Friday, July 3, 2015

The Two Faces of Diabetes

My diabetes seems to have two faces, or sides. The side I like to show in public, and the side I like to keep secret.

The public side of my diabetes shows the world that their misconceptions about Type 2 are all wrong. I exercise, I'm a healthy weight, I check my blood sugar on a regular basis, and I watch my carbs. This is the side that I like to present to the world. This is the side that shouts out, "Colas full of sugar didn't give me diabetes, so there!" The side that says that genetics is to blame more than anything else.

However there is the other side of my diabetes. It's the side that wants to get comfy in the recliner and eat a whole bag of chips in one sitting. The side that wants to eat chocolate chip cookies with milk until I have a tummy ache. The side that says "Not today!" to exercise. The side that thinks maybe I did something to "earn" the diagnosis of diabetes. The side that shows that I am human. The side that shows that I am not perfect. The side that wants to curl up in a ball and cry.

Honestly this is very close to how I feel as a mom of five kids. The public side is a very organized mom with five amazing kids. The other side is my cluttered house and lucky if I know what day it is sometimes.

Unfortunately our society only sees the side that I want to hide. The media portrays Type 2 diabetics as older, overweight individuals with unhealthy lifestyles. Where are the young, healthy Type 2s with some bum genes? I know we're out there. I've met many through the DOC and other advocacy work. Where are those who develop Type 2 due to other medical conditions such as PCOS? Why doesn't the media talk about that?

Why doesn't the media show us the side of diabetes that takes the blame off the patient and admits that sometimes things happen no matter what you do? When are we going to realize that correlation does not equal causation?

When are we going to stop shaming people who live day to day with a life threatening chronic illness?


  1. Sue, this is fantastic, and so right. Thank you.

  2. Here's the deal Sue, if they can tell you what you did to cause your condition, they feel that they can keep the same thing from happening to them. They think this even if their diet and exercise routines are no better or inferior to yours. "You sat on the couch eating Bon Bons. See, I won't get that..." You can fill in the blank for any condition. I have a congenital heart condition. Nothing I can do can make the condition better, but I still get "If you'd just lose weight, exercise and eat well, are you getting enough sleep?" Because if they can point out what I did wrong they are safe. The last time I was in a room with all three of my sisters, we were on the porch with them smoking and drinking and telling me what I did wrong to cause my breast cancer. It's a defense mechanism that unfortunately blames the sick for being sick.