Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Spin On The Diabetes Civil War - I Say Unite & Fight Against The Real Enemies

So, I’ve gotten a lot emails asking me my thoughts on the Diabetes Civil War and name change - So, to paraphrase an old Toyota commercial from the early 90’s: You asked for it, you got it, Toyota.


In my eyes, the whole diabetes civil war thing creates conflict and separatism among those of us living the diabetes life, instead of the unity in our diabetes community.

Unity in community = power. Cracks in a foundation (be it in a community or structure) lead to that community or structure crumbling.

I've been a type 1 for 33 years and have, and have lost, many loved ones in my family to type1. And I want us to find a cure, BIG TIME. I'm tired of losing family members to this disease, and my heart always breaks when I hear of another type 1 diagnoses.

And I've also felt the hurt and shame every time someone has blamed me for my disease, or my sister for causing her own death. That hurt, shame, and pain never goes away. That hurt and blame did nothing but continually put me on the defense, and prevented me from developing a good diabetes offensive for quite sometime. That time I can't get back, and I'm sure it's caused damage to me physically, not to mention mentally.

I don’t want to fight others with diabetes just because they have a different type.

I don’t want to take away from their diabetes issues and pain, and I sure as hell don’t want to blame them for their disease.

And I’ll be honest, before I become friends with people who were type 2, there’s a very good chance I might have joined the separatist movement. But thanks to the Diabetes On-line Community, I’ve wised up. I’ve learned that their diabetes struggles mimic my own and that we are on the same side, and when I think back of my type 2 prejudices, I’m ashamed.

Many people with type 2 diabetes have a genetic link to the disease, just like a have a huge genetic link to type 1 diabetes. 
And regardless of the type, once a person is diagnosed with diabetes, they will always be diabetic. They will always have to stand watch and continually be on guard for diabetes complications.

Many of my type 2 friends work very hard on managing their disease - the very same disease that their parents and grandparents.

And many people don't have a genetic link to diabetes, regardless of the type.

The same thoughts apply for my brothers and sisters with 1.5 Diabetes. Before I became part of the DOC, I had no idea that they even existed. Now, I learn from they every day.

No, I don't want to change the name of my diabetes. I'm Ok with being called a person who has type 1 diabetes.

And I'm OK with people with type 2 diabetes being called a type 2 diabetics, or people with type 2 diabetes. Same goes for those who are type 1.5 diabetics, a.k.a., type1.5-LADA diabetes.

No, what I want to change is the public perception of diabetes - and I will fight to do just that.

My weapons of choice will be education and a loud and constant voice of many, not just my own.

And I say let's start the rumble in the diabetes jungle with the media!

LIsten up Media, I'm talking to you: People with diabetes are not lazy, glutenous, self destructive saps. And regardless of our type, we don't deserve the diabetes card we were dealt.

I demand that the media stop perpetuating diabetes myths and stereotypes - and I will fight to make that happen.

I demand that the media stop running with catchy diabetes sound bites that only have a degree of “truthiness” and only represent one facet of the vast diabetes spectrum. I want the media to differentiate between the types instead of lumping everyone with diabetes together. I want the media to see the many faces of diabetes and I demand that the media do it’s job and take the time and effort to explain ALL the diabetes incarnations and facts.

And while I'm at it, I'll put some of the blame on food manufacturers for adding High Fructose Corn Syrup into everything we eat in this country. Because ironically, it wasn't until HFCS started replacing sugar in foods almost 40 years ago, that people started associating diabetes with people being over weight & lazy sons of bitches who caused their own disease.

I demand that congress not allow the Corn Refiners Association to change the name of High Corn Syrup to the friendlier and incredibly deceptive sounding “Corn Sugar.

And I will demand and fight for insurance reform so insurance companies can’t charge outrageous monthly premiums, while limiting their clients heath options in the form of denying insulin pumps, cgms, and the number bottles of insulin and test strips per month, and the likes there of. All the while, allowing their CEO's fat payoffs with options to boot!

And I'll continue to fight for a cure for type 1 diabetes every single day of my existence!I 'll fight until the day pigs fly and my feet and knees bleed because I've literally crawled to find a cure. I'll fight until I literally have no voice left. And then, I'll keep writing about it!

But as far as blaming a person with diabetes, I won't do that - because society blames us enough.

Diabetes is a disease that has many types, but we are all part of the same family and on the same side. Regardless of what type of diabetes we live with, our goals are the same.

  1. To live
  2. To live a healthy and productive life
  3. To stop the perpetuation of diabetes myths and stereotypes and educate the public on the diabetes facts
  4. To find a cure

I choose to focus not on our differences, but the qualities and goals that unite us.

Other posts regarding the Civil War include, but by no means limited too:


Anonymous said...

Many bloggers are preaching unity. However, this "civil war" has put type 1 back into the spotlight... a position it hasn't seen in years. It NEEDS to be in the spotlight and if it takes a civil war to do that, then I'm all for it. Sign me up.

Jacquie said...

Thank you! And Amen!

I finally got around to reading that stupid civil war article and really took issue with the anger some of the T1's were expressing. It's misplaced, and it's harmful.

I also feel like the "Type 2s deserve diabetes" line of thinking is another way of building and perpetuating fat phobia in this country.

I mean really: can you imagine reading about "civil wars" between patients with brain cancer and others with lung cancer?

Bob Pedersen said...

Hear, hear! Great post!

Anonymous said...

Well said.. er, written... Kelly! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I'm on board, and do think we need to retrain the media - from the 30-second clip producing mass media on TV to the beat reporters at local newspapers - about all of this. I wrote that today and think it really falls on us as advocates to help them do their jobs as much as we can... But yes: CommUNITY is key. [as are those blasted cats and carby cupcakes, I'm convinced...] :)

Thomas R. Moore said...

As 'we' have been trying to say for two years...TYPE D!

Scott Rossi said...

Well said Kelly!! I congratulate you on your stand and for always being able to deliver your message with great style and grace.

Ronnie the poor diabetic said...

I do have to say that stigmas and perceptions will not change until we educate the public on diabetes because the media will not help us on this issue....

Robin said...

Another Great Post!

I have to admit I was a separatist 5 years ago when my 3 year old little girl was diagnosed. We had no family history and the things that were said to me were very hurtful and I took them very personally. (Granted I was in a very weak vulnerable place).

Over the past 5 years I have learned so much and I can not agree with you more.

Let's fix the pancreases for everyone! :)

Scott Strange said...

Well written, Kelly!

Musashi said...

Very insightful, thanks for post.

Naomi said...

Way to go Kelly!
To be honest I had a separatist attitude in the beginning of my journey(Oct 09), thking gosh wouldn't it be nice to take a pill instead of poking myself every time I ate...but it really doesn't matter, and I agree with you. The complications are real for anyone fighting this fight against the Diabetes. We do need to band together to educate/advocate for this growing disease and bring light to all types. The focus shouldn't be on which type is worse, but the fact that IT KILLS more americans each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined(
You are such a talented writer, and Diabetes advocate! Rock on!

Lizmari said...

Awesome!!!!!! Best blog on the subject EVER! I couldn't agree more if I had written it myself! STANDING OVATION AND APPLAUSE.

Sunny said...

When I first saw the phrase "diabetes civil war" I thought - What are they trying to do, decide which one is preferred? If one type is chosen, can we switch? That's how silly it seems to me. I am a Type 2.

Jonathan L said...

Awesome post - thanks for your version of the debate, I think you're right on! Just RT'd too.

And I totally agree with not allowing HFCS to become "corn sugar". But, I sure don't have the $$ to "convince" politicians!!

Anyway, this was a great dose of keepin' it real...

Personally, I wouldn't mind if every time I heard "diabetes" it also included the words "type 1, type 2, pre, Type 1.5 or LADA" it's really not that much more to say or type!

Khürt Williams said...

"...what I want to change is the public perception of diabetes - and I will fight to do just that."

So be it; truly!

Cara said...

Kelly, you always say things so perfectly. I don't wanna fight either. But the public misconception seems to be the issue. We have to fight THAT not each other. Thank you for being so active, positive, and such a leader in our community. You do a fantastic job at educating others.

SarahK said...

I've always loved your writing, but today, I love it even more. I agree with you on all points. I cannot believe there is this big of an internal war to prove who's type is worse. I mean, come on! We sound like a bunch of old people in a nursing home fighting over which one is worse off than the other - like there's some sort of award to be won - where it should never be something to be debated to begin with! Diabetes is diabetes is diabetes - that's that!