« Miracle Cure. | Main | Time Warp. »

A Dog with a Flappy Hat and a Pipe Can Only Mean One Thing ...

With all the discussion about a name change for type 1 diabetes, I laughed out loud when I saw this pop up in my Twitter feed (courtesy of the Type 1 Diabetes Memes Facebook page).  Serves as an answer anyone in the DOC could give:

Dog with a flappy winter hat and a pipe?  GOLD.

I've thought about the name change discussion, and I've been trying to figure out what my opinion on it is.  You'd think a person who has had type 1 diabetes for a long time would have an opinion, right?  One that jumps out and smacks me in the face with its conviction?  Nope.  I have to be completely honest:  I don't really care if the name is changed.  Or if it's not changed.  I have a surprising amount of apathy about this whole issue. 

My diabetes has been classified, in one file or another, as "brittle."  And "IDDM."  And "juvenile."  And "type 1."  None of these classifications have made the public understand jack about my disease.  It's been the dizzying combination of advocacy groups, patient grassroots efforts, PR efforts, and research advancements (just a few in the long list of contributing factors) that has given society any kind of knowledge about the disease that I have lived with most of my life.

Growing up with type 1 diabetes, I didn't understand that there was a different kind I could have.  I had no concept of type 2 (or NIDDM, at the time) diabetes, or gestational diabetes.  As far as I knew, anyone who had diabetes didn't make any of their own insulin, and they all went to Clara Barton Camp.  If I didn't have diabetes, I wouldn't know much about it.  Isn't that the way things like this work?  I don't have an acute understanding of other health conditions because I'm not managing them on a day-to-day basis, but I do try to have an extra level of respect for people who are dealing with different health issues, regardless of type or origin.  It wasn't until I was older - much older, like in my 20s, that I had a strong understanding of the different types of diabetes, and even now, it's a constant process of learning.  And it wasn't until that same time that I also developed a sense of how society views diabetes - as a disease they think is preventable, and that it's what "fat, lazy people get."

Is this stereotype true, or fair?  No.  But it's what society thinks, and in my opinion, a name change isn't going to immediately peel back that layer of frustrating ignorance.  It's what we all do, as people touched by diabetes either through community or employment or passion ... or a combination of the three, that WILL change society's perception and understanding of diabetes. That's why we have the JDRF, and the ADA, and the Diabetes Online Community, and a lot of et ceteras.

A lot of the posts that have touched on this name-change issue have some very well-thought out opinions on their support of the petition, or lack of support for this petition.  (See Lee Ann, Manny, Amy, Bennet, Wil, Sir Bob, and the comments in the actual petition, for starters.)  I wish I had their strong convictions on this topic.  In my opinion, signing doesn't mean you're embracing an angry and stubborn "us and them" stance, just as not signing doesn't erase decades of stereotypes and misconceptions across the board. We, as a community, have talked about name changes before.  There was a piece on Diabetes Health that tackled the name-change petition, and a commenter on there let loose with a sentence that pretty much summed the whole mess up for me: 

"What we need more than anything else is an understanding in the general public that diabetes is a disease, not a character failure." -  Diabetes Health commenter Don M

Signing the petition will take a few minutes.  Not signing it will take no time at all.  Either way, YOU get to decide what you want to do.  The reason there are so many voices in this community is because so many voices are necessary - diabetes is not the same for any of us, regardless of type, or age, or A1C. The diabetes community is diverse enough and hopefully mature enough to handle this kind of discussion without going so painfully apeshit.

And once you decide to or not to sign a petition, or to give a crap entirely about any of this kind of thing, mark the moment by dancing wildly in your kitchen for twenty minutes, because exercising is something you can do right now to have a positive impact on your diabetes management. How about a petition to make us all exercise our bodies as much as we run our mouths?  :)

Comments

"How about a petition to make us all exercise our bodies as much as we run our mouths?"

Hahahahahaha. This is why I come to your blog first thing in the morning every single day. You do such a great job of putting words to all the emotions I feel as a PWD.

Thanks so much Kerri!

Right on sistah. Well said!

hahahahaha that last line. I'm dying.

it is somewhat frustrating at times that All diabetes is grouped together by most non diabetes educated people
but, like with every other life situation, unless you are in it, you just don't really get it
I like type 1 being named "the bad ass kind" though

I totally agree! I think a lot of diseases have this kind of ambiguity about them (like cancer, for a big one) which can lead people on the outside to say uninformed, unhelpful, hurtful things. My wish would be not for people to have a greater understanding about the differences between types of diabetes but everyone to show more compassion and less know-it-all-y-ness about other people's diseases in general.

So, I don't know how this is going to go over - but - as long as you're living well and doing what you need to do regarding your diabetes - why does it matter what people think or judge or what we call it? Those names are kind of a mouthful anyway. If you're going to call it something else maybe dead pancreasness and not enough or bad handling of insulinness? It's all the same in the end. People still call my diabetes brittle, juvenile, etc. even if I say I'm type 1. I just think there are better things to worry about, I guess. And as a kid, I never even thought of people's weird diabetes comments - other than taking note they were kind of dumb.

Sometimes I think this argument is really an extension of obesity shaming, that Types 1 PWDs want to separate themselves because we'd like the world to know that our 'lifestyle' did not cause our condition.
However, the more we learn about Type 2 PWD, the more we know how strong the genetic components that influence that condition are as well. And we as Type 1s cannot forget the impact that a healthy lifestyle including exercise and diet management has on our health, too.
I also think we shouldn't discount the strength in numbers component: intensive insulin therapy is become a more common treatment for Type 2s as well, and more people using pumps means more insurances will likely extend coverage and more research will be done that affects BOTH types.
I don't want to shame anyone for a health condition, so I'll just keep up my personal diabetes education crusade when people ask about my pump or CGM.

I wasn't aware of this debate--thanks for bringing it to my attention. If changing the name would change the condition--but diabetes by any other name still...stinks.

Nicolep:
I'm okay with calling it Deadbeat Pancreas Syndrome.

That name immediately makes me think of the Chuck Norris posting: http://sixuntilme.com/blog2/2007/10/another_friday_six.html "If Chuck Norris' pancreas stopped working, he'd tell it to get a job."

Kerri, I appreciate your respectful and honest post. I just want to say that we understand that revising the type classifications of T1 & T2 is not a stand-alone solution to any of our problems, but we believe it is a catalyst for much needed change. Giving T1 & T2 more descriptive names will greatly enhance the education process. This is not about removing T1's association with T2. It is about clarity for the two types of D that don't have a real name. Numbers 1&2 tell you nothing, they are not memorable, and they add to the confusion. . Descriptive names will provide much needed clarity that will pave the road for better education and awareness, which in turn will facilitate more effective fundraising towards better treatments and a cure.

Descriptive names in no way mean the two sister forms of D will have any relation different than they currently have. They will still be sisters, but with names upon which our educational campaign can build upon. Awareness has definitely improved over the years, but the confusion and misconceptions regarding BOTH types have increased. I agree with others who say do something- go after the media, educate care givers, etc. These actions will just be so much more effective with names other than 1 & 2.

Revising classification names for both types provides a platform upon which to re-educate- to dispel the misconceptions and stigma surround T2, to explain about all the factors that contribute to insulin resistance, to explain the cause of T1. This will create an opportunity to dispel the myth that diabetes is self-inflicted and can be cured with diet and lifestyle. The name revisions will provide a catalyst for this change and once the public perception is changed, fundraising will be so much more effective. And more funds will translate into a better life for all of us. This is a small change that can snowball into so much good for all types of D.

I couldn't have said it better myself! I've only had T1 for 9 and a bit years but I could care less what it's called. I spend a lot of my time educating people that it's a very different disease than type 2 but I'm still going to have to do that if they change them name.

Is this stereotype true, or fair? No. But it's what society thinks, and in my opinion, a name change isn't going to immediately peel back that layer of frustrating ignorance.

Completely agree, it is not going to be an immediate fix. Any lasting change is not going to be easy.

Personally, I think we are currently spinning our wheels on the education front. I recently looked at the figures from the ADA & JDRF to get an idea of what is being spent on education. Over $40m in 2011 alone. I couldn't even begin to put a dollar figure on the DOCs efforts, which is mostly done as a labor of love. That's a lot of money.

So I have to ask myself what isn't working. And perhaps it is a long shot but maybe it loops back to the Expert Committee and the ambiguous number labels given to the different forms of diabetes.

Can't wait to show my girl that dog meme...she is going to crack up.

That last line is a petition I'd sign!

Amen.

Finally - someone I can agree with! I don't give a hoot, actually. Not one. Change it, don't change it, whatever. And I adore that last line. I'll vote on that petition any day.

I kinda like 'the bad ass kind' but unfortunately, it wouldn't go over well in my daughter's school system. The difference is that this new generation of kids are highly aware that t1 and t2 are just not the same. Ready for a change.

Post a comment

(All comments are moderated. Thanks for your patience!)