Diabetes in the movies…

A lot of people only know about diabetes from the movies.

A lot of people only know about diabetes from the movies.

Julia Roberts’ character in Steel Magnolia gets mentioned often. The tragic young diabetic bride who dies giving birth.

But it’s Robert De Niro’s portrayal of William Joseph (“Wild Bill”) Donovan in The Good Shepard that sticks with me. Here’s a powerful man, he ran the OSS during World War II, being literally cut down by diabetes. He suffers amputations during the movie and characterizes diabetes as “undignified.”

That this disease not only preys on the weak but can also take down the mighty is truly terrifying.

Stigma…

Stigma, it’s made up of a million microaggressions.

Stigma is a word that comes up time and again when people living with diabetes talk about their lives. Like a glucose meter or glucose tabs, stigma is a constant companion.

Sometimes it gets stated in small, subtle ways. They say things like “Do you have the easy kind of diabetes?”

Sometimes it shows up as false concern or empathy. “Can you eat that?” When what they really mean is “You shouldn’t be eating that.”

Sometimes it’s a flat out judgement. “You shouldn’t have eaten all those donuts for all those years.”

Ultimately all these kind of statements are microaggressions. And honestly most people don’t even realize they are making stigmatizing statements. So what’s the big deal? Why can’t people just shake it off?

Why can’t I just shake it off?

Because the comments add up. It’s constantly being told “I’m wrong.” “I’m broken.” “I’m a failure.” It’s exhausting. It undermines my self-confidence. And it isolates me as someone less worthy.

Stigma, it’s all around me and most people don’t even see it.

Why aren’t there more Type 2 bloggers?

People living with Type2 don’t make up 95% of diabetes patient bloggers—not even close. Why is that?

Source: Flickr (cc) couragextoxlive
Source: Flickr (cc) couragextoxlive

This is a question that comes up now and again.

There’s a thriving community of diabetes bloggers. You can find some of them here.

Most of them are living with Type 1 diabetes. That’s the the kind that used to be called Juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. Their blogs reflect experiences growing up dealing with the stress of having a disease that (if not controlled  well managed) could literally kill you. Some tell their story with humor. Others vent their anger at the disease, the medical establishment, and the promise of a cure in 10 years that hasn’t yet happened.

There are a few diabetes bloggers living with Type 2 diabetes. You can find some of them here.

According to the CDC there are 29.1 million people in the US, or 9.3% of the population, who have diabetes. This is a number that has more than tripled since 1980. About 95% of the diagnosed cases of diabetes are Type2.

But people living with Type2 don’t make up 95% of diabetes patient bloggers—not even close. Why is that? I think there are many reasons. And I’ll be taking a look at some pondering this question over the rest of this month.

 

November is Diabetes Awareness Month AND NaBloPoMO

Diabetes Awareness Month and NaBlogPoMo, November seems like a good time to revive my blog with 30 days of post reflection on life with Type 2 diabetes. Let’s see where this goes…

November 2014.

You see it’s National Diabetes Awareness Month. And it’s National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo.

Seems like a good time to revive my blog with 30 days of post reflection on life with Type 2 diabetes. Let’s see where this goes…

Two Tickets to Paradise

You live in Hawaii! Do you love it there?

Well…it’s complicated.

I’ve got two tickets to paradise
Won’t you pack your bags, we’ll leave tonight
—Eddie Money

It’s one of the two questions I hate the most.

You live in Hawaii! Do you love it there?

Why do I hate this question? Well…it’s complicated.

The weather is undeniably good. Averaging in the 80s Farenheit. Most days if it’s raining wait a bit and the sun will come back out and brighten things up. But it’s also one of the most expensive places to live in the country. And local folks will tell you that you can’t feed your family with a rainbow.

The beaches are inviting. But when you’re working two or three jobs to make ends meet there’s not a lot of time available to hang out at the beach. The local economy is dependent on tourism and geography means nearly everything is shipped in. This creates low-wage jobs and high prices.

I’ve met some wonderful people here who personify the Aloha Spirit. They are welcoming, generous, kind. But I have met far more people frustrated and resentful of folks from elsewhere crowding the local folks out. While I understand why some feel that way, it doesn’t make it any more comfortable to be the target of the resentment just because I didn’t grow up here.

Whenever I get asked about Hawaii there’s a split second where I have to decide. How am I going to answer? Am I going to tell the whole story, warts and all? Or am I going to mimic the tour book description? Am I completely truthful? Or do I reinforce the image they have of sunny beaches and umbrella drinks?

So it’s complicated. Hawaii is a wondrous place with amazing landscapes and kindhearted people. But it’s also a stressful place with more than its share of difficulties.

Which brings me to the other question I hate the most.

How are you doing with your diabetes?

How am I doing? It’s complicated…