Learning From Each Other, Finding Common Ground

Transcription of the audio from the video
In recent times, emotions in our community have been stirred up. Very strong expressions from "across the aisle" that appears to divide type 1 and type 2 diabetes have come up.

It is a fact: type 1 and type 2 are different conditions and there are even more types of diabetes. All have their things that make them unique and more challenging for some people and perhaps not as challenging for others. There are those with splendid A1Cs among people with type 1 and type 2 alike and then there are those that struggle controlling their blood sugar levels in all groups.

To those who have grown up with type 1 diabetes:
As a kid you certainly had to live through things that children without diabetes don't have to worry about. As an adult with type 1 (like those with LADA), you ALSO face the very real short term risk of DKA, the fear of going low in your sleep and the concern of running out of insulin, among other daily challenges.

To those who live with type 2 diabetes:
You have come to experience life with diabetes at a later age. The negative stigma from the media, the finger of blame putting the burden of guilt on your shoulders possibly keeps you from talking to others about your diabetes. It is a well documented fact that you can help keep your blood sugars in check largely through diet and exercise. Yet, we all know that changing our lifestyle can be one of the hardest things to do for an adult and it is sometimes not enough.

These are different challenges and concerns, different outlooks and different ways to live. And they differ even more depending on what country you live in: the reality of people with diabetes of all types in terms of availability of treatment and education can be dramatically different outside of the developed world. But at the end of the day, regardless of your type of diabetes, whether you live in the US or the Philippines, we are ALL trying to keep our glucose levels within the normal range. Because not doing so will have an impact on our lives sooner or later, preventing us from living a full life with full bodies until our times should come.

There are SO many things being discovered every day about all types of diabetes. Yet, there is SO much to be learned. For example, new genes are being found to be connected with type 2 diabetes and there is growing evidence that insulin resistance causes weight gain and not the other way around.

What if the way we have been informed about type 2 diabetes all this time were wrong? What if our assumptions about what life with type 1 diabetes is like make us fear insulin-based therapy when it could be a way to improve our control? Would it make things different? I don't know... but this is just a way to say, what we think we know doesn't give us the right to do some of the things that have been said about the "other" group in the community.

Does this mean we should avoid discussion? By no means. It means to make a conscious effort to LISTEN. It means to accept that others will have a different point of view. It means to respect each other so we may find common ground. And it means to learn from each other and to help one another as much as we can. Why? Because at the end of the day, we REALLY are all in this together, far more than you would tend to think.

We all joined the community for different reasons: some came looking for general information about diabetes or to learn about something specific. Others came for support or even as a way to come out of the "closet" where they'd been for many years, not talking about their condition. The truth is that we are ALL touched by diabetes, including those around us, our family, friends and caregivers.

So what do I suggest we do?
1) On one side, we all know that the vast majority of patients have type 2 diabetes. Yet most of the activism and awareness raising comes from people with type 1 diabetes. ALL of you with type 2 diabetes: I invite you change this! Learn even more about your diabetes (sign up for a class with diabetes educator, pick up a book -I recommend Jenny Ruhl's Blood Sugar 101 and Gretchen Becker's The First Year Type 2 Diabetes), start a blog about your life with diabetes (on TuDiabetes or anywhere else you want), talk to people in your local community about it, when you read an article that misinforms people write to the journalist, contact the editor; organize activities for World Diabetes Day (there is a group you can join for this in TuDiabetes)... in short, get active and help make noise and raise awareness about diabetes.

2) On the other side, members with type 1 diabetes typically have lived with it for a longer time. And due to the requirements imposed by insulin-based treatment, on average people with type 1 diabetes are almost forced to be better educated about diabetes than people with type 2 diabetes (not always, I know, but often).

What if those who have accomplished better control of their diabetes through educating themselves more about it (type 1 and type 2, alike) focus part of their time in the community helping others become better educated about their diabetes? It can be done in a way that is non-invasive yet very helpful. Look around the nearly 10,000 members in the community, find someone who has joined recently or someone who hasn't been too active. Become friends with them: introduce yourself, tell them a little bit about you and ask them how you can help. Offer to be there and be ready to be surprised: not only will you be able to make a difference in their lives and their health but you will likely learn from others in the process.

3) All of us, there is a project under way to develop a compilation of essays based around the experiences of people living with each type of diabetes. This will be a great way to build bridges and continue to raise awareness. This will be an an opportunity for ALL people touched by diabetes to share their stories with the goal of increasing understanding of the various struggles we face. If you want to be a part of this project, please contact Kristin, one of our Administrators, as she is coordinating the recruitment of the team to be involved in this project to make sure all voices are included. This way we fight together our biggest common enemy: ignorance and lack of awareness. You can also participate in the discussion titled "Contemplate, Relate, Educate - share your perspective!" started by MelissaBL and now featured in our Forum. We will be pulling from both places to compile everyone's contributions.

4) Last, I invite you to read the blog I link to from beneath this video. It is titled "The Four Agreements". These are four principles that will come in handy as we walk through the coming times, trying to find and foster the things we share, while we acknowledge and respect those things that make us different.

Views: 159

Tags: agreements, community, connection, type1, type2

Comment by Mike on June 12, 2009 at 6:52pm
Well said. Thanks Manny.
Comment by Ziggy on June 12, 2009 at 11:53pm
Totally agree Manny.

I come from Northern Ireland and instead of Type 1 vs Type 2 we have the troubles (hopefully the aftermath thereof!).

People should strengthen their commonalities instead of accentuating their differences.

Comment by odie on June 13, 2009 at 5:27am
Hey that sounds great the more people regardless of what type you are or have 1, 2 I am a (2) we all should band together as (1) and do what we can to get more knowledge and effort done to get the needs of this out there for all to see and hope that some laws can be made or changed to help us out.I know on my end the cost are staggering and i wonder what happens when I stop work and /or lose my insurance??
Thanks Manny!!!
Comment by Dr. Nevin zablotsky on June 13, 2009 at 6:49am
I am an educator lecturing on diabetes In my talks I discuss the history of diabetes and then the different types and how each effect people. Thank you Manny for educating me about these issues. I really never knew about these concerns. Diseases tend to make us all frightened, angry,and feel alone. I know from personal experience, as I was diagnosed with prostate cancer 2 years ago, for which I was treated.One of the positives out of the negatives, is that our illnesses also bring out the best in people as they reach out to help us. When the cancer community has a relay for life, it is inclusive of survivors of all cancers. As trite and preachy as it sounds, we are all in this together. We each suffer our own batttles, but by joining forces, we can accomplish a lot more, and feel better in the effort. thanks again Manny, you've done a great job for everyone.
Comment by Robin Lynn Macke on June 13, 2009 at 6:57am
Thank you and Bravo very well said, As a Dental Hygienist I see diabetics everyday and when I tell them I am Type 1 I internally cringe because I never can predict the comments that I have heard! I use it as an "in" to educate, educate ,educate, We all are fighting high blood sugar just in different ways! Thanks for uniting the troops. Robin
Comment by MomsL8 on June 13, 2009 at 7:57am
Manny! I LOVE YOU! I say this over and over. We are one, folks. It doesn't matter how you got diabetes and how long you've lived with it or what treatment you take - it ALL sucks, and we ALL know it. What a wonderful, wonderful article to write! Thank you - this is something we all need to help each other with. I am in support for my friends with T1 when people tell them, "Oh, you have the bad diabetes." And I am in support with my fellow T2'ers when people say, "If you just didn't eat that donut...." Whatever our separate challenges, we all face one condition - DIABETES. Thank you again.
Comment by Sarah Keech on June 13, 2009 at 8:29am
I believe I have read that putting all types of diabetes under one umbrella gives us more of a chance to get a bigger slice of the pie from NIH funds.For those of you who are not U.S. citizens, the NIH(National Institutes of Health) is the U.S. government's agency for biomedical and health related research. Maybe we should consider all types of diabetes being simply called "diabetes" akin to having different types of cancer under the same umbrella. As a type 1 for over 30 years, I can relate to Robin Lynn Macke's comments of the "internal cringe" momments regarding certain often asked questions by non-diabetics. I have also written newspapers and articles posted by web sources to ask that they put what type of diabetes they are referring to in the headlines of articles they publish about this disease. Not knowing the type of diabetes the article is writting about until we are reading the body of the article may be a source of frustration for all of us.
Comment by m flynn on June 13, 2009 at 9:44am
Yes that was well said and we all need to unite! It doesn't matter how/when you got diabetes or what type you are it is a life long endeavor to stay healthy the best you can - it is great that people are willing to open up and share their life stories and help others that is what life is about.
Comment by Cheery Love on June 13, 2009 at 1:21pm
manny you express yourself so well. i love tudiabetes & all you have done to put 10,000 people with one common bond together. how amazing!! i hope we can all continue to appreciate each other and you and your staff. please know you are loved, appreciated and respected. we are all not just better diabetics but better people because of you. thanks, cheery.
Comment by Cathy Jacobson on June 13, 2009 at 5:43pm
Manny, you've said it so well. WE have to be our own advocates, because there are so few out there. I know that I's have a longer road to hoe, but yet, we all have the same basic disease or condition....why aren't we working together to find an answer. What benefits one, benefits all. I am excited about a grant that my clinic has received to help educate, push forward, and treat type 2 diabetics. But at the same time, type I's are going to benefit from the grant also. We have opened a FREE gym here, with classes, four types of equipment, exercises sessions, nutritional information, and a weekly meeting of the minds for help and encouragement.
I'd love to know what others are doing in their areas, so much to share so much to learn.


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Diabetes Hands Foundation Team


Melissa Lee
(Interim Executive Director, Editor, has type 1)

Manny Hernandez
(Co-Founder, has LADA)

Emily Coles (Head of Communities, has type 1)

Mila Ferrer
(EsTuDiabetes Community Manager, mother of a child with type 1)

Mike Lawson
(Head of Experience, has type 1)

Corinna Cornejo
(Director of Operations and Development, has type 2)

Desiree Johnson  (Administrative and Programs Assistant, has type 1)


Lead Administrator

Brian (bsc) (has type 2)


Lorraine (mother of type 1)
Marie B (has type 1)

DanP (has Type 1)

Gary (has type 2)

David (has type 2)


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