Monday, November 9, 2015

The hilarity of Diabetes.

They deserve it.

They bring it on themselves; they deserve to be demeaned, pointed fingers at, and scoffed.

After all, they aren’t legitimate human beings, they’re jokes. Punch lines. Disgusting taglines.

They could all stop eating donuts and their problems would be solved.


They’re like cartoons. They aren’t real. How could someone so stupid have feelings?

I’m better than them.

Sure, I drink regular coke and eat fast food…but not McDonald’s, you know…like Panera, and breakfast sandwiches and low-fat lattes from Starbucks. I’m thin. I sure as hell don’t have Diabetes. I eat salads sometimes.

I’m not that stupid.

Everyone is laughing about it: The people on TV. (Jamie Oliver throws up in his mouth every time he says the word.) Disney/Pixar made a joke in their last film…

For crying out loud, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES THINKS THEY’RE A JOKE TOO! And he isn’t afraid to call them out. Why shouldn’t I?

Because obviously, they have diabetes from eating too much bacon and donuts.


The millions of people who have it just need to put the food down and take a fargin walk. For reals. Every single magazine in the world has an article on how to reverse and cure their diabetes, and they don’t do it.

Eat cinnamon people!

Lazy. Its just laziness. At least I try. I go to the gym once in awhile.

So I will laugh, and meme until my heart is content at these poor excuses for human beings. If I don’t make fun of them and give them a wake up call, who will?

I mean, it’s not societies duty to help find solutions to epidemics. Especially when the only solution seems to be handcuff their hands and lock up their refrigerators. The fact that it’s such an epidemic is proof that our society’s priorities are laughable.

It’s all laughable.

They should be shamed. Shaming people is the best way to motivate them. They need to hit rock bottom before they can see their ways.

So what if this disease destroys families, and puts millions of people in depression because of lack of understanding and care? Not my problem. Their problem.

They want empathy? How is empathy relevant when we aren’t talking about someone worthy of such?

Diabetes is curable. They’re idiots for allowing themselves to suffer. 

Unfortunately, the above is what is being portrayed in the world today. It seems harsh, but it is accurate.

I’d like to shed some light here by rewriting the above statements to reflect the truths I have learned while living in the home with this disease for 17 years. Although we’ve lived with Type 1 Diabetes, I have friends and loved ones with Type 2. We’re going to disregard all the above bullshit laid on us by society, and have a little reality check.

Having a serious disease is not funny. It never will be.

No one deserves a disease. Nobody. No one in a vulnerable situation deserves to be laughed at. 

But that's the problem, right? We don't view people with diabetes as vulnerable. We view them as people who eat only unhealthy food. Diabetes is so much more than food. Diet can be a contributing factor, but it isn’t brought on by on by diet alone. There are variables, predispositions, family histories, and a body chemistries. Sometimes it is metabolic, sometimes it is autoimmune. Sometimes it is a byproduct of another disease, another system shutting down. 

People with Diabetes are not a joke. They are not a punch line, or a tagline to your memes. They are human beings. Who deserve dignity, and help rather than criticism.

 This meme shows up on my facebook feed often. Always a debate follows between those who are offended, and those who think it’s the funniest thing ever. But you know who doesn’t think it’s funny? Bob.

This is a real comment in response to someone who said the candy bar/Bob meme was offensive to them: THIS IS FUNNY! If you don't see the humor, MOVE ON!!! It's facebook, people. This is NOT real life.”

I’m sorry, it is real life. Diabetes is real life to millions of people, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, every day.

If Type 2 Diabetes were only poor diet, everyone would have it. More people than not have terrible diets, and if you don't believe that, you're lying to yourself. If you’re one of the lucky ones with a healthy metabolism, good for you…but that doesn’t make you better than those that have metabolisms that have crashed.

Some overweight people have Diabetes. Some overweight people do not. That is a fact.

Some skinny people have Diabetes. Some skinny people do not. Also a fact.

 Why the hate? Why treat them like characters in your favorite sitcom than your actual neighbors. If someone you loved had diabetes, would you show so much distain?

If you do not have diabetes, it doesn’t automatically make you better than those that do. If you believe such, you need to check your ego at the door.

 Did you know that 1 Large Protein Berry Smoothie at Jamba Juice has over 100g of carbohydrates in it? That’s more than 2 Burger King Whoopers, and more than half of the carbohydrates someone on a 2000 calorie diet should eat in a day.  If you get a mocha and a blueberry oatmeal for breakfast from Starbucks, that’s also over 100g of carbohydrates. Most are uneducated about what they are eating. There is a learning curve for all of us. 

Diabetes is not cureable. Type 1 OR Type 2. Even though some doctor says it is. Even though the commercial says it is. Even though every magazine in America says it is. Yes, some people with Type 2 are lucky enough to get off medication. But diabetes remains. It is there waiting. Lurking. It isn’t just GONE. Ever. 

According to Web MD: "The term 'reversal' is used when people can go off medication but still must engage in a lifestyle program in order to stay off," says Ann Albright, PhD, RD. She's the director of diabetes translation at the CDC. For some people, reaching a healthier weight will mean taking fewer medications, or in rarer cases, no longer needing those medications at all. In one study, people with Type 2 Diabetes exercised for 175 minutes a week, limited their calories to 1,200 to 1,800 per day, and got weekly counseling and education on these lifestyle changes. Within a year, about 10% got off their diabetes medications or improved to the point where their blood sugar level was no longer in the diabetes range, and was instead classified as pre-diabetes.

Results were best for those who lost the most weight or who started the program with less severe or newly diagnosed diabetes. Fifteen percent to 20% of these people (in the best of circumstances) were able to stop taking their diabetes medications.

And the other 80 to 85% who exercised and dieted? They could not get off the medication.

Many times people with diabetes are told to eat less and sent on their way to fix their health themselves. They aren't given any help. This is like telling someone who is depressed to leave the office and just stop being depressed. But that is exactly what is happening. People with diabetes need tools, but instead are left to find their own solutions without much guidance. They need help. They need understanding. They need medications. Diabetes is said to be caused by weight gain. But studies are showing that maybe weight gain is a side effect of Diabetes. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? I know many very thin, fit adults diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and others with pre-diabetes. There are other things going on here. Assuming. Judging. Mocking. They aren’t the answers.

Shaming people does not motivate people. We need to build people up to empower them, not tear them down.

 But society says tearing down is ok. How is taking away someone’s value going to motivate them for change?

It’s ok to make fun of a disease because their poster child is fat?

Well that poster child has a story. And feelings.  

Our world is lacking in the empathy department. Sarcasm and egotism reign. “It isn’t me…I will point, and I will laugh, and I will blame.”

 So the people with Diabetes try to numb the pain. But here is the thing. Research shows that we can’t selectively numb our emotions, when we numb the negative emotions, the positive ones numb too. There is no happy life when you’re the butt of jokes everywhere you turn.

We need to take a hard look at how society is treating people with Diabetes, or even people with extra weight. The word Diabetes incites negativity. Not towards the disease, but towards the people who have it.

How is that right?

I'll answer that: It just isn't.

Quotes from Dr. BrenĂ© Brown, who is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past thirteen years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. BrenĂ© is the author of three #1 New York Times Bestsellers: Rising StrongDaring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Type 1 Diabetes looks like...

A blond boy who just finished third grade and has been losing weight. His parents think it’s from a growth spurt, but he's pale. Something isn't right.

It’s a 23-year-old woman who is starting her career in journalism and lately, she is always thirsty.  She keeps extra sodas in her drawer at work and a water bottle with her everywhere she goes.

It looks like a 6-year-old poking his finger at a birthday party, squeezing out a precious droplet of blood and then laying that blood on a test strip…waiting for the countdown, 
He wants cake. It all depends on that number.
A blond boy who just finished third grade and has been losing weight. His parents think it’s from a growth spurt, but he's pale. Something isn't right.

It’s a 23-year-old woman who is starting her career in journalism and lately, she is always thirsty.  She keeps extra sodas in her drawer at work and and endures the embarrassment. She likes to stay in the background. Diabetes doesn’t let her.

It’s a 50-year-old man in the middle of an important meeting, and he has to pee. It cannot wait. He forgot to give himself insulin for lunch and his body is insisting on purging the extra sugar. He has to leave the meeting for a moment. His clients are unimpressed.

It’s a school principal injecting glucagon into a student who is on the ground, unresponsive from a low blood sugar. His hands shake violently. He was shown how to give the shot once. He’s scared.

It’s a 15-year-old boy at halftime, running to his parents on the sidelines for his stash of Gatorade so his body can sustain him for the second half.

It is a thousand people wearing blue at a stadium, raising funds and walking together for themselves, their family, and their friends. They desperately want a cure. The news stations aren't covering it this year.

It’s a widowed father setting his alarm for every two hours to make sure his child is safe during the night. His son has the flu. He’s contemplating going to the emergency room.

It’s the ADA offering legal services to a family whose school refuses to let their child attend because they have diabetes. It requires oversight from a nurse. They don’t have funds for a nurse.

It’s an Endocrinologist, looking into the eyes of devastated parents, telling them that their child’s body doesn’t make insulin anymore. They will have to give him shots for the rest of his life. The future they imagined for their child has changed. They mourn deeply because of it.

It is a 32 year old mother sitting on the floor in a grocery store, singing to her baby until the banana does it’s job and brings up her blood sugar up so she can walk again.

It’s a 21 year old college student injecting insulin before he eats a candy bar and another student standing next to him saying, “Isn’t that candy bar the reason you have diabetes in the first place. Should you be eating that?” The student is too tired to explain it’s autoimmune. They probably won’t understand anyway.

It looks like a father, who after being told of his child’s diagnosis, was also told that cure will most likely come in the next five years. He winces because he was told the same thing 25 years ago when he was diagnosed.

It’s a 38-year-old woman going back for yet another eye test. She’s worried about the complications from having diabetes her entire life. She’s scared to death she might be losing her vision in her right eye. She can’t talk to anyone about it. She feels so alone.

It’s a group of children traveling to Washington D.C. to personally ask the government to help fund research for a cure. They are poised. They are eloquent. The men in the offices have 10 minutes for them.

It’s two parents hunched over their checkbook. It’s either buy insulin or pay their mortgage this month.

It looks like regular people living regular lives. But nothing is regular. Every moment is touched by this disease. No days off. What is eaten, what is done, where is traveled, it is all touched by blood sugars and insulin.

The truth is, Type 1 Diabetes looks just like me.

And it looks just like you too.

But if we’ve been taught anything in our lives it is this: You can’t judge a book by its cover.

Some diseases seem invisible.

 But the effects on people’s lives are anything but.