I don’t want to talk about it to you.

25 Mar

I was so ready to write a post about how much I hate being my own advocate, until a brief conversation between friends a last weekend.

One of my friends told me she thought she had diabetes because a friend of hers was experiencing symptoms that she too could relate to. Of course they learned all of this from Dr. Google. It opened up an unexpected discussion about how people freak out about diabetes (typically Type II) and automatically equate diabetes to sugar. We talked about symptoms, how sick Type I’s get before diagnosis, and dealing with it all.

On a regular basis I encounter people who are misinformed. With that typical old school diabetes = “watching your sugar” attitude. I try to keep things simple by saying that there are two main types. Type II being the most common that has to do with insulin resistance, usually due to weight. Type I, an autoimmune disease that requires insulin for survival, typically diagnosed in childhood. When they say stupid things, and I feel like we’ve heard it all as people with diabetes, I just say, “No, that’s probably what you’ve heard, but it’s not true.”

I have enough information about diabetes in my brain that I don’t have to study for the carbohydrate chapter in my nutrition class. I know the role insulin plays in digestion without reading a book, but I am aware that most people don’t care the same way I do.

It’s all about finding the balance. I don’t want to be “Diabetes Jillian”. I don’t want to be the annoying ever-advocate, living with diabetes is enough work, but I also want people to know that there is a lot of misinformation out there. I try to keep it simple, but I usually end up feeling like I could have said or done more.

Someone needs to create a little business card that has the top 5 diabetes myths demystified, so we can all just hand them out when people say something so incredibly wrong about diabetes.

Here’s my Top 5:

  • There are more than two types of diabetes, and the most common types are very different. Neither has a cure.
  • Type I Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that requires constant monitoring and insulin therapy.
  • Type II Diabetes isn’t caused by over consumption of sugar. It’s about insulin resistance, which can be caused by various things like excess body weight and genetics.
  • We count CARBS, not SUGAR.
  • Type I Diabetes is a job, a lifestyle, and a mindset. Just because you don’t see me managing it every minute of the day, doesn’t mean there isn’t complicated management going on. I’m doing the work of a vital organ with my brain and imperfect technology.

What’s your top 5?

Who wants to make the handouts?

Basket Case – Sara Bareilles

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