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. Brené 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. Brené is the author of three #1 New York Times Bestsellers: Rising StrongDaring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection.


  1. Totally can relate as I am often blamed for my stage 3C melanoma diagnosis. Tired of the jokes about my paleness when it was my overexposure to UV radiation along with genetics that put me in the mess I am now. Grr. SMH.

  2. There are no words I can say to tell you how much I appreciate your words. Thank you just doesn't cut it, but thank you on behalf of all of us.

  3. I love Brene...and I love this post for it's honesty about all types of diabetes. We need to have courage to educate and share why this matters.

  4. Thank you, Meri. I admit I get very bogged down when November comes along... We might be the most prevalent type, but we really get the least amount of REAL awareness out there. We get persecution, and shaming. Often even from our own.

    I admit I don't read many blogs anymore. I'm tired of reading things like "...that's not my diabetes, that's that other kind from being unhealthy... that other kind you give to yourself." I may write and write, but no one reads it. There won't be very many comments of support. I don't have the "cool type," after all... so whatever I say never goes viral, or gets a lot of attention... or whatever else. I just need to lose weight, and stop eating sugar. (That's sarcasm, for those couldn't tell.)

    So THANK YOU... really, words are not enough. We all need to be aware of one another, and BE the awareness (and the respect and dignity) we want to see in the world, rather than being a part of the problem.

    Thanks again...

  5. Thank you for writing this. I am in tears. My gratitude for you writing this is so great I cannot express it properly. As a 36 year old woman with type 2, I have despaired to see anything good come from others in the Diabetic community that wasn't pushing Type 2 Diabetics down below Type 1s. You are wonderful and brilliant.

    I have enjoyed your blog since I found it and this entry ensures I'll never stop reading. Thank you. <3

  6. As always, you have nailed it right on the head Meri!

  7. Thank you for this article. As a T2 I am told by many Dr.'s (not my Endo, thank goodness) that I need to lose weight or I will die a horrible death. They don't care that my diabetes is under tight control of how low my A1C's are. I also used to test and inject in bathrooms when out in public. No longer. I inject in public and have had no one say a peep.

  8. You took what weighs on my heart and brain so heavily and put in to perfect words. As a sibling to 2 type ones and aunt to a type 1 nephew (age 6 :( ) and a type 1.5 who will progress to type one, I cringe at what so many say/do/post/joke. Whether it is type 1, 2, or 1.5, why does a disease have to be a joke to so many? I just console myself that if they truly had an understanding of the disease, they wouldn't be saying that, and on their behalf, I try to be grateful for their ignorance because maybe that is one less family that is affected.


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