Tuesday, June 30, 2015

This is Diabetes

Typically, I don't get too worked up or defensive about diabetes comments.  I've heard all sorts of things about causes and cures.  Yesterday, the CrossFit CEO chose to put ignorant and insensitive post on the company's social media accounts.
 Today, if you follow DOC social media at all, there has been a tremendous amount of backlash, largely from the T1D community but also from Type 2 advocates and rightly so.  The general public does not know the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 which negates their claim that the Type 1 community should have known they meant Type 2 in their parody.   The assumption made by CrossFit that we all "know" which type they are talking about is unfair for many reasons.  It promotes a stereotype that does a disservice to all types of diabetes.  It is hurtful to those of us that watch our loved ones battle this disease every day and especially to those that have lost people to the disease.  The thing about diabetes is that, no matter what type you have, it is never exactly the same for anyone.  This is why we get defensive.   The company had many opportunities throughout the day to clarify and to apologize and to truly educate.  Sadly, they missed their opportunity and that is really what has gotten under my skin.    Let me show you diabetes.
These three kids live a healthy, active life.  Two of them are going off to college, which opens up a whole new world of worries for this mom.  They have diabetes.  They didn't choose it, they didn't get it from drinking soda, eating fruit snacks, or too many donuts. It can't be cured by diet, exercise, cinnamon, or some magic potion beverage.  In fact, you can see a Powerade in this picture.  That little boy had a blood sugar of 60 when we got to the restaurant.  It was the unplanned effect of too much time swimming.  That sugar saved his life.  It wasn't the first time.  This is diabetes.

These lovely ladies are wearing pancreas necklaces.  Why?  Because they spent their days being TJ's pancreas.  When every other kids was out at recess, they were reviewing his numbers and trying to figure out why today he was high when yesterday he was low at the same time with the same activity and the same snack.  Or helping him to change his pump set because it fell out during PE. Or counting his carbs after lunch so we could be sure he got the right amount of insulin.  This is diabetes.

That little girl in the middle was diagnosed with diabetes at age 4, like my girls.  The other two have been friends since they were 8 years old and first went to diabetes camp.  They teach each other, learn from each other, and commiserate together, even when they are apart.  They truly are "blood sisters."  Somewhere today I read a comment that stated,  "T1 people should relax about the CrossFit post."  He understood that "Type 1 diabetics don't choose it, they are just dealt a bad hand. That's no reason to get defensive. "  Well, yes! I'd say they got a bad hand.  But, these girls bluff their way through finger pokes, set changes, shots, highs and lows and still manage to smile through tears.  This is diabetes.

These pictures represent some of the things a person with diabetes needs to live a healthy life. Granted, we have an obscene amount in our house with 4 of them but this is diabetes.

The big guy in this picture loves sports.  He walks regularly, he tries to eat healthy despite a crazy busy schedule of teaching and coaching.  He hates taking medication of any kind, yet he has to every single day.  These medications that work to keep his foreign kidney functioning, take a toll on the rest of him.  His pancreas can't keep up.  He didn't ask for it, he didn't choose it but he has Type 2.  Now, in addition to his daily dose of pills, he checks his blood sugar and he takes insulin shots.  This is diabetes.

The kids in this picture took their stories to Washington DC as part of JDRF Children's Congress.  A new group will be going in just a few short weeks.  I can tell you more stories about people I personally know: a little girl whose journey with pancreatitis lead her to diabetes, a student in my class whose flu diagnosis turned out to be Type 1, and list goes on.   This is diabetes.

  Here are a couple of links that summarize the differences and the causes much better than I can:  http://goo.gl/On5Szphttp://jdrf.org/life-with-t1d/frequently-asked-questions/   CrossFit, you got it very wrong.  Diabetes of any type is hard work.  People living healthy lives despite it deserve your respect--not shame.