Crossing the Great Divide (Continued)
I submit the root cause is ignorance. But not ignorance on the part of persons with diabetes, so much as ignorance on the part of people who don't have diabetes. The most common widely-held myth about diabetes is that people with diabetes "gave" it to themselves by being fat and lazy.
Nothing could be farther from the truth, and to prove it, I submit to you the following evidence:
The national diabetes rate is 8.3% of the population.
The national obesity rate is 33.8% of the population.
If just being fat gave you diabetes, we'd have one hell of a lot more dFolk around. There's more to getting diabetes than just getting fat. Nuff said about that.
Prejudice is a nasty beast, especially when married to ignorance. I'm a type 1, and quite a while back I was working at a large regional medical center. When one of the highly-trained intensive care unit nurses found out I have diabetes, she said to me, "Funny. You don't look like a diabetic."
Yeah. Funny thing. The big red "D" they stamped on my forehead at diagnosis washed off in the shower.
Now remember, this was a medical professional who said that to me. Not just Joe Schmoe off the street. I know another type 1 who nearly went postal after someone said to her, "You're diabetic? Wow! You must have been really fat at one time."
We type 1s deal with this a lot. To the point that there's a movement afoot to change the name of our disease. I can't think of anything that would be a larger waste of time. We should instead be using our energies to educate people, and we need to remember that type 2s didn't give themselves diabetes any more than we did.
So in the interest of bridging the gap, instead of talking about the differences between the two types of diabetes I'd like to focus on what we all have in common. When the body stops dealing well with sugar, we're all pretty much in the same boat. In the long run, it really doesn't matter whether the boat hit a rock or an iceberg. The result is the same: The water is rushing in and if we do not take care of ourselves, we'll be sleeping in Davey Jones' Locker.
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Years before I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, The Other Half came out of a doctor's appointment with a diagnosis of "borderline diabetes" and an ADA exchange diet sheet. His health insurance agency followed up on the diagnosis with a glucometer and test strips. After a year or so of trying to follow the diet plan and test his glucose levels, things appeared to be back in "normal" range, and stood there until a couple of years after my own diagnosis. Shortly...