Tag: diabetes awareness

I Am Not My Diagnosis

I am NOT my diagnosis

By: Shaily Parmar


“You don’t look diabetic?”

“Did you eat too much sugar as a kid?”

“So does your sugar stays high or low?”

“Can you eat that?”

“But you’re not even fat!!!?”

“You should try alternate therapy”

“Please don’t do that in front of me!”

“I thought only kids have type 1!” (Seriously?!)

“I don’t know how you puncture yourself several times a day/I could never be a diabetic …”

Like we could make the choice not to have it!!

Being a type 1 diabetic, you must have probably heard one or more of the above things and many more other responses when you tell someone for the first time that you are a diabetic.

I was 21, when I was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic with a BG of 553. So I have spent more time with my active pancreas than my other type 1 friends who were diagnosed at a much early age. I know it’s a huge amount to take in when you’re newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The memory of the moment of the diagnosis is a profound one. The moment that distinctly sep the past and the future. A choice is made for you without your consent. It’s usually a huge shock and we wonder how we’re going to cope with such life-altering news.

Most of us are misinformed, have little or no idea about this auto-immune disease. It’s not unusual. I, for one, had absolutely no clue about type 1 diabetes prior to being diagnosed. I was hospitalized for a week.

After I was discharged, I tried handling this new world of diets, medications and monitoring blood glucose levels. Life style changes that I made were not so difficult but they were not so straightforward either.

It could be overwhelming and terrifying and naturally one would feel that: ‘Now my life will be limited. This disease will weigh me down’, but fortunately I felt no such hindering emotions.

I don’t know why but from the moment I was diagnosed I accepted the fact that this is happening and I needed to readily accept it to control it before it could control me and my life. I knew this was life’s reality. I had to do what was required and I did. There is no escape, especially not by repeatedly asking, ‘Why me?’

There is denial first, then there is bargaining, then comes acceptance and then finally the peace of acceptance.

The faster you accept it, the easier it becomes to live with it. I wouldn’t say to get over it because you cannot get over it. But yes eventually it becomes easy to carry it with you. We all come to terms with having diabetes in our own way and at our own pace.

There are challenges everyday in living with type 1, injecting yourself with insulin and pricking your fingers to check your blood sugar multiple times a day being the most challenging and painful(yet tolerable). You’ll hear this remark from others from time to time: “How could you do this to yourself every day? I could not.”

But I say, “Yes, you could.” It takes 15 seconds to take one insulin shot. Four times such shots adds to one minute. It takes probably 8 seconds to check blood sugar. Doing it (at least) three times takes 25 seconds. So that sums up to only a minute and half in your entire day.

I think I can manage that because I love my life and want to keep living it.

I know it isn’t just one day. Its going be everyday for the rest of your life until a cure is found. No breaks. No vacations. Wherever you go diabetes will ride along with you. But isn’t your life worth it?

Taking timely insulin shots, eating healthy and following a decent exercise regime should ensure good control; still it is highly possible not to get normal blood sugars. But hey that’s why you’re called a diabetic!

The thing is that even after doing everything right sometimes you won’t get perfect blood sugars. It’s not easy and it’s tricky but don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t live up to those expectations. Give yourself some room to make mistakes.

Managing diabetes is a huge learning curve. A curve that never stops teaching. So be a constant learner.

Higher the mountain, treacherous the path. There will a lot of blood sugar swings which can and will get your emotions messed up. Don’t get discouraged if things don’t go as you planned.

It is a progression over time. Gather as much knowledge as you can. We are all trying our best and we can’t let diabetes get the best of us. Just remember there are bigger problems than a 4mm needle.

I thought I have got it all sorted out. Eat right (and by eat right I don’t mean give up your favorite food). Count carbs. Take your shot. Check blood sugar. Too high? Take correction dose. Check again. Too low? Have a snack. Be physically active. Don’t take stress. Sleep well. Repeat. Day after day it’s a silent battle. No finish line. So is that it? Sounds simple! But that’s an oversimplification.

It is far more complicated than I could precisely explain because food and taking insulin are few of the hundred other things that affect blood sugar.

The other hundred things play a huge part and they are hard to calculate. Of course we are required to be consistent in our efforts but that doesn’t guarantee a consistency in blood sugars.

I have been a diabetic for almost 5 years now and I am still learning. You change one factor and then there is a whole new curve to learn.  Some good days everything is so smooth and simply a part of routine, like brushing your teeth. And on some not-so-good-days, diabetes is determined to break our spirits. And in days like these, the fear of long term complications haunts us.

Although this fear never quite eludes us. There can be too much negativity and darkness in battling with type 1. Please don’t let one cloud obliterate the whole sky.

Diagnosed with non- preventable, irreversible disease is a life-transforming event. It could take you on a roller coaster of emotions. In the blink of an eye, your life is changed. Your ambitions, desires and priorities need re-adjustment. Those spontaneous plans you used to make, now needs planning ahead and always being primed to avoid the worst simultaneously being prepared if things don’t go as predicted.

Doing the same thing a hundred times and getting different results. Living just like others with school, jobs, and sports but with just a few extra hassles. Looking just like everyone else knowing we are not just like everyone else. Why? Because when diabetes allotted us the task of performing the job of an internal organ, it also gave us adequate strength to be one.

Diabetes gives us tears, yet it also makes us proud of ourselves. If diabetes has given you a huge responsibility, it has also made you mature beyond your age. I have never met an immature diabetic! It scares you but also gives you courage and hope that you’re not alone. Hope that a cure will be found.

Yes, my life has changed. I believe it has changed for better.

I have a wonderful life. A loving family. Amazing doctors and fantastic friends. I have not lost my dreams to diabetes. I have obtained a significant knowledge about diabetes. Education and encouragement are what we need to live longer and better lives. You’re NOT your diagnoses. You’re a fighter. You have a mission and a purpose. And if despite all these, I am here and if I can do it then you can too.

Let me conclude this with a quote from Mary Anne Radmacher, especially for those who are newly diagnosed, and for those who are struggling with diabetes and looking for inspiration-

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

After all, we have tomorrows for a reason!


when it's not the flu - life threatening illness

When It’s Not The Flu: A Life-threatening Illness That Is Commonly Misdiagnosed

It is fairly common when someone becomes thirsty, tired, nauseous, or begins vomiting they’re diagnosed with the flu. While it very may well be the flu, it could also be Type 1 Diabetes and should always be ruled out. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the beta cells in the pancreas and therefore can no longer produce insulin.

Type 1 Diabetes isn’t always the first cause that comes to mind because diabetes is thought to be linked to diet and obesity. But Type 1 Diabetes is not a result of lifestyle choices. There is no known cause or cure at this time. But researchers believe genetics and environmental factors can play a role in the onset.

Normally Type 1 Diabetes isn’t considered until the adult or child is severely ill with DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis). Diabetic Ketoacidosis is a toxic condition where the blood sugar levels rise and can’t distribute energy to the cells in the body due to lack of insulin.

For someone that was initially diagnosed with the flu, they would soon notice the symptoms not getting better but progressively worse; over a few days to weeks. However, time is very crucial to begin treatment for diabetes in order to avoid varies complications or death.

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes can come on suddenly

There has been many cases where a patient has been sent home with the flu. Without further evaluating if it could possibly be Type 1 Diabetes. A mother of type 1 diabetic (Amy Waddington) shares about her son’s diagnosis and hopes her story can help educate and inform others of Type 1 Diabetes and the symptoms to be aware of.

Mother states: 

“3 years ago he was 13. He was eating and drinking like a typical teenager yet he was fading away. He had energy of a 90 year old man, he was pale, his eyes were sunken in, his clothes were hanging off his bony body because he had lost about 15 pounds. We took him to his pediatrician, desperately wanting answers. We were told to “bring him back next week if he still wasn’t feeling well.”

“Two days later, my dear friend came over. She looked at my son and instantly started sobbing. It was then when I realized I wasn’t waiting until next week. I quickly took him to the emergency room. The triage nurse took one look at him and asked me if he was diabetic. Of course I said no. She said she smelled a fruity odor on his breath. I wasn’t really sure what she meant by that. She immediately rushed us to the back…within seconds of getting there they were pumping insulin into his failing body. I felt like I was watching the show ER…it was so scary.”

not the flu - type 1 diabetes symptoms“I did not know then, what I know now. We could of lost our son that night, or that weekend had we not taken him to the hospital when we did. His body was starving for insulin. His pancreas was no longer producing it. One more day without insulin and our story could be different. I believe God used my friend to spare my son’s life and he is now using us to share our story & educate people about this horrible disease.”

If you or your child are experiencing these symptoms, consult with your physician immediately for further testing.

All it takes is a simple blood glucose test that takes 2 seconds to rule out diabetes. To have an accurate diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes a test for the diabetes-related (islet) autoantibodies is necessary. Once starting insulin therapy, monitoring blood glucose levels, and consulting regularly with an endocrinologist; Type 1 Diabetes can be well managed.

“The misdiagnosis of type 1 diabetes is on the rise. Educate yourself, your family and your friends on the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes as minutes make all the difference.” –Dancing4Diabetes

For more information on Type 1 Diabetes:

http://www.jdrf.org/about/about-type-1-diabetes-t1d/

https://beyondtype1.org/what-is-t1d/

http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/recently-diagnosed/

Things Only a Person With Diabetes Would Understand

Things Only a Person With Diabetes Would Understand

By: Rachel Murray


I think the most frustrating part about Type 1 Diabetes is there is no breaks with it, you can’t just turn it off when you’re tired or when your sick of it. You can’t just stop thinking about it because you can’t be bothered for a day.

You can’t just do day-to-day things like eat foods, exercise, shower etc, without taking diabetes into consideration. You can’t leave the house without double checking that you have all your supplies, it’s also trying to find the room for supplies in your bag, finding the time and space to fit spare cannulas, reservoirs, insulin, blood glucose meters, sugar, snacks etc.

It’s pulling out the meter out in public and getting “oh whats that?”, or doing an injection and getting comments like “ah does that hurt?” “If I had to do that everyday I would die haha!”

Or getting told to go do your injection in the bathroom because it’s “disturbing” someone’s meal. It’s the comments you receive like “why don’t you just go on a diet?” , “so you can’t have sugar”, “you don’t look overweight”.

 

It’s remembering that not everyone will understand your disease, and trying not to get frustrated when they don’t understand. It’s frustrating because you can be fine one minute, and then passed out on the floor the next and the fear of falling asleep and not waking up again.

It’s the reminder that you will never live a full life if you don’t look after your diabetes. Doctors say that I could die “earlier” than “normal people”. I may go blind, I may have limbs amputated, my kidneys may fail, plus hundreds of more complications.

It’s the feeling as if you have everything under control, and then it just flips in a matter of hours or even minutes.

It’s the frequent hospital visits and admissions. Its the nagging you receive from your parents and your endocrinologist when you accidentally slip up every once in a while.

It’s the “why me” feeling, “why did I get chosen…”

It’s the having nobody to understand that blood glucose fluctuations can and will affect my moods, and I may not always be able to control it.

It’s the missing out on things, or just wanting to lay around all day because my blood sugars aren’t perfect.

It’s the late nights, getting up every 2 hours or more often, just to check the blood glucose machine reads over 4 so you don’t have a fit in your sleep.

It’s watching peoples disappointment when they see you struggling or not trying.

diabetes and the unexpected - diabetes blog week

 

It’s the disrespectful and frustrating comments that absolutely kill you inside, but you have to laugh it off anyways and pretend it was a good joke, like “Why are you shooting up in public, haha!”… “Oh you’re such a druggo, haha!”… as your thinking to yourself “laugh it off and praying that they will go away and leave you alone…”

As much as I have tried to accept my life threatening disease, I accept that unless the health professionals find a cure for my life, then this is my life forever.

I can’t help it.

I sometimes hate the way I have to live and often think of my life being better if i wasn’t around.

I can’t help think of the two words, “why me”.

I can’t help but think “why can’t my pancreas just produce insulin like a normal person does?”

And then I think…“Why can’t I be normal”.

But this is your life and you just have to keep going.


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What It’s Like To Live With Type 1 Diabetes

What It’s Like To Live With Type 1 Diabetes

By: Valeria Guerrero

What’s it like?

It’s pricking your finger endlessly throughout the day.

It’s not being afraid of blood because you get used to seeing so much of it.

It’s no longer feeling tremor to a needle because you’ve had no choice than to be poked by them every day.

It’s being woken up countless times throughout the night to fix blood sugars that just won’t become stable.

It’s waking up feeling hung over because your sugars were high all night no matter the amount of corrections you gave yourself.

It’s not being able to eat whatever you want before carb counting and analyzing how it will affect your sugars later.

It’s having to put on a fake smile every time you have to explain to someone that type 1 and type 2 diabetes are NOT the same thing.

It’s not being able to go a single work out without stressing if you’re going to go too low, drop too fast or go high.

It’s seeing all the scars all over our tummy, arms and legs from all the site changes and pokes and just cry.

It’s people staring at you while you poke yourself and watching you like something is wrong with you.

It’s people telling you “you can’ t have that” or “should you be eating that?”

It’s people assuming you have type 2 when you say you have diabetes.

It’s watching people look at you like you’re breaking the law by having a candy.

It’s asking yourself what you did wrong because you got this disease even when they say it isn’t your fault.

It’s remembering what it was like before being diagnosed and feeling nostalgic.

It’s struggling with money and possibly going into debt because supplies are just so expensive.

Photo Credit: Josie Nicole

It’s wanting to cry whenever you hear a representative say “your insurance doesn’t cover that entirely so your out of pocket cost will be…”

It’s seeing a medical bill in the mail and getting a knot in your throat.

It’s thinking of all the money you could’ve had if you didn’t have diabetes.

It’s watching people turn their head away when you’re about to poke your finger or give yourself a shot.

It’s watching your mom walk out of the hospital room because she wasn’t able to handle watching you give yourself your first shot.

It’s worrying if you will wake up the next day because you don’t know how your sugars will be throughout the night.

It’s being terrified to think about even having babies in the future because you’re terrified there might be complications.

It’s feeling lost and in a haze when you’re going low.

It’s panicking that you don’t have a juice box around that you’re dropping too fast.

It’s waking up in the middle of the night dripping in sweat as your body is begging for sugar.

Photo Credit: Ashlyn M.

It’s not being able to go straight back to sleep after a low because you have to wait until you come back up.

It’s eating anything and everything in your fridge when you have a low sugar.

It’s avoiding anyone who is sick because you don’t want to get sick and have to deal with high blood sugars.

It’s the possibility of ending up in the hospital over a stupid cold.

It’s finding test strips everywhere you could possibly think of.

It’s looking like robotron with so many devices connected to you (CGM, pump).

It’s your pump tubing getting caught on something and tearing out and trying not to scream in pain while trying to stop the bleeding.

It’s having people ask you and assume that your CGM is a nicotine patch.

It’s people telling you to correct your blood sugars over and over when little do they know that you’ve been trying everything you could for hours.

It’s having to go to the doctor every 3 months.

It’s having to have medical insurance no matter what.

It’s having to throw out a vial of insulin that has gone bad and just thinking about the money that you just threw away.

It’s ensuring you have all your supplies anytime you plan to leave the house.

It’s the fear that it’s too much for a loved one to handle and love you for.

It’s wanting and praying that your mom will eventually try to learn more about the disease so she understands you a little bit better.

It’s wanting your loved ones to know how you feel to know how hard it is; that this isn’t easy but knowing they don’t.

It’s being in denial for years after being diagnosed because you don’t want to accept it.

It’s worrying more if you have enough money for your supplies more than buying a shirt you’ve been wanting for months.

It’s having to always have a purse with you because you have to carry your supplies with you. It’s hating the word “disability” because it makes you feel less of a person.

It’s the feeling that no one gets you because everything you feel is invisible.

It’s arguing with your dad and having to yell at him that your sugars are high and that it only makes you more irritable.

It’s arguing with your boyfriend over the stupidest things because your blood sugars are high.

 

It’s your friends getting upset with you because you tell them you can’t go out for some reason, but in reality diabetes just has you feeling like shit.

It’s putting up listening to people who think they know more than you on this disease.

It’s having to be okay with death because in reality, it’s a possibility at any given time with this disease.

It’s seeing all the people who pass away from this disease and feeling your heart drop to your stomach because you know that could be you.

It’s having people tell you “there will be a cure soon” but you just feel like soon is never soon enough.

It’s not worse than cancer but this stays with you forever.

It’s not something I would ever wish on my worst enemy.

It’s hard. Man, does it get hard.

It isn’t easy. There’s so much more to it. More than anyone could see or understand. I could go on forever. There are and have been so many times where I want to give up. Where I just want to go a day or two without the pokes. To try and feel “normal” again.

But I know I can’t. I know better. Because my life depends on it. But it has shaped me into who I am today. I thank God every day because I could’ve been one of the many children who die from a misdiagnosis. I was close to it. But I didn’t. I believe and I know I am stronger than what people believe me to be.

I have gone through hell and back. There will be rainy days. But the sun will always shine again. No matter how hard the rain may have beat down on me. But I won’t let diabetes win. 

What It's Like Living With Type 1 Diabetes

 

“With my chin up, I still stand here. Strong. I wear these scars proudly. I’m a warrior. No blood sugar nor person will tell me otherwise.”

-Valeria Guerrero, Type 1 Diabetic


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Nobody Is Aware Of Diabetes

No One Is Aware Of Diabetes

No One Is Aware Of Diabetes

I wake up today with no saliva in my mouth and a dire quench for thirst. My insulin pump is still giving me insulin. I’m still hooked up to medical devices, but my body is resistant. Maybe due to illness, hormones, or because it’s a Tuesday. My blood sugars are high, much higher than a normal persons blood sugars. I’m tired, fatigued, and the feeling of mortality creeps in. I go to correct with insulin, drink water, and attempt to bring this down. But I know this won’t be the last time I experience this.


But no one notices.

I spent my day monitoring my blood sugars, calculating and measuring how much insulin to give myself. My dosing is only an educated guess, and I have to make these decisions everyday in order to stay alive. But nothing is ever the same or perfect. I’m constantly on a tightrope, hoping not to fall. I’ll do the same thing every single day but receive different results.

When I go to pick up my insulin from the pharmacy, I get this overwhelming sense of sadness. I realize that the same insulin that keeps me alive comes with a huge price. Insulin is one of the most expensive drugs in the United States, and yet I can’t survive without it. Financially, this disease has crushed me. I’m in debt just for trying to stay alive.

But no one cares.

Once I get home, I receive a notification that my blood sugar is low and dropping fast. I feel lightheaded, disorientated, and starving for glucose (energy). I go to the kitchen to grab anything I can find to raise my blood sugar. I feel alone, helpless, and I’m fighting to survive. It’s a near death experience, that I’ve experienced many times. A low feels like my body is shutting down. A low enough number could cause me to go unconscious, have a seizure, coma, or death.

But no one is aware.

The night follows with finding a diabetes joke going viral on the internet. Where it’s mocking the disease, assuming it’s caused by being lazy and eating poorly. This is where I stop and realize that no one notices, no one cares, and no one is aware because nobody actually knows about diabetes.

No one knows that diabetes kills more people than AIDS and Breast Cancer combined. No one knows that diabetes can be caused by an autoimmune disease. No one knows that children are dying from this disease. No one knows the overwhelming sense of fear of not knowing if your blood sugar will withstand the night. No one knows how it feels to experience the highs and lows.

No one knows of our desperation for a cure…

…Except the person living with diabetes.
And those caring for them.


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We Are Dying For a Cure

We Are Dying For a Cure

We Are Dying For a Cure

By: Eddy Murphy

 

I’ve fought off writing about diabetes in an honest and truthful way for almost fifteen years. I guess it’s taken me that long to come out of a state of denial, becoming more intimate with it than anything I’ve ever been passionate about.

Perhaps my shame is what has gotten the best of me. I never wanted to admit that, by default, I was weaker than everyone else around me. It has taken me this long to realize that I’m stronger than everyone I know.

I’ve hazily confronted death more than fifty times, waking up in a hospital more than once, or coming to my senses watching my mother wince in pain, holding her belly, saying I inadvertently punched her in the gut while in the throes of a hypoglycemic seizure.

We were both soaked in orange juice turning sticky, when whatever sugar made its way into my bloodstream, brought me back from the brink of death. And because of times like these, it has been hard for me to accept my worth as a human being.

I hate drawing insulin out of a syringe, knowing it could be my last.

I hate doing my necessary rituals of survival in front of my friends, backpacking through the mountains of my heart, because, in the moment, everything else is beautiful.

I just want to revel in the earth that is my home, and then I have to confront this ugly thing, grab it by the horns and tell it I’m not going anywhere. Not now. I’m going to live this moment.

There’s this superficial feeling I get, where I am validating myself by taking type 1 diabetes on, thirty miles from nowhere while experiencing the most beautiful places I have ever been. As if I’m doing things most other people are afraid to do, while being at the mercy of the whims of an overpriced drug that I have to love and hate simultaneously. It is a feat to come out of every trip into the mountains unscathed, deflecting a scythe with a smile.

Before, I would have life-altering lows to bring me out of my denial. I would only check my sugars 3 or so times a day, not catching highs until way beyond their reign. And seldom would I realize I was two glucose tabs away from death, getting closely reacquainted with diabetes when my hands began to seize and I couldn’t speak. Thankfully, circumstances have worked in my favor all these years. Someone was there, or I caught the tail end of consciousness before things went too far down.

Now, I’m a man. A man who feels his age and more. I love a woman with every flame left in my soul. I am grateful that someone accepts me for all my shortcomings; more importantly, I am grateful that someone appreciates the enormity of my life’s battle. What a human thing it is to love. It is the music of the human experience and I get to embrace it after all these years of not feeling human anymore.

Consequentially, I feel the need to revel in every moment I spend with this beautiful person. My life has been an imitation of the real thing for fifteen years until now. Love knows no diseases. Because of this, I am even more angrier now than ever before about the ugly greed of the pharmaceutical companies, the FDAs lackadaisical approach to pushing forward a potential cure/cure’s, and the ignorance of the general public to the suffering of 1.2 million people who have been stripped of a future.

I mean this in every sense. 1.2 million people in this country could die at any moment, yet ‘with proper management could live a happy and fulfilling life’.

Because of the requirement of insulin and the perpetuity of type 1 diabetes, it is a cash cow for large pharmaceutical companies and doctors across the country. And if my life ends in tragedy, I can be blamed by citing “improper management”. At least they got their bag of silver, and will still do so as long as this disease remains with a cure and profitable.

So for now, my wallet is being squeezed dry, and I’m being forced to be grateful for just being alive. I have no assets. I will never be able to afford the land in Montana I want. In truth, I am living in what would amount to Great Depression standards of living. And the public doesn’t know or care because the majority of the media attention is given to type 2 diabetes.

No one gives heed to our deadly fight because diabetes as a whole is linked to laziness and poor diet.

In the meantime, all of our non-type 1 friends will continue to make jokes about us shooting up drugs and having too much sugar as a kid. Many in the support community are cute about type 1. “Christmas is a time to be grateful” and “T1D looks like me”. I am not sure if censorship helps the cause. Trying to make others aware of this dangerous disease by dodging the real tragedy of it is what has stunted any real instigation of progress in the type 1 activism culture. Victims cower in the corner, unsure of how to convince the general public of the need for a cure.

The last fifteen years I resigned my unworthiness to type 1 diabetes, and couldn’t fathom the heroics of what I did by walking through the mountains to improve my life. I couldn’t fathom my own significance in educating people about the injustices we face everyday, and the urgency of this moment.

We are dying for a cure.  


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Fuller House Misinfroms Viewes With a Joke About Juvenile Diabetes

Fuller House Misinforms Viewers With a Joke About Juvenile Diabetes

(Courtesy of Netflix)

Last week season 2 of Fuller House (sequel to the original Full House) hit Netflix. A popular sitcom that many have grown up with, watched, or have heard of.

As soon as the season was released on Netflix, many of those in the diabetes community shared their thoughts of disappointment. About a comment that was made in a Halloween episode referencing “Juvenile Diabetes“.

The scene is of one of the child’s friends saying how “uncool” the Fuller House was for giving out raisins instead of candy, and for handing out Juvenile Diabetes pamphlets.

While the comment is used for comedy as a punchline; it’s a misconception that sugar causes diabetes and it feeds into the stigma many live with everyday. Juvenile Diabetes also known as (Type 1 Diabetes) is an autoimmune disease and can cause serious complications or death if not properly treated.

Sugar will NOT cause “Juvenile Diabetes”.

Childhood obesity is a real issue and raises the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, but there is absolutely no link between obesity and Juvenile Diabetes or (Type 1 Diabetes).

Having such a lovable and relatable cast, it’s important for these influencers to understand the impact that is made. Stating that diabetes is linked to sugar and unhealthy food gives the assumption or notion that if you eat healthy you will never get diabetes. Which is very untrue!

The joke isn’t ideal for people living with diabetes or their loved ones. But it’s an optimum opportunity to educate and to set the record straight.

For just educating one person, could make a world of difference.

Diabetes Isn’t a Punchline To Your Joke

Diabetes Isn’t a Punchline To Your Joke

For as long as I’ve had diabetes I’ve been battling the stigma associated with this disease. Even though diabetes has been around for such a long time, it’s still a hard wall to break down.

The ever so common assumptions:

Sugar causes diabetes

If I eat this — I’ll get diabetes

Diabetes is caused by being lazy, poor diet, and from being inactive.

All of which are FALSE

These assumptions place blame and guilt on those that could have never prevented getting the disease in the first place.

Yes, there are two different types of diabetes. Type 2, which the body isn’t producing enough insulin and diet and exercise play a role in management. But with Type 1 Diabetes an autoimmune disease (which I have) my body doesn’t produce insulin at all. There is nothing I did to cause it and there is no cure.

So this week on World Diabetes Day I came across a post by a popular food Facebook page (not mentioning names) but they posted a video named “The Diabetes Pizza”. My first thought was “oh this must be a nice healthy recipe”. WRONG. It was a video showing the toppings and ingredients that included things like: candy, bacon, and unhealthy food choices.

I was astonished that “this pizza” was representing diabetes as a punchline. Yes, I have a sense of humor and can enjoy a good laugh. But really, on World Diabetes Day of all days? Kind of ironic! It wasn’t the joke that bothered me. I get it. It’s the underlying message for others not aware of diabetes. This is diabetes awareness month after all. Diabetes is not a joke or a laughing matter.

Diabetes Isn't a Punchline To Your Joke

Say for example someone is not aware of diabetes and starts experiencing symptoms. Their first thought might be — “it can’t be diabetes because I eat healthy and I’m not overweight”. These stereotypes and misconceptions can inhibit someone’s perception of this disease and delay diagnosis which raises the risk of complications or death.

I went ahead and brought it to the attention of the diabetes community. Where one parent of a diabetic thought it would be a great idea to post memes and awareness facts on their post to get the message across and many other diabetics and family members soon followed. Yes, it seems redundant and pointless to some. But if at all it can save ONE life, that’s at that really matters.

The post was later taken down the following day, not sure as to why. But regardless, I think that was one small victory in our favor. Not because someone posted something funny about diabetes, and we just didn’t like it. But because we had a voice for diabetes. We raised awareness for a disease that is serious, life-threatening and affects our lives everyday.

It could have easily been a day where someone told a joke about diabetes where many are the brunt of the joke. But instead, it was a day where we stood up for our disease and risen above the stigma.

Happy Diabetes Awareness Month!

Let’s End Diabetes Stigma!

What Is Type 1 Diabetes? A Video That Shows What Can Not Be Put Into Words

What Is Type 1 Diabetes? A Video That Shows What Can Not Be Put Into Words.

What Is Type 1 Diabetes? A Video That Shows What Can Not Be Put Into Words

Hearing the diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes is a day that leaves you in complete despair.

What Is Type 1 Diabetes? “I’ve never heard of it before.” “Is it the bad kind?” “What did I do wrong?” “Why me?”

A million thoughts go through your head. You may feel helpless, angry, sad, confused, desperate. Wanting answers.. but the answers you’re looking for are nowhere to be found.

No amount of training can prepare you for what’s ahead. You’re now navigating through life dependent on insulin. The same insulin that saves one’s life also has the ability to take it away.

With several injections a day and thousands a year. Finger sticks, counting carbs, eating for lows, correcting for highs, long days, and sleepless nights.

Living in a reality that your life is always at risk. That there is no breaks. It’s now 24/7/365/. You have no choice in the matter.

It keeps you awake from a sound sleep, takes you away from a meeting, interrupts a night out with friends, and all of the things others wouldn’t normally have to worry about.

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

It’s the mother’s and father’s who act as their child’s pancreas. Helping their child build the strength to take this disease on themselves.

The children who go to school packed with snacks and juice boxes. Taking the necessary breaks to tend to their diabetes.

Teenagers who have to buy clothes and handbags to carry their medical devices, syringes, test strips, and emergency essentials.

Diabetic mother’s and father’s who juggle raising a family while having to attend to their own needs before their children’s.

What is Type 1 Diabetes? 

This is it. This video shows what others don’t see. Visually displaying the daily struggles and adversities that are difficult to put into words.

(Song by artist Nick Jonas that is dedicated to his diabetes and describes when he was first diagnosed)

Type 1 Diabetes is facing a challenging and life-threatening disease head-on. Conquering fears and finding strength. Appreciating life more because one has to fight to hold on to it every day. The highs and the lows, the ups and the downs…it only makes you stronger.

As ugly and troublesome this disease may be, it turns those affected into bold, courageous individuals. Living off the mere glimpse of hope and faith that if we push through just a little bit longer—we’ll be fine.

What I Wish Others Could Understand About Diabetes

What I Want Others To Understand About Diabetes

What I Want Others To Understand About Diabetes

Diabetes is an invisible illness. It can’t be explained in a few short words, nor can you fully understand diabetes unless you personally endure it.

I’m constantly explaining to others what it takes to take care of myself on a daily basis. That it wasn’t caused by poor eating or lack of exercise, and there isn’t a simple fix and everyday brings its own challenges.

As much as I’m tired of battling this disease every day. I’m also tired of feeling misunderstood. I’m tired of being judged and feeling like I have to explain myself. I want others to understand about diabetes and how it’s not a food disease.

Diabetes isn’t just a matter of taking insulin and watching what I eat. Our bodies are meant to work like machines, where the pancreas is a vital organ and plays a huge part in keeping our bodies functioning properly by dispersing energy to sustain life. Mine just happens not to work, so by taking insulin it keeps me alive and I have to do the work in place of my pancreas.

The big misconception surrounding diabetes is that “insulin is a cure” to which it is NOT.

I’m not a pancreas, I’m only a human trying to act as one, and everything is done with trial and error. I could do the same thing every day and still receive different results. Everything has to be considered for example: what I eat, how much insulin I take, my activity levels, stress, hormones, sickness, and the list goes on. It’s like walking a tight rope, trying to stay in between the lines, while combating factors thrown at me that I can’t always control.

Diabetes not only affects me, but millions of others, and all very differently.

I wish more people could understand diabetes for how it truly affects those that battle it every day, including the families. This disease not only takes a toll physically but mentally.

 

What I Want Others To Understand About Diabetes:

That when I’m quiet or having a bad day, it just means I’m fighting my hardest.

Even though I take the insulin that I need to stay alive, there is still many highs and lows, ups and downs. I still don’t feel great all the time. The same insulin that’s meant to keep me alive, is the same one that can take my life away. 

If I pass on eating something you offer to me, it’s not that I don’t want to eat it. But it might not be the best choice for me at the time.

When I’m feeling tired, it’s not always about how much sleep I got the night before. This “tired” doesn’t go away.

When my blood sugars are low or high, my emotions tend to be everywhere, and it has nothing to do with you. So please don’t take it personally.

That just because I’ve had diabetes for “x amount of years” doesn’t mean I’ll master this disease down to a T. Managing diabetes is an art not a science.

Diabetes is frustrating and makes me feel weak at times when I’m fighting to be strong. I’m exhausted from fighting and working as my pancreas.

I can’t be as spontaneous as I’d like to be. I always have to take in account my diabetes first and plan around that.

I can have sugar just like you, as long as it’s in moderation and with proper insulin dispersion.

Matter of fact, I don’t have limitations. I just have to listen to my body.

why managing diabetes is a full-time job

My A1C (average blood glucose test) does NOT define me. It does no justice to the blood, sweat, and tears I put into this.

I don’t wish to be compared to other diabetics. We all fight our own unique battle. With our own journey, obstacles to overcome, and story to tell.

Most importantly, I don’t want to be pitied. There’s far worse, but at the same time I want others to understand the severity of this disease and that it shouldn’t be minimized or feel less important.

My hopes for the future consist of a cure. A cure that will not only free me but millions of others battling everyday. Even while it is manageable, it is still life threatening.

By giving others the opportunity to understand about what I go through and why I avidly talk about it, it will help others become more aware of this disease. And therefore making coping for those battling much easier until a cure is found.


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