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Raising Awareness

Today I’m feeling a mixture of frustration and determination.  The frustration comes from reading, yet again, comments after an online article that imply that people with type 2 diabetes caused their condition.  Those comments were made by parents of children with type 1, for the most part.  That fact increases my frustration because, not only do we have to battle the general public but, even those folks within our own community don’t understand type 2.  How can we change that?  What can we do?  That’s where my determination kicks in.

My initial response to these comments was sadness and defeat.  While I’m still feeling those emotions to some extent, they didn’t control me for very long.  Now I’m feeling a heightened level of determination.  I am determined to continue to do all I can to crush the myths about type 2 diabetes and raise awareness both inside and outside our community.

Posting here seems a bit like preaching to the choir.  Most of you who are reading this already get it, but there might be a few who don’t.  There are still many people with type 2 diabetes who feel as if they are responsible for their condition.  You’re not!  I’ve said this, ad nauseam: If poor diet, excess weight and lack of exercise cause type 2 diabetes, then why doesn’t the entire population of overweight folks have diabetes? 36% of Americans today are considered to be obese.  8% of Americans have diabetes; all types.   What about those skinny type 2s? The argument just doesn’t hold water.

I’m posting this here, not only to get it off my chest, but to ask you all to continue to do what you can to crush the myths and stop the stigma.  You may hear someone speak a mis-truth.  You may read a comment online that isn’t factual or accurate.  Someone may question the food on your plate, insinuating that you can’t eat something because you have diabetes.  Try to put your emotions aside and respond in an intelligent, thoughtful way that will help that person to understand things a bit better.  I’m just as guilty as the next person of responding emotionally.  “I did NOT cause my diabetes!”  Seriously, what good does that do?  It just makes us look like a bunch of whiny people who are ultra-sensitive.  Maybe we are at times, but we need to show a united front; a front that says that we are just like anyone else.  That we aren’t lazy slobs who deserve what happened to us.  That raises awareness of this very real, very serious disease.  Join me and be a loud voice that refutes the stigma!  Together we can make a difference.

7 Comments

  1. Lizmari

    I understand, Kate. I think the best I’ve been able to do is try to help people understand that we need to be each other’s advocates. That if we can’t bother enough to want to learn from another person’s type of diabetes, then how are we going to expect others with no diabetes at all, to learn about our type? If we can’t extend courtesy, or dignity, to another fellow diabetic (regardless of type), how can we expect the treatment from outsiders? If we persecute those of a different type, how can we expect others to not persecute us?? Being bitter, persecuting, demeaning of type 2s… will absolutely do nothing to improve the conditions for any other type of diabetic.

  2. Dr. P

    Great post Kate! I love it. So many others need to read this post.

  3. Absolutely. The way media and even medical practitioners describe Type 2 diabetes on a regular basis has certainly affected how fellow diabetics view Type 2 D. While I can’t blame parents of Type 1 diabetics for reacting on behalf of their children, but in addition to what you have written, I also worry about what these parents are teaching their kids.

    • Bea

      Jane, when you said you worry about what parents are teaching their kids, I thought that with the increase in cases of type 2 diabetes among children, is this going to become another reason for bullying?

      I’m probably thinking way ahead, but I know that as an adult, I do get hurt by insensitive comments. I have to wonder what the impact of misinformation would be when it comes to children…

  4. beechbeard

    Dr. Peter Attria (TheEating Academy) has an interesting hypothesis on obsesity and diabetes. You should also look into Gary Taubes (Good Carbs Bad Carbs). Dr. Attria used to “blame” T2’s” until he realized that the science doesn’t support that conclusion.

    • I have seen Dr. Attia’s video and it’s wonderful! I did a piece on it over at Diabetic Connect. I’ve not read the Taubes book but will check it out. Thanks for the comment!

      • Gary Taubes also has another book called “Why we get fat – and what to do about it.” I found it to be a much better read than “Good carbs, bad carbs.” I also recommend anyone with Type 2 visit either the website “Blood Sugar 101” or read the book (same name). Both are by Jenny Ruhl.

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