Diabetes Isn't a Pants Size
Diabetes Blog Week Day 5
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. (See that I have permission to tell more than one thing - gloves are off - grab a coffee or two and hang on)
Oh the things people think? The misconceptions seem to multiple like bunnies in a barn. I am not judging the general population - I was one of them back before Feb 7, 2007. My first thoughts when the doctor told me Sugarboy had diabetes was that he couldn't eat the chocolates I had already purchased him for Valentines Day. I got schooled and now it's my turn (ok to be fair I've been schooling folks since Feb 8th of 2007 - If don't want to hear it then edjumatcate yourself or shut up).
The easiest way for me to tackle this profound prompt is via bullets - (not the ones I would like to use on ignorant people who refuse to understand).
- Diabetes is not a pants size - my kids will not grow out it. Having Type 1 diabetes requires the pwd to check their blood sugar as many as 14 times a day - before all meals, snacks, physical activity (including sex), sleeping, and all the little times in between that the pwd feels symptomatic (high of low blood sugars). having diabetes requires the pwd to inject synthetic insulin into their body via a syringe or and insulin pump (the pump is connected to their body 24 hours a day). Diabetes will be with my kids 24 hours a day 7 days a week until a cure is developed. (Sub bullets are required to explain further)
- Insulin is NOT a cure - it is a means to sustain life
- While an Artificial Pancreas will be wonderful - it too is not a cure - it uses artificial insulin to regulate blood sugars and will take some of the day to day diabetes management out of our hands and hopefully provide better control but it is not a working human pancreas.
- Glucose Responsive Smart Insulin I love love love this idea - Still not a Cure because it doesn't jump start a person with diabetes pancreas again but it is the closest thing to it I've read about so far. The idea is a pwd (person with diabetes) would do one injection each day and the insulin would react to the bodies blood sugars like a working pancreas would. It is likely decades away from full development but I see research dollars being well spent here.
- It's NOT their fault or mine. People with Type 1 Diabetes did nothing wrong to develop diabetes. I did not spoon feed my kids sugar as infants and toddlers. I did not put regular coke in their sippy cups. The did not survive on fast food or junk prior to diagnosis. (At this point I want to also point out that most people with Type 2 diabetes or other types of diabetes are also not lazy junk food hoarding sugar mongers that caused the diabetes) Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that is a combination of genetics and environmental influences. (Yes many people can avoid developing Type 2 diabetes but even with a great diet and regular exercise Type 2 can happen)
- Give them the damn cupcake! People with type 1 diabetes can eat all the same foods people with diabetes can eat - they 'just' have to take insulin for it. Before a person opens their mouth to ask me if my kids 'should' be eating - insert high sugar content food item here - they should ask themselves if they should be eating it. The answer is likely - no - but for the exact same reasons - junky foods are junk for our bodies and should only be eaten in moderation by all humans (try to take away my Reese's peanut butter cups and you will loose a hand).
- 'Just' Don't let that word fool you. Taking insulin is not something one does lightly or with little thought. Calculating insulin doses requires a great deal of understanding of how insulin works, how much is needed to cover a specific amount of carbohydrates, how much exercise was done or will be done during the day, what kind of carbohydrates are being consumed, what time of the month it is (for girls), how the stars are aligned, what Chinese year it is, if you heard a crow cry that morning - etc.
- Oh yea - also every time I dose my kids with insulin I am putting their lives at risk. Too much insulin and I could put my kids in immanent danger of a severe low blood sugar that could result in death. Too little insulin over extended periods of time can cause complications such as blindness, amputations, heart decease, kidney disease and others.
- Yes the finger poking hurts NO we don't need your pity. It is not necessary for a person without diabetes to make the "eeehhhooooh" sound when they see my kids poke their fingers to check their blood sugars. It doesn't help them feel better about poking their fingers. It is ridiculous that even adults make that same sound (the pity sound - Sweetstuff calls it) when they see the kids poke their fingers. Thank you ignorant adults for making it obvious to my kids how much diabetes sucks (btw they are well aware of how diabetes sucks)
- When idiots (adults) who actually ask my kids "does that hurt?" a large had should appear above their head and deliver a swift and hard slap to the top of the adults brain to try to jump start it. I don't feel the same about kids when they ask - it is natural for them to not really know if it hurts and being curious is better than being a bully.
- Also let me just say how I am proud of my kids for being brave and poking their fingers repeatedly (although it would be great if they spread the poking love to all ten digits - the pinky is feeling especially left out)
- You WOULD do it if you had to. If I had a dollar for every time someone said, "I could never do that" I would have a lot of dollars (couldn't think of anything witty or fun to say). The thing is I didn't know squat about diabetes before Sugarboy was diagnosed. I learned and I continue to learn. We do what we have to do for our kids to keep them alive and healthy - we would do the same for ourselves. People should not underestimate their own abilities to survive or to keep the ones they love alive. It isn't easy - it will never get easier - we just get better.
See more posts about what others need to know about diabetes HERE