Posted by: kellydh | September 28, 2007

“There is no such thing as mild diabetes”

Most of the afternoon today has been spent working on an advocacy toolkit that I am developing for youth in regards to the upcoming World Diabetes Day (the whole kit should be posted up here shortly). In the process of pulling together literature et cetera, I found this quote in the : “there is no such thing as mild diabetes”

Dang it.wdd07_booklet_cover_en_250px.jpg

In my experience as a diabetic, I feel that I’ve done a complete 180. When I was first diagnosed 5 and a half years ago, I couldn’t imagine talking about diabetes. It was easier for me to just take my shots, and pretend that it never happened. I rarely spoke about it with my friends; I hated having this thing, this disease that set me apart (this was back in the good ol’ high school days). The word alone used to make me cringe. Admittedly, I end up saying the word more than I like these days what with my work in advocacy and with NN, but that doesn’t stop me.

Diabetes. Diabetes diabetes diabetes. There – I said it.

But now, I find it soooo much easier to talk about diabetes than to actually take care of it. Fears of being a complete hypocrite aside, talking about helping other people with diabetes in some ways can be a lot simpler than the daily routine and frustrations that come with a diabetic life. To be honest, my bloodsugars have been all over the map. We joke that the graph looks like buckshot, but the prospect of straightening out all those random little dots can be oh so daunting.

When I’m talking about diabetes on the larger, worldwide scale, it’s hard to connect the intensity of this epidemic to what is going on inside my body. And, for that matter, what is going on in there?? I know the specifics of diabetes (I am a biologist, after all), but somehow I don’t always know how to relate my knowledge of the outside world to my personal habits.

I work to take care of myself; testing blood sugars about 10 times per day, wearing the almighty insulin pump, begrudgingly going to see the doctor and facing those A1c’s every so often, avoiding the “bad foods,” and so on and so forth. But, it’s true, there is no such thing as a mild case of diabetes. Diabetes is not a mild disease. And sometimes, it just doesn’t work the way you want it to. Five .5 years, and I have complications (stupid stomach, damn you!), and now I need to do more than just talk about diabetes. I need to realize that I have more than a “mild” case, and that I do have a disease that sets me apart from my friends, and I need to keep learning how to better take care of it.

I still don’t like the word, though.


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