Today's D-Blog prompt: Today let’s borrow a topic from a #dsma chat held last September. The tweet asked “What is one thing you would tell someone that doesn’t have diabetes about living with diabetes?”. Let’s do a little advocating and post what we wish people knew about diabetes. Have more than one thing you wish people knew? Go ahead and tell us everything.
There is so much I'd like to tell people about diabetes. Not the physiology of the disease - the ins and outs of insulin resistance for a person with Type 2 diabetes. That's only a minor part of the disease. For me there are blood checks throughout the day as well as lab work a couple times a year. Yearly check-ups with my doctor, more if necessary. Watching carbs. Watching activity level (insulin resistance can suddenly backfire, causing sudden lows). The mood swings. Fear. Wondering if I'm going to need to use the bathroom at an inopportune time.
What is the number one thing I'd like people to know? Don't judge. Shortly after my diagnosis, I was talking to an older gentleman. Not realizing it, I had actually started off in my advocacy calling right away. I started talking to him about my new diagnosis, to which he replied, "We're watching our weight so we don't get diabetes." Did he just call me fat? To set the record straight, I am slightly overweight but not in the obese category that society would consider "at risk." I was also in my late-30s. Also not an "at risk" category.
Was he judging me? I feel he was. My diabetes was not caused by lifestyle, rather genetics. Do I blame my mother and her blood line? Not any more than I blame my father for my mousey brown hair that gets a little color treatment now and then. It is what it is. I love both of my parents dearly and thank God for all they have given me - including my hair color and my diabetes.
Those who have read my blog before know that I see my diabetes as part of a calling to reach out to others. I've had the opportunity to reach out to children with Type 1 diabetes locally. Even though I have Type 2 (and they know it), we still have a bond of sorts. Whenever we see each other, they know that there's an adult that gets it, even if just a little. And of course I ask them if they've been behaving. They know I don't just mean behaviorally.
Living with a chronic disease, especially an invisible one, is extremely
difficult and often lonely. Thankfully I have an awesome support system
at home that tries to understand, plus the DOC that totally gets it.
Before you judge or blame, remember that first and foremost, I am a person. Yes, I am a person with diabetes, but that doesn't make your judgements alright. Blaming my lifestyle means you haven't gotten to know me, only society's misconception of what causes Type 2 diabetes. I don't sit around all day eating bon bons. (I'd like to see you keep up with my five kids while working two jobs! What's a couch?)
Photo credit: Image found here.