Friday, July 15, 2011

BitchSwitch IS ON.

OK, there was a really horrific diabetes article on-line, by Wendell Fowler over at the South Side Times. You can read by clicking, HERE or here:

For some reason, the site wouldn't allow me to log on with my wordpress password/id and after a million attempts( damn near,) I was finally able to register under a new name & password and was able to comment a few minutes ago (it's still awaiting approval)- And I didn't hold back!

My comment to Wendell is below.


Wendell – You speak of of magic and truth for the greater good – And I agree, truth for the greater good is indeed magical.
However your article is neither truthful, magical or good.
On the contrary Wendell, your article is incredibly dangerous, grossly offensive and guilty of perpetuating diabetes myths and stereotypes in the media and to the public. Speaking of your job Wendell, you’re research skills regarding both the event and people that your writing about SUCKS.

Diabetes is not “avoidable.” Are you even aware of the various types of diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is certainly not avoidable, and just so we’re all on the same page, the event you so carelessly mocked was held to benefit “The Diabetes Foundation of Indiana,” an organization devoted to providing both education & support to children with type 1 diabetes. Smooth move, Wendell!

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The body of a person with type 1 actually attacks the part of the pancreas( the islet of langerhans) that produces insulin (which every human being on the planet needs to live) and destroys our ability to make our own insulin, rendering those of of us with type 1 diabetes depend on injections for the rest of our lives. Your diabetes myths of SUGAR CONSUMPTION & LACK OF EXERCISE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

As a type 1 for over 30 years, I was diagnosed as a skinny 8 year old little girl. I was 20 pounds under my normal weight at my diagnoses. Undiagnosed type 1s resemble starvation victims because of our inability to make insulin actually starves our cells. I come from a type 1 family.
2 of my sisters had/have type 1, as did my father, my 2 aunts, my cousin & my brilliant and talented nephew. We did nothing to deserve our faulty pancreases and sugar consumption had nothing to do with our diagnoses! If it were that easy, my family would have gladly given up the demon sugar years ago!
As a matter of fact, I indulge in ice cream from time to time (cupcakes too) and my Endocrinologist (one of the top in the country) is more than fine with that.
As a person who lives with diabetes,I test my blood sugars litigiously, sometimes as many as 14 times a day. I count the carbs for every piece of food I put in my body and then administer the proper dosage of insulin to cover said carbs & blood sugars & I haven’t had a day off injecting insulin into my body for 33 years.
Now Wendell, if you can find away for those of us with busted pancreases to magically start producing our own insulin, go for it man – knock yourself out.
If you could do that, you could win the nobel prize for medicine and become a hero to millions – if not billions, and you’d never want for money again. Monuments would be built in your honor and every family would name at least one of their children Wendell (regardless of gender) and there’s a good chance the Vatican would anoint you the first canonized living saint.

But….. I’m not going to hold my breath.

And as far as my diabetes brothers in sisters in the type 1.5 Diabetes or LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes in adults) and type 2 branches of my diabetes family tree are concerned, – they are not carry the shame and weight of society’s blame either.

Type 1.5 LADA Diabetes is (and this is the Cliff Notes version) also autoimmune related and occurs in normal sized adults (mostly) who gradually lose the ability to produce insulin. Their inability to produce insulin usually occurs within months, have positive diabetes antibodies and low c-peptide levels.

Type 2 Diabetes is a considered a metabolic disease/disorder and genetics plays a large part in a person Type 2 diagnoses. Yes, weight and food are also known factors. But I know many type 2s who eat right and who aren’t over weight. Unfortunately, their parents, grandparents, and great parents were all insulin resistant.

And as long as were pointing fingers, how about you look in the direction of food manufacturers who over process the foods they produce and replace sugar with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) so they can have a larger profit margin.
Do you really think its a coincidence that in the past 40 years, since HFCS was added to our diets in ever increasing amounts, America’s weight has continued to climb?
FYI: HFCS is outlawed in Europe.

And here’s where more damage is done because of what you wrote.
YOUR WORDS directly effect fundraising and research efforts for a diabetes cure. People tend not to donate research funding when they think the people living with a disease “deserve what they get.”
I can assure you Wendell, nobody deserves diabetes, regardless of the type.
And HOW DARE YOU put research for a diabetes cure in jeopardy!

So before you write about my disease,and a disease that many of my friends; family, and coworkers have, take the time to at least GOOGLE! Take the time to know ALL the facts,do you’re research, and stop the diabetes blame game!

FYI: Karma is a bitch! And if you think Karma is a bitch, wait until you encounter “Diabetes Karma.”
Diabetes Karma is when people with diabetes, or who’s friends, family and loved ones who have diabetes read your callous words – And start to make noise.
And by noise I mean emails and calls to your editor; publisher and the many advertisers of the SS-Times, and let them know exactly how we feel about what you wrote.

You want Karma my friend, YOU GOT IT. You wanted people to talk about your article? Congrats – We are talking! And we are writing; posting, facebooking, tweeting, & picking up our phones. Our numbers our strong & our voices are very loud and we are incredibly passionate about our diabetes cause!
Kelly Kunik

I urge all of you to comment and call the SS-Times (and please be kind and professional to the people on the phone if you call, they didn't write the article) and let them know what you think! And a big shout to Mike over at: for aalerting me/us to this guys words & for Ronnie over at

for teaching me the login tricks of the trade!

As of 11:22 pm this evening, my comment has not appeared on Mr. Fowler's post as of yet - Which is exactly why I posted my response here - just to be on the safe side ;)

*** It's 3:30 am and I couldn't sleep. SO I decided to cut, past and attempt to repost my comment - sans my blog address. And it looks as if it actually posted - 9 hrs after I originally submitted. Apparently, if you put your blog url in the post, your comment requires actual human approval.

OK, now we all know - NO URLS in your comment!


Sue Rericha said...

That's an awesome reply! There is actually some research now saying some Type 2 might be autoimmune as well. Regardless of the type or cause, we can all agree that no one deserves this and diabetes sucks!

Scott Strange said...

well done Kelly!

Indeed the metabolic and cellular changes that precede type 2 diabetes are often detectible years before the disease manifests itself. If you think about that for more than a second it leads you to the conclusion that obesity is actually a symptom not a cause of diabetes.

This twit with a column doesn't even seem to understand the basic premise that just because there is a correlation between two things does not mean that one causes the other.

I also read a recent study that suggests that certain types of T2 have a strong autoimmune component. In this case the body is attacking its own fat cells, causing massive insulin resistance.

I just looked at the site and your replay hadn't been posted as of yet, hopefully it will be so readers can get an accurate picture of reality.

chris bishop said...

Sounds like Wendell is a total Asshat... Way to go Kelly. I am going to have to search out this story / article and ream him a new one.

That'll teach him to F*#K with the DOC

Holly said...

Wow, Kelly! Great reply : ) Thanks for standing up for all the little people who can't speak for themselves-especially a nine-year-old! I'll try to find the article to reply!! Thanks for letting us know! : )

Beth said...

Give 'em hell Kelly. Off to comment on Wendell's article. Little does he know that he's helping us set the record straight!

Michelle said...

Thanks for sharing this Kelly! Definitely going to add my 2 cents in the comments and help make our collective voice heard!!!

Anonymous said...

You are a rock star!!! Love you!!!

Mom of Skinny T1 Superhero

Heidi said...

I love your response! I am a newly diagnosed diabetic it is articles like these that have caused me to feel embarrassed about my diagnosis despite the fact that it appears my diabetes is most likely due to autoimmune issues. Of course, with PCOS also, weight has always been an issue with me, so I'm expecting everyone to think that it was my weight that caused the diabetes and not other factors.

The fact that my blood sugars have gotten worse with weight loss and that I had NO pre-diabetes indicators AT ALL (one year earlier my fasting blood sugars were 78), it's looking like I might have LADA or type 1.5. I was just diagnosed and medications are already not doing the job so I have started insulin.

I've been devastated to discover not only that I have this horrid disease, but also that it seems to have progressed so quickly to insulin therapy.

I still haven't told many people (including my parents!!!) that I have diabetes, but I feel that now that I'm on insulin and have had two very scary hypoglycemic events, I probably need to share that information. I hesitate because of the stigma of the disease that is perpetuated by the media. It makes me furious that people are so ignorant of this disease and so prejudiced against even trying to understand it.

I also have a nephew who is type 1 and diagnosed when he was just 6 years old. I've always been sorry he has to deal with this horrible disease, but now that I also am experiencing the effects of it first hand, my emphathy is that much deeper. I'm also thankful each and every day that it was ME that developed this disease and not my children. My heart goes out to all D-moms out there and pretty much ANYONE who develops this disease.

I'm a new reader, but I just had to respond! Thank you!

Penny said...

This is why we love you so dear Kelly! Your response rocked!

Ronnie Gregory said...

I have always said you are my Shero Kelly, the only way to stamp these perpetuated diabetes lies is to go after said perpetuates and go after them hard which is what you do time and time again....way to go Sheriff Kelly.....

Meagan said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your letter...Tell him sister!!!!!
You have the most awesome "Bitch Switch" EVAH!!!

Thanks for sticking up for your team, I will look to see how to make a fuss "Bitch Switch" is overheating!!!! :D
-Meagan Esler

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing this article to our attention. I'm in the process of writing an email to the paper's editor. I can't tell from the article whether it's intended as an opinion piece, random letter to the editor, or a legitimate piece of journalism. Not that it changes the untruthfulness and ignorance of the piece, but it might explain why the paper posted the article.

(Parent of awesome 12 year old with Type 1)

Denise aka Mom of Bean said...

I left a comment, too...and was more than happy to join you in flipping the bitch switch. :)

shannon said...

your response was much more effective than mine would have been, b/c i was so angry i couldn't actually form non-R-rated words.

Valerie said...

Kick-ass response! I was glad to see all the comments telling him just how misinformed he is. Hopefully they'll take that article down or some kind of retraction.

Joanne said...

You rock. Your comment rocks. So glad we have people like you to counter-act people like Wendall. A brilliant ying to his incredibly stupid yang.

Thank you for bringing balance to the universe.

Cheryl said...

THIS is why you are the Queen! ;-)

Mike Hoskins said...

Great response, K2. Thanks for sharing it here, and there on the newspaper's website where the column is published. It's so incredibly off for what normally appears in this little local paper (I know, because I read it weekly). Anyhow, glad the community responded so quickly and powerfully on this. Hopefully, the editor and publisher both respond and an apology can come from this. It's so uncalled for, and his amazing criticism and condemnation of a D-camp organization and our new director is just.. I don't even know. Words escape me. Anyhow, thanks for this - and more generally, just for your awesomeness and being who you are. Keep rockin, switch-flipped or not!

Barb Wagstaff said...

Love this!! You go girl!! Thanks you for setting this fool straight in such a wonderful way.

Barb Wagstaff said...

Love it!! Way to set him straight! I hope a few more people pay attention and he is forced to...I don't know maybe look for a career in fictional writing?
Congratulations for letting your inner B*tch out :)

The Diabetic Camper said...

I think either you played right into his plan or he is of the 40% of people I come in contact with, which are the oblivious and not worth the time. He might be doing this because of the huge DOC and his article will spring board him and increase his readership. Or he is like the 70 year old smoker I work with that says to me when my BG's are 46 and I am downing an oj in our breakroom, she says to me "you shouldn't be drinking that, it is not good for you." I just finish it and say, oh you are right. Not worth my time to educate the horse that will not drink from the water.

Emily said...

This is great, Kel. I see this response to people with illnesses across the board, from Diabetes to HIV to cancer, this "You deserve what you got" attitude which usually represents not only the basest lack of compassion, but also a total ignorance about the disease and its causes. It's great to see someone with your level of both knowledge and compassion going to bat for people that can't speak for themselves. Well done, sister.

Jamie Naessens said...

Kelly, thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. I'm glad that it was still open for posting comments as I came into this one so late. I just spent the better part of 1-1/2 hrs replying to "Mr Fowler" - there's something in his name is begging to switch out the W for a U! That being said, it will be interesting to see whether or not mine gets posted.

Camille said...

Kelly, you rock!

Cara said...

I put my blog post up this morning. Things like this break my heart. I need some ice cream....

Anonymous said...

Not sure if anyone realized this, but the article is under the opinion collumn and wasn't a news article about diabetes. I have family with diabetes and so it has taken a large toll on my life. I don't think its appropriate though to organize a large mess of hate mail and calls. Kelly i think your post would have been more enlightening as a letter to the editor, which i think that paper does.

k2 said...

First and for most - Thanks for all the comments guys.
As for Anonymous, you're absolutely entitled to your opinion, but let's clear up a few things.
1. I also have diabetes running rampant through my family tree and lost a sister to type 1 diabetes in 1991. I also lost a father and two Aunts to type 1.
My nephew and my cousin also have type 1.
So I completely empathize with the fact that diabetes has taken a toll on your family - Diabetes has also taken a toll on my family - Which is why I'm so passionate about diabetes.
2.As far as organizing hate, I did no such thing. Wendell Fowler certainly wrote a hateful article, which was published by the South Side Times who btw, neglected to check any of Mr. Fowler's facts out before publication of said article.
I would think that a publication would certainly want to check facts out before running an article about a chronic medical condition and disease, especially when said article belittles and ridicules a fundraiser for children with type type 1 diabetes.
Once I was informed of Fowlers article by an active member of the diabetes on-line community, I absolutely let my readers know where to find it - it was published on the net, and I was not the first reader with diabetes to spread the word - DARN IT.
That article offended every single person living with (or who's loved one lives with) diabetes.
Shame on the newspaper for letting such an article go to print - Opinion piece or not.
And lastly Anonymous, as you can see, I'm fair enough to publish your comment, even if differs from my point of view.

At least be brave enough to sign your name to what you believe in, instead of hiding behind the moniker of Anonymous.
Btw Anonymous, statcounter is an amazing info tool. Check it out ;)

Quinn said...

You kill me literally and figuratively. I love it. I loved what you wrote and how you chose to do it in a dignified manner, while at the same time ass ripping manner. I have heard stories of your switch from some of the other bloggers and now I have witnessed it.
I think your last comment though in your response to anonymous is probably the best line ever. Good job and thank you for you advocacy.

Mike Hoskins said...


Thank you for reading Kelly's blog here and for responding on this particular topic. You are correct in that the referenced writing in the SS Times was a column, rather than a news article. There's been no dispute about that, regardless of the term someone uses. Please know, however, that it's not just some online post here where it starts and stops. No. Kelly Kunik, along with myself and MANY others inside and outside of Indiana, have responded specifically with Letters to the Editor, comments to the posted column online, and personal phone calls and emails to those who run the newspaper. Some have received responses, others have not. The concern is that, opinion-piece or not, accuracy cannot be sacrificed by any type of writing a newspaper puts out there for the masses to read. In this situation, that accuracy was abandoned by this writer for his own profit-driven motivations. And those at the newspaper failed to prevent this column from appearing and doing damage to not only a local charitable organization (of which I'm affiliated) but also to the broader Diabetes Community. This is about spreading accurate information. Whether we do that in a blog post, written letter, email, phone call, or personal meeting is not the point. The point is using our collective voice to make sure the writer and newspaper understand the concerns, listen to them, and do something. We await to see whether that will happen in the upcoming issue of the SS Times.

I echo what Kelly writes, wholeheartedly.

Brenda Bell said...

From what I get from Fowler's diatribe and most recent blog post, he's one of those folk who believes in "clean eating" taken to the extreme, and that things like bovine growth hormone, herd-administered prophylactic antibiotics, fertilizers, and potential cross-fertilization of heirloom crops by GMO crops are the root of all modern diseases (and given the recent increased prevalence of T1DM, that would fall under this particular umbrella).

Obviously, there is more to the etiology of (any type of) diabetes than meets the eye, but Fowler is the type who will not be swayed from his views and who thrives on the unprovable negative (in short, the idea that waste from hormones and chemicals enters the water table and is not removed in purification -- which only adds more chemicals, and allchemicalsarebad).

What I'm not sure about is whether the publication as a whole has this particular slant, or whether they have a "crackpot columnist" to bring in this sort of controversy.