November 09, 2006

Things the general public SHOULD know by now about Type 1 Diabetes

When I learned that today was the D-Blog day, I tried to think of something touching and poignant to write. Unfortunately, it's just not one of those days, so the end result is something smart-assy and sarcastic. I mean no disrespect, I simply wanted to vent on a few misconceptions/annoyances I've encountered in my (almost) 5 years as a diabetic.

Without further ado - in no particular order:

  • Just because the Oatmeal Guy says "Di-a-bee-tus" that does not mean that it is the correct pronounciation. Try out "di-a-bee-tees" once. It rolls off the tongue. Trust me.

  • Having "sugar" sounds old school; the new kids on the (diabetes) block (and by that I mean me) prefer "diabetic" or "pancreatically challenged.

  • For the zillionth time "Yes, I can eat whatever I @#$%&*) want to - thanks for asking."

  • Insulin pumps do not mean that the diabetic has poor control, "sugar really bad", and no - I am not about to die. I'm simply using a method that works best for me, just as others who use multiple daily injections are doing so because it works for them.

  • I plan on keeping my limbs with me until they plop my wrinkly, sagging, 90 year old body into a casket - so please spare me the stories of the numerous people who had their limbs hacked off because of (cue the whisper) "Sugar".

  • While "Steel Magnolias" is a wonderful movie, it is not an accurate indication of what life will be like for me when I try to have children.

  • In reply to comments such as "I could never stick myself/give myself shots/eat such a strict diet" - You could, and would, if you wanted to life and maintain a high quality of living.

  • No - I cannot just take a pill.

  • No - I'm not lazy, a poor eater, and I was not overweight before I was diagnosed - those two factors are not usually related to Type 1, and even with Type 2, those generalizations are not appropriate (or appreciated) for most who are diagnosed.

  • Unless you have diabetes or are a parent/close relative of a diabetic, please do not act as if you know everything about diabetes just because you have an acquaintance who has a "touch of sugar." If they have a "touch of sugar," you are probably out of "touch" with what diabetes really involves.

I could go on for numerous bullets, but I'll stop there. My underlying, not-so-subtle message is that the general public needs to be more educated on diabetes. Until more education is provided on diabetes, I am going to have to live with the comments/annoyances mentioned above. If I have to form polite replies to comments like I've mentioned for the next 10 years, at least I'll know that I'm educating the general public, one person at a time. That's better than nothing, but it's not nearly as quickly as I'd like it. Please be a vocal advocate for diabetes awareness. Even if we only speak to those in our realm of influence, we are still speaking and are still letting our voices be heard.

I'll close with a very fitting quote by Margaret Mead
"Never doubt that a group of thoughtful concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Diabetics - changing the world, one misconception at a time...


Blogger Sandra Miller said...


This was a terrific post!

Can't tell you how many people have asked "So, did Joseph eat a lot of sweets? Is that, you know, why?"


And I love the quote from Mead.

3:25 PM  
Blogger Kassie said...

well said, all around.

I'm constantly debunking the Steel Magnolias myth!

3:27 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Amen to that!

3:43 PM  
Blogger Kerri. said...

FAN-TASTIC post, LaLa. Started giggling when you referred to Wilford Brimley as "The Oatmeal Guy" and laughed myself under the desk when I read about the whispered "sugar."

Great post!!!

4:01 PM  
Blogger MileMasterSarah said...

hahaha, this is awesome! Thank you!

4:30 PM  
Blogger George said...


FYI - That scene when Julia Roberts is suffering from "Insulin Shock" (i hate that one too) is so funny to me! I sometimes act out that scene just to make my kids laugh.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

I'm a big guy (6'1" and about 260), so I get a lot of that "if you only lost weight" stuff.

I want to reply "really? I think I'll try that. Never crossed my mind before. Now move on before I knock your Chiclets out."

And why is it that everybody and their cousin has some horror story about someone they know who knows someone, etc.

"That's really encouraging, thank you for sharing. Asshole".

Urg. How we contain our frustrations, I'll never know...

11:03 PM  
Blogger justme said...

too many "doctors" in the world...

4:44 AM  
Blogger cHoCoMiLkRoCkS said...

that's a brilliant post! i'm gonna print it out and show my family and friends.

4:30 AM  
Blogger floreksa said...


And the whole "sugar" and "touch of sugar" had me laughing out loud at work!

8:22 AM  
Blogger LaLa said...

Sandra - people asked my mom the same question when I was diagnosed. My mom got super annoyed because she's a school nurse and a total nutrition freak! haha

Kerri - Old WB cracks me up too. I often wonder if he really eats oatmeal everyday and if he really gets his testing supplies through mail. I'm skeptical, to say the least. :)

Scott - I totally busted up laughing when I read "Now move on before I knock your Chicklets out!" That's a keeper - I'm going to have to use that sometime this week!!! haha

1:30 PM  
Blogger BetterCell said...

LaLa.....For the most part, the Public is both ignorant and stupid abt. Diabetes. However, there is no reason to want to know anything abt. any illness/disease unless one is personally involved. Even then, I have encountered Endocrine Fellows(Residents) that are still stupid abt. T1DM and all those that are ready to "cow tow" to the people in white should instead become there own Physician and as knowledgeable as much as is possible about their illness. There are of course some Physicians that do have the knowledge, skill and compassion in treating T1DM......but not many.

11:29 PM  
Blogger JemimaJoy said...

AWESOME POST. if i had a nickel every time the "Diabeetus" police tried to tell me what I should or shouldn't eat, well maybe I wouldn't have such a hard time buying my meds!!! well said!

12:34 PM  

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