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Type 1 diabetes

Day 6 #NHPBM: Taking the High Road

 

Day 6 – Tuesday, Nov. 6

News-style post
OR
Write about a time you had to take the high road

The only news I care about today is the election, but I’m too anxious to write a news style post, so I’m going to choose the “high road” post. But in order to do that I wanted to be really sure what that meant. I Googled it and found:

You may have faced moments when you want nothing more than to react loudly when somebody pushes your buttons. Taking the high road will keep the peace. It’s the best way to handle conflict and maintain your own moral high ground.

I’ve had my buttons pushed a number of times regarding my diabetes. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed that I realized that there are deep seated prejudices regarding especially Type 2 diabetes. When I began to participate in message boards and other diabetes communities, I read several posts from people (who either had Type 1 or had children with Type 1 – actually more parents of T1s) who were scornful and/or disgusted by any resources going to people with Type 2 diabetes. I quickly came to realize that many people view Type 2 diabetes as the kind that “fat people get” or people who just eat like pigs and bring it on themselves.

I felt that way myself.

I felt embarrassed and ashamed to have done such harm to my body and felt like I was unworthy of any sort of kindness or attention. Indeed, the same week that I was diagnosed, I attended a solo performance by a woman who had had Type 1 diabetes since childhood. She depicted an alarming/hilarious scene in which she is woken up to have her blood tested by an anxious mother several times a night.  Sitting in the audience, I was thinking, oh wow, there’s my people!

And then she said, “I have Type 1 diabetes! Not the kind that people who eat tons of cheeseburgers get.”

I wanted to crawl underneath my theater seat and die. She was talking about ME, of course. I furtively looked from side to side to see if anyone was going to throw me out of the theater. Of course nobody had a clue what was happening with me.

But that was the beginning of seeing the bias that is out there. The conventional wisdom is that Type 1 diabetics are innocent, and that they have done nothing to “bring it on” themselves. And that Type 2s are to blame for their (our) conditions.

Since those early days I have learned that behavior and lifestyle are only partial factors in Type 2 diabetes. There are some elements of truth in that perception. But a lot of it is based in genetic predisposition, something that none of us can control. There are people who are very inactive and who eat fabulously unhealthy diets, who will never ever get Type 2 diabetes. And there are normal-or-underweight people who run marathons who might.

It’s been hard for me to not feel defensive and attacked when people make “type 2” remarks. And they do it all the time. Sometimes I feel like attacking back. Because honestly, I feel like I am doing the best I damn can.

But then I have to take a deep breath and take the highest road I can find.

Bottom line is, it’s good for ALL of us to make healthier food choices and to be active in our lives. Right?

This is Post #6 (WOW!) of National Health Blog Post Month.

Other bloggers I’ve discovered this month:

• Jess at Team Awesome writes about being thankful. http://www.talesfromteamawesome.com/2012/11/weekly-weigh-in-32-nhbpm.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

• Lorraine climbs on her health activist soapbox

http://thyroid-hope.blogspot.co.uk

 

Trying to Laugh With a Frozen Face

Tonight I went to a solo performance show, featuring four performers who are showcasing their work after a solo performance class that I used to take. It’s great to go to these shows, to check out the new and amazing talent as well as to see old friends and “alums” from the class. It’s truly a fantastic community and one that I dearly love and appreciate.

The show tonight featured two old friends of mine and two “newbies” whom I knew nothing about. I was really anticipating the new stuff.  The third performer opened her act by coming out on stage and whispering, “Shhh……it’s 3 in the morning in a small town in the Midwest. There’s a 13 year old girl in there sleeping, or…?” She morphs into a mother, bending over her daughter’s bed, yelling somewhat hysterically, “HONEY! ARE YOU HAVING A REACTION?!?”

I froze for a moment. Reaction. Reaction. OMG. This was going to be a piece about… could it be? Diabetes. Oh god.

Yes indeedy. It was a piece about diabetes. The actor stepped to the front of the stage to narrate the goings-on. “Yes. I have had diabetes since I was eight years old. I have TYPE ONE diabetes, not to be confused with TYPE TWO diabetes, of which there is an EPIDEMIC these days, because people are running around eating too many Big Macs.”  And then she went on to tell her diabetes life story, getting lots of laughs along the way.

This is when I officially left my body, my back pressed as far back into the seat it would go, and I think I probably missed the next five minutes of the show. I felt attacked, embarrassed, mortified, defensive, shocked.

I’ve only been part of the “diabetes community” for, um… five days now? And in my surfing around on various forums and websites I’ve detected a distinct feeling of animosity and hostility from Diabetes type-1 people toward Diabetes type-2 people. The sentiment seems to be something like, people with type-1 Diabetes are innocent children who did nothing to deserve this terrible fate, while type-2 Diabetes people are obese, sendentary pigs who BROUGHT THIS ON THEMSELVES.

Look. I know that being overweight is a risk factor for developing diabetes. I was overweight for many years (and still am, to a lesser degree). But jeez.

There is so much ignorance and misinformation out there. So of course D1 people feel outraged and indignant when people who Don’t Know Any Better say things like, “you probably ate too many candy bars!” But then to take it out on other people who have diabetes?

Suddenly, I feel tired. And sad.

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