but I shared it on my facebook, gave you credit and even supplied a link! Thanks!

OMG Kerri, you're going to make me cry, too! At first I was just going to comment about, "People have one musty, old perception of what diabetes looks like, and it's always someone older, heavier, and lazy." As you know, I'm very vocal about being Type 2 since I'm the opposite of that. Then I read on... Diabetes also affects my husband, my children, my parents (even though I was almost 38 when diagnosed), etc. I go through many emotional roller coasters about diabetes and I pray every day for a cure. Thank you for putting into words what my heart was feeling!

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