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"350+ million people have diabetes around the world. Will you be the next to be pre-diagnosed? Why are we still ashamed? Why is there such an imbalance of understanding when ever the subject of diabetes comes up?"
Diabetes invokes many different feelings in some people. There are those that go ballistic @ even the mere thought of having diabetes; some make an automatic assumption that their life is doomed; some make a conscious effort to ignore it, as though “mind-over-matter” will cure them; others really want to learn how to take care of themselves immediately after diagnosis; and the rest of us either don’t know where to get answers, or are just simply not motivated to get them.
I truly believe there exist a Ying & Yang to just about everything in life. While diabetes has the potential to devastate any one’s life, there were many unexpected life lessons I received as a result of having this disease.
* Having a deeper appreciation for this complex machine called the human body.
* The consistent need for updated diabetic education.
* Who are your friends, and who are not.
* Who is out for your best interest, and who just want to hear themselves talk.
* Having diabetes is a perfect opportunity for our friends, and loved one’s to feel needed.
* How much effort it takes to not only live healthier, but think healthier, 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
* The enormous amount of discipline that is required. The average person would not be able to handle testing their blood 3-4 times daily. Yet there’s an insatiable need for people to give us advice ALL THE TIME…
* Watching people’s face get contorted, once they’ve witnessed me take out a needle. They often look in disgust, yet they can’t turn their head’s away, cause they’re still intrigued to watch someone inject.
* Feeling entitled to a burn out every now and then.
* Drama exist everywhere, even in the diabetic communities. Who’s got it worse, type 1 or 2? Arrrghh.
* At times, it seams as though diabetes has become more like politics & religion; too often we can’t always talk about it in a group setting, without having at least one non-diabetic, p***ing off an actual diabetic by the end of the discussion :-) . This is usually due to various levels of diabetic understanding & comprehension. So much gets lost in the translation, and personal interpretation.
* Its amazing how people feel they know your whole life history, simply by saying diabetes!
* People will learn diabetes when they are ready, but usually it’s after a diabetic complication.
* And the list goes on, and on, and on…..
I think in addition to what I’ve mentioned above, the top lesson I’ve learned is, not to be ashamed, and to not allow people to try and make me ashamed because I have diabetes!! Or any other part of me for that matter. There are so many people we come in contact in our daily lives, that for whatever reason, that organ that sits between their ears never clicks; and or the light-bulb in their head simply stays unplugged all the time.
When it comes to insulin, I have made a choice not to hide in any bathroom, closet, hallway, stairwell, alleyway, street corner, boondocks, under a car, phone booth, gate, behind a fire-hydrant, back of a sofa, behind a bush, a forest, or whatever, just so that I don’t “offend”people when I inject. I am not a freak, drug addict, or a hideous mutant!! I am a human being that happens to have diabetes. Insulin is what keeps my body healthier, it keeps my sugars @ safe levels, and will help keep me alive longer with the least amount (if any) of long-term or short-term complications. I am perfectly capable of handling my own D life myself, in MY OWN WAY!! if I need your opinion, I will ask for it.
You know, now that I look back at my whole ordeal, I have learned a LOT about diabetes, how my body works, etc; and together with new computer technologies, diabetes is so much more easier to manage. I’d think it’s safe to say that, for most diabetics, the biggest challenge is not so much the diabetes itself, but the kinds of support systems he have. In addition to living our daily lives with diabetes in mind, we also have the “diabetes police” (our friends, families, care takers, co-workers, and sometimes even strangers) that consistently police our diabetic activities.
The problem with the diabetic police (also sometimes called type 3, because they experience diabetes indirectly through us), is that they often don’t seek diabetic information, other than the little tidbits they’ve picked up over the years. The diabetic police often try to help us using emotional intelligence, instead of factual intelligence. You can’t really use emotional intelligence, until you know the facts about a disease your trying to help with.
There is such a fine line. Sometimes I still find it very difficult to deal with pushy loved ones, and pushy friends who really care for me, (and at some point) not feel forced to be rude in order to keep my “personal diabetic space”. Diabetes is a personal journey that THAT individual diabetic must walk alone. It is a wonderful feeling to know people care; however, when you impose your non-medically trained opinions, to a person who actually lives their lives with diabetes 24/day, you actually can make it harder for us. If you want to help us, ask what we’d like you to do, instead of preach that which you may not fully understand.
Diabetes is not just a disease, it’s also a lifestyle, a way of life. Diabetes is with us for the rest of our lives. We can curse it, yell at it, ignore it, or deny it; but the fact remains, its with us for life. Don’t see diabetes as a chore, see it as a disease that has helped most of us to become, one of the most discipline group of people ever known; see it as a new way of life that allows you to truly gauge & control the future of your own health, regardless of what people “think”your doing wrong.
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