Tag: awareness

Diabetes Shame and Blame

Diabetes Shame and Blame

Having diabetes often makes a visit to the doctor a dreaded experience, as there is invariably bad news of one kind or another.  And sometimes the way the doctor talks to you can leave you feeling like you’re at fault.  Or maybe you have a fantastic healthcare team, but have experienced blame and judgement from someone else in your life – friend, loved one, complete stranger.  Think about a particularly bad instance, how that person talked to you, the words they used and the conversation you had.  Now, the game part.  Let’s turn this around.  If you could turn that person into a puppet, what would you have them say that would leave you feeling empowered and good about yourself?   Let’s help teach people how to support us, rather than blame us!

“Oh you have diabetes? I heard you can cure it with diet and exercise? Is it the bad kind? Did you eat too much sugar as a kid? Why don’t you take care of yourself? If I had diabetes I would be a great diabetic.”

If not dealing with a life-threatening illness that has no cure was difficult already—you also have to deal with the shame and blame that comes along with this disease.

Society has made diabetes such a shameful word.

No one really understands the ramifications associated with stigma. How it affects young children and adults who manage this disease.

It all stems off of unawareness, influence of the media, and lack of education. But how can we be point fingers when even doctors are misinformed?

Diabetes is now characterized as sugary food items, Unicorn Frappuccinos, and BigMacs. People joke and assume that they could get diabetes by consuming these. Which is a huge misconception because diabetes can happen to anyone, at no fault of their own.

Many do not know that there are two types of diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes– which is an autoimmune disease, and Type 2– a metabolic condition. Both of which are very complex chronic conditions.

The real issue behind this is that young babies, children, and adults are at risk of dying from not catching the signs of diabetes in time.

Not only that, but diabetes is serious. It’s as serious as any other disease. It consumes ones’ life and demands constant attention. No one should feel ashamed of their diabetes but should feel self-empowered to manage it.

The more we talk about the issues and raise awareness, the more conversations we can start. And hopefully more lives can be saved.

The stigma needs to end.

The Little Girl With The Sugar Diabetes

The Little Girl With The “Sugar Diabetes”

The Little Girl With The “Sugar Diabetes”

By: April Langston

Hi, my name is April and I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was only 11 months old! Yes, you read that right 11 months! It was winter at the time and I was sick, the doctors kept telling my mom that it was just and ear infection, or just normal flu things that little kids get. They told her she was just an overly worrisome first time mother. Time passed and I continued to get more sick by the day until eventually, I wasn’t able to even recognize my own family.

At that point my parents rushed me to the doctor, my mom said that when the doctor was checking me over he immediately smelled a sweet odor from my diaper.. aka ketones. From there I was rushed to the hospital and then life flighted to KU Med. At KU I spent 11 days in ICU where my family learned how to check blood sugars, give shots, and count points (now known as carb counting). SCARY times!

Throughout my whole life there have been several people that don’t understand what diabetes is and to them I have been known as the little girl with the “sugar diabetes“. You know that kind that doesn’t make you fat, but the kind that you can’t have any sugar. Those of you with diabetes can relate to this I’m sure.

I am now a healthy 26 year old type 1 diabetic! I have gotten married, had two successful pregnancies with diabetes and have had the opportunity to work with other children going through the same struggles. I just celebrated my 25th diaversary!

There has been many ups and downs along the way. Teenage years were especially hard with diabetes. But I made it through. It’s a continuous battle daily, a battle that not everyone understands. Battling the shaky lows, the high blood sugars that make you irritated, the endless needles, and supplies, and blood sugar checks.

The battle is never ending. But we do it anyway. I fight not only for myself but also for my kids, my husband, my family, and friends. This disease may be part of my life, but it will never beat me. I will continue to fight day after day until there is a cure!

I think it is extremely important to raise awareness and to get the facts out about Type 1 diabetes. I also think it is important to know there are others going through what you are going through and that you have support!

With that being said….

To the worried mother or father of a diabetic not old enough to manage the disease themselves, THANK YOU. Thank you for being the rock that gets us through the day. Thank you for the sleepless nights and the endless worrying. Your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.

To the fed up teenager that is just over it.. hang in there, I promise you one day it will get better. Do what you’re supposed to do to take care of yourself and embrace the fact that you are a little different than others around you. It will only make you a stronger person.

To the pregnant type 1 diabetic, constantly worrying about your blood sugars and worrying that you are going to do something wrong. I promise you that checking your blood sugar 10 times a day and constantly adjusting your insulin will soon pay off and you will be more blessed than you ever thought possible. Do the best you can do and know that it is all worth it.

To the diabetic just trying to get through the day. You got this! You will make it, you will kick diabetes butt and you have so much love and support in the T1D community!

Sincerely,
“The little girl with the sugar diabetes”


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