Understanding Other Types

Eating Face in PlateLast week in one of the Facebook groups I belong to, a food discussion came up. I don’t remember exactly how a woman worded her statement, but it was to the effect that she couldn’t eat whatever she wanted. Then someone stated that she was Type 1 and could eat whatever she wanted. She was “cool.” And yes, she actually did refer to herself as being cool. I thought about how Dr. Phil always asks, “How does that work for you?” The other woman came back and said that she was also Type 1 but she didn’t eat everything that she wanted because she worried about her weight.

I wanted to ask the “cool” woman how she would feel if non-diabetic people around her ran around saying that they were “cool” because they didn’t have to carry a meter, insulin and glucose around with them or try to figure out how much insulin they needed before they ate something.  I am sure she wouldn’t like it very much. In 28 years of being Type 1, I have never had anyone tell me that they were “cool” because they don’t have to do the things that I do with diabetes. Why would someone tell someone they “assumed” was a Type 2 that they were “cool” because they take insulin?

Last year for Diabetes Blog Week, one of the topics was Admiring Our Differences. I wrote then that I felt that I had it easier taking insulin because I was able to adjust my insulin if my blood sugar went up. I can set my goals and I have the tools to work towards those goals. I don’t have a doctor taking medicine away because I worked hard to get a decent A1c.

Peanut Butter Meltaway CakeI think one way to try and understand someone is to try and put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if you could not take insulin to cover that piece of cake you want for dessert? Do you think that you could go the rest of your life without ever having a piece of your favorite cake or whatever dessert that you like because it would mess up your blood sugar? That is what some people seem to think diabetics should do. I don’t eat cake every day but I certainly wouldn’t want to go the rest of my life without ever having a piece.  I can’t imagine having to put up with high blood sugar for a couple days just because I wanted one little piece of cake and had absolutely no way to bring it down.  I certainly would not say that I am “cool” because I have insulin. I would say that I am lucky.

Some insurance companies only allow a Type 2 one test strip per day. David Edelman on Diabetes Daily recently wrote about yet another new study saying that Type 2s don’t need to test that much. You can read his article here. Most people eat three meals a day. How is that person supposed to figure out what different foods do to their blood sugar?  Diabetes Daily also had another article with blood sugar testing tips for Type 2s that you can read here.  Make sure you read thru the comments because there are also some good tips there.

We all know that certain foods can send our blood sugar skyrocketing, but “regular” foods can send it up also.   Last summer I started drinking Gatorade because of being dehydrated. The Gatorade I buy only has 7 grams of carbs in. That should be a safe food, right? If I drink it in the morning, it sends my blood sugar up over 200 – and I do mean straight up with double Dexcom arrows. I don’t have that same problem at lunch. How is someone with one test strip a day supposed to know that something with only 7 grams of carbs could send their blood sugar skyrocketing?

Woman WalkingRegardless of what “type” we are, we all have a malfunctioning pancreas. We all have a problem. Some of us have better insurance than others and get what we need to help control our diabetes. Some of us have had better education than others to be able to figure out how to manage this crazy disease. Some of us have other health problems that impact our blood sugar. Some of us have other non-health problems that impact our blood sugar. You should try walking in that other person’s shoes before you criticize or make fun of that person. You might find those shoes pretty hard to walk in and you want your own shoes back.

Comments

  1. Hi Kelly, great post! I had a quick thought on those blood sugar testing studies. The conclusion was that testing didn’t have a positive effect rather than that it wasn’t useful. They found that those with type 2 diabetes who test blood sugars didn’t do much better than those that didn’t. Other factors, like education, participation in a support group, and more frequent doctor’s visits, might have a positive influence, but testing on its own doesn’t. I think that this shows that there’s is a substantial problem with how we approach diabetes education.

    • Thanks David! I agree that there is a big problem in education. I think a lot of us just need to get some basic education. I do think the DOC is a very helpful influence when people can see what other people people are doing. I know it has been a big help for me.

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