Yowza, it has been quite a while since my last posting! Over a whole month. Sheesh! So what’s rolling around the old brain box today? Quiet a few things actually.
One recent thing has been discussed briefly on one of my insulin pump lists is the idea of Type 1 vs Type 2 diabetes and why Type 2 is mostly talked about. Sure, it is the more prevalent of the two, but us Type 1’s are out there too. It is interesting to me that a lot of people still don’t understand the differences. I guess I can’t really blame them though. Most people only know what the media tells them or what their uncles’, friend’s friend told them. Still it is frustrating to hear people ask me what I did to get diabetes or that I’m too skinny to have it. I never knew there was a size requirement! Anyways…Type 1’s like me suffer from an autoimmune disease where the body’s cells have attacked themselves and stopped the pancreas from producing insulin. Yeap, my pancreas is just sitting there in my body taking up space, not doing a thing for me. Here’s a quick pic to explain what is going on:
For me there is no insulin that enters the bloodstream. That’s where my aforementioned insulin pump comes in. This is what it looks like above and below the skin:
Neat stuff, well at least to me. Now Type 2’s on the other hand, the best way to describe what goes on for them is that their pancreas either does not produce enough insulin, no insulin, or the body no longer knows how to use the insulin produced. Crazy stuff eh? Here’s a pic describing Type 2’s:
Simplistic I know but for a good explanation, better than I could hope to achieve at least, go here and have a read. I won’t even go into the different causes of diabetes, there’s enough literature out there to fill the sub lagoon at Disneyland on that subject. Now you may ask why I am I going over this? Well, besides, what I stated before… stepping on my ranting soapbox now, please standby. It seems lately for some odd reason I have been running into a group we like to call the “Diabetes Police” more and more lately. And with the holidays coming up it won’t get any better I’m afraid.
So who or what are the Diabetes Police you may ask? They are not people who pull me over and ask to see my insulin pump, meter, and medic alert tag. No, they are usually the well-meaning friends, relatives, strangers who know my diabetes better than I do apparently. By this I mean, they see me eating something that I “shouldn’t” or notice my bg is high, or just find out that I am diabetic and proceed to offer advice, make a comment about how bad I am eating such and such, or go into a long story about how their friend/relative/former co-worker/whatever is/was diabetic and was so out of control that person lost one or more limbs, went to the hospital multiple times, and died from diabetes. Sounds outlandish doesn’t it? But, you know what, I can count more than my fair share of interactions with the Diabetes Police than I care to remember. It seems like no matter what someone else always knows how to take better care of my diabetes than me.
From suggestions of becoming totally vegan (no possible I love meat!), to drinking nothing but juice the rest of my life (no, really, someone actually said this to me), to just making sure I never have sugar, corn syrup, or salt ever again in my life; these have all been told to me as ways to “cure” my diabetes. If there was a way to jump-start my pancreas back to life I would do it, but until then I like my insulin pump just fine. Then there are the ones who don’t believe I’m diabetic because I don’t look like it, tend to eat what I like (to a degree) or I’m too skinny. I often wonder, what are all diabetics supposed to look like? Hmm … that’s a tough one. There’s also the Diabetic Food Police who must stop me for my own good before I have that little snack size candy bar at Halloween. Nevermind that I have eaten much worse (oh the stories I could tell!) or that after 20 years I’ve learned how to bolus to cover some dietary indiscretions. I know what I should and should not eat.
And last but not least I have heard countless stories of friends, relatives, and celebrities that have DIED from diabetes and been asked aren’t I scared that it will happen to me too? Many times I hear of ER trips, painful surgeries, and horrible deaths attributed to some other person’s diabetes. (Whether or not said person was in “control” of their diabetes is not for me to say really. Control means whatever you want it to mean.) Often these stories are told to “scare” me into taking better care of myself or someone is trying to let me know how terrible diabetes can be and they support me. While that is all well and fine and I do appreciate the support, like many things in this world, diabetes is an individual disease. I can almost guarantee that no two treatment plans are alike. My metabolism is different from yours, which is different from his/hers and so on.
I know people mean well but sometimes I just get so frustrated. After 20 years I’ve learned to let my interactions with the Diabetes Police go but it is hard sometimes. The only people who have any say in my diabetes care are my endo and Mabel. Mabel knows when my bg is going high or low many times before I do. Yes, she is that good! She carries an extra meter and glucose with her all the time just in case. I couldn’t ask for a better partner in my fight against diabetes. Ok, pardon me while I end my rant and step down from my soapbox. Ah, that’s better.
On another note, Christmas is on the horizon. I am looking forward to spending some time in San Francisco and enjoying time off with Mabel. One thing I am hoping we can do is go eat at the place we had our wedding reception. The Basque Cultural Center in South San Francisco makes the BEST lamb stew ever. EVER! We hope we can head over there and have some while we visit.
Before I know it 2010 will be upon me and it will be time to start all over again in a new year. I knew that 09/09/09 was going to be good, and it was. 2009 has been a year of great change for me and it has all been for the better. Can’t wait to keep the good times rolling. Now if I could just keep blogging consistently….