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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Only walk the walk when you have to.

Don't attempt to try on the shoes until you have to walk in them.  

Diabetes is surrounded by a lot of misinformation, stigma and assumptions.
Assumptions about what its like to have Diabetes are the things that hurt the worst. If you want to know about Diabetes please ask, I would be glad to help you know better and spare another person from the hurtful words or incorrect assumptions.

Assumptions I have heard from people include: can you eat that, oh you can't eat this can you, my grandma had Diabetes and they cut her leg off, oh my -insert relative- died from Diabetes, you must be a bad Diabetic because you test more than -insert name-, will you die if you eat this, can you eat sugar, oh I'm sorry I didn't bring you one because you are Diabetic, you don't look sick, are you going to die from kidney disease, are you worried about going blind, you are on an insulin pump oh you must have it real bad, youd go into a coma if you ate this wouldn't you, aren't you worried about your daughter becoming Diabetic (are you trying to say I shouldn't have had my child just because I have Diabetes), those are just a few off the top of my head.

If you know someone with a chronic disease or condition please offer them your support, don't tease them, dangle things in front of them they can't do or eat, don't chastise them for not being more "compliant" sooner.  Lifestyle change is never ever easy. Evvvvverrrrrr.

Ask a person battling their weight how easy it is to completely change the way they eat to keep their weight under control, ask a person addicted to smoking how easy it was to quit, ask a person diagnosed with Diabetes how easy it is to change their entire way of eating food and trying to manage their own blood sugar which is what an organ is suppose to do automatically.  Its not easy to do the work of a pancreas and assumptions make it worse. 

Would you like another person to make assumptions about your life and have the nerve to say them to your face?

In most all other aspects in life people keep their assumptions to themselves.  I still have not quite understood why people think it's ok to speak their assumptions to people who have a chronic disease or condition, something they will live with for life, there is nothing I can do to get rid of my Type 1 Diabetes.  I would LOVE to say I HAD type 1 Diabetes, I beat Diabetes. Right now there is just no damn cure.  Its not easy to live with this condition, its even harder to live with the nonstop assault of comments from people and even people in my family.  Those hurt the worst.  I can live a mostly normal life with Diabetes, I live with the constant reminders in my head (carb counting, checking my blood sugar, changing my insulin pump, changing a cgm sensor, etc etc) and on top of it the assumptions from people.  Those are the things that make people with Diabetes (which is what I have obviously) upset, hurt or mad.

I can live my life almost the same way you do, just altered a bit and I experience high and low blood glucose levels.  These things may or may not affect my health in the long term and possibly short term.  So with type 1 Diabetes I have to try to avoid those highs and lows and manage them to the best of my ability because I just cannot avoid them completely unless I just stop eating and I don't want to give up all the good yummy food in life, just like most other people don't either.  The highs cause damage to every part of my body and the highs or lows can cause me to have a seizure if not caught in time.  I can go into a coma with an extended period of time with a high or low that is not treated.  It can and does get overwhelming at times for all of us. Sometimes I can get depressed because the road through all of this is just so so long and tiring because right now there is "no light at the end of the tunnel".  I need your help and support to get me down that long road with Diabetes, I don't need or want any criticism.  I know what this disease means and the things I may or may not face with complications, I don't need to be reminded nor do I want to be reminded.

These are some of the things that everyone with type 1 Diabetes has to face and feel.  Please try to remember that as you are about to make an assumption about someone's life who has been diagnosed with any disease or condition.  We each live our own lives, make our own choices and face the consequences.

Please also try to remember that Diabetes treatments and medications have jumped leaps and bounds since 40-50 years ago.  The older folks who suffered terribly from Diabetes were victims of their time, they didn't have most of the tools we have today.  My grandfather died from Heart Disease at 56 as a result of type 1 Diabetes and smoking, they didn't even use to know smoking was bad and I don't think he tested his blood sugar ever in his life.  If ever I could make a wish it would be that he could have had the tools I have today and be here alive today. 

Getting through life with Diabetes for me is made a bit easier by giving and asking for support in Diabetic support groups and blogging my thoughts. For all you out there, no one else around you will understand what you are going through unless they too are going through it.  If you are feeling like you just can't do it or that everyone around you is driving you insane please seek support. Join an online community like TuDiabetes, or Facebook or any other Diabetic support group.  I cannot tell you how much the Diabetes Online Community #DOC has helped me in the last 5 or so years.  We are out there all you gotta do is go looking. 

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