Crossing the Great Divide (Continued)

Here's my top ten list of things type 1s and type 2s have in common. If I had the time I bet I could come up with 100:

1. We all poke our fingers. How often depends more on our therapy and our insurance coverage, than our type of diabetes.

2. We can all get fat. Yep! It's true. I don't care what type of diabetes you have, if you eat more calories than you burn, you'll put on weight. I know some very, very fat type 1s. I also happen to know some pretty skinny type 2s.

3. Insulin is part of the diabetes story. Granted, my kind needs it sooner, but shots are part and parcel of diabetes. Any type 2 that lives long enough will be shooting up along with us.

4. High blood sugar is an equal-opportunity killer. It doesn't matter if you're type 1 or type 2. High blood sugar can wipe out your kidneys, eyes, nerves, and heart.

5. Diabetes is hard work. Medications, testing, thinking about how we eat and how we move, doctor's visits, lab tests… and even with all this effort, sometimes everything still goes wrong and we all feel equally helpless in the face of our disease.

6. Diabetes is hard on our loved ones. All the worry, none of the control. I'd be willing to bet good money on the "fact" that loving someone with diabetes is harder than having the disease.

7. Diabetes is frickin' expensive. Anyone with any kind of diabetes has a whole lot less disposable income than folks without diabetes. They say misery loves company. I guess poverty does to.

8. Diabetes doesn't like to play alone. The technical term is co-morbidities: Other diseases that cluster around diabetes like suburbs sprawl around cities. Some of diabetes' best friends are heart disease, high cholesterol, funky thyroid stuff, asthma, and liver disease. Oh, and now maybe Alzheimer's, too. I almost forgot to mention that.

9. Both types of diabetes are self-managed diseases. Yes, we have a doc, sometimes an educator. If we're lucky we get to see a specialist from time to time. But diabetes is devilishly complex and the fifteen-minute office visit isn't much help. We're all in the driver's seat when it comes to taking care of ourselves. On one hand, it's liberating, but on the other hand it can be damn frightening.

10. Diabetes never goes away. It's a life sentence.
And that's just the first ten things that popped into my diabetic brain. I think if you sat down and tallied the differences between 1s and 2s against what we have in common you'd find the score board lopsided indeed. We should view ourselves as different branches of the same family tree.

What joins us is so much more that what divides us. We should stand together and speak with one voice. Vote with one voice. Because in matters of treatment, public policy, law, FDA approvals, and public awareness—we stand on common ground.

Great unifications in history:

The thirteen colonies.

The Transcontinental railway.

The United Nations.

The Atlantic Cable.

The World Series.

The Internet

The Arab-Israeli peace accords (Ok, maybe not the best example…)

And hopefully, next, Type-1 and Type-2 dFolk.

Wil Dubois is the author of four multi-award-winning books about diabetes. He is a PWD type 1, and is the diabetes coordinator for a rural non-profit clinic. Visit his blog, LifeAfterDX.

Read more of Wil Dubois' columns here.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

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Last Modified Date: June 05, 2013

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