February 23, 2011
I have been interning at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in pediatric endocrinology for a little over two months now and have loved every minute of it. It has made me realize the blessing I’ve enjoyed from good control, wonderful parental support, and dedication to my type 1 diabetes. I’ve truly thought of this disease quite differently in recent years than I have in the past. In the past, it was nothing more than an obstacle preventing me from living a “normal life.” As much as I’ve loved dealing with the other auto immune diseases, I can’t help but be drawn to the diabetic patients since I’ve experienced the struggles and pains they have endured for most of my own life. I honestly don’t know what has drawn me to even write this; maybe just the patients of the day or the lack of homework on my plate tonight? But I was counseling a young man who was having serious trouble with controlling his numbers to the point that it made my head hurt for the guy. I know the abuse that his body endured, from neglect, would make a 125 blood sugar feel like hell for him. I told him my story and my views about the disease and he looked at our mutual Endocrinologist and told him “I’ve never heard anyone talk about their disease like that.” It got my Endocrinologist and several people working in the office get to talking about the views that this disease gets. Let’s be honest: the view of type 1 diabetes and image that is portrayed, from the media, is really disgusting. We all know the famous DiaBEETUS commercials. It has every American over the age of 65 mispronouncing the word differently than anyone under 65….I don’t know, but it pisses me off. November is national diabetes month. How many people truly recognize this? However, not to rag on breast cancer or cancer in any way, every American knows when it’s time to whip out the pink. We agreed diabetes, or the struggles of diabetes, are not given their dues and were shoved to the back of the line. This is a disease that can plain and simply kill you. Blindness, amputations, strokes, heart failure, kidney failure and many more arduous conditions are very possible without proper care of type 1diabetes. One thing is very real in the pediatric side of this disease: kids are scared and embarrassed in having this. It’s seen as a downfall or weakness. It’s something that separates them from the rest. Here is my honest opinion. I truly feel blessed to have been given this disease. Not to say I wouldn’t give it up but if people (especially the youngin’s) could step back and say, “God only gives the weight to those who can carry it”, I believe it could be a little bit easier. I honestly believe this. How many people are going to be blessed enough to know their bodies as well as a type 1 diabetic? We feel so many different strains and tolls that many don’t. Were forced to live healthy lives in order to survive and function normally and yet we still see so many people displaying the mentality of “screw it.” This is no easy disease at all and we all realize this. But, I think we need to start thinking, “let this disease help me instead of hurt me.” Just some thoughts I felt like I wanted to share. Any feedback would be great. What’s something you feel kids fighting this disease need to realize or be aware of??