"Food for Thought: Let's Talk Diabetes"

Hi everyone!


Here's a replica of the blog post I left on my web site this morning - http://emilypetit.com/1/post/2013/06/food-for-thought-lets-talk-diabetes.html


I would SO LOVE to hear your thoughts via comments or other means of contact (EmilyPetit@yahoo.com works fine too!). Please share it with your friends.






Okay, can I just say, first off, that the title bar of this blog tells me I spelled "diabetes" incorrectly? Something is very, very weird about that. Secondly, I thought this was a good time - because there's never a bad one - to bring up some of the stigmas I hear on a fairly regular (i.e., monthly, bimonthly: it varies) basis. For those of you who don't know, I inject myself if I get hungry and save my own life via glucose tablets (like the sugar cubes you give horses, only grosser) at least once a week. That's right: I have type 1 diabetes. But does this entail what you think it does?


 Myth: Diabetes results from being overweight.

Fact: TYPE 2 diabetes can be and often is an effect of being overweight. TYPE 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder that results from screwed-up genes, viruses, and other apparently pointless variants of the overall human evolutionary experience. TYPE 1 diabetes, if untreated, actually causes its sufferers to LOSE, rather than gain, several pounds.

Myth: If I talk about diabetes, you'll get upset and self-conscious.

Fact: No I won't. I think you're confusing "talk about diabetes" with "make assumptions about diabetes". If you have questions, trust me: I want to answer them.

Myth: If you eat the right foods, drink the right tea, get the right exercise, and put the right spice on your potato salad, you can cure diabetes.

Fact: TYPE 1 diabetes finds a cozy place to nest in your immune system and stays there until you die. TYPE 2 diabetes can sometimes be alleviated through healthy dietary and physical approaches. Both types are resistant to the effects of organic oregano, sugar-free sugar, and anything else you might come up with. But particularly in the case of TYPE 1, absolutely NO amount of green tea and locally-grown ginger root will make it any more or less than what it is. In short, I'm stuck with it.

Myth: Oops, I didn't mean to eat this cupcake in front of you.

Fact: Oh, that's okay, we can share it.

Myth:  If your blood sugar is too low, you need to take insulin.

Fact: When my blood glucose level goes too low, I could die. Fortunately, I carry glucose tablets around with me (they taste kind of like Pixie Stix, except you get tired of them after you've swallowed about five hundred in a handful of years). If I take insulin when I go low, I'll simply die faster. Insulin LOWERS YOUR BLOOD SUGAR. I don't have any insulin. That's why, when I eat or if my blood sugar goes through the roof, I jab myself with needles.

Myth: If your blood sugar is too high, you need a glass of orange juice.

Fact: See above.

Myth: "My uncle/grandmother/neighbor's cat has diabetes, too." (Optional: "And it killed him/her/it.")

Fact: First of all, thanks for the uplifting glimpse into my future. Secondly, keep in mind that your uncle/grandmother/neighbor's cat was most likely diagnosed with TYPE 2 diabetes. Maybe not. But TYPE 2 diabetes:

-Is more likely to be founded on genetics and dietary habits.
-More often occurs in adults than in children.
-Can sometimes be controlled through oral, rather than intravenous, medications.

TYPE 1 diabetes:

-Requires insulin injections or an insulin pump (which still hurts, by the way).
-DOES NOT result from being overweight.
-More often occurs in children than adults.

Myth: Having diabetes isn't so bad.

Fact: Type 1 diabetes is life-threatening, time-consuming,  and permanent. But it's also a major part of who I am, which is NOT a bad thing. I'm every bit as normal as you are, trust me. Well, minus the tendency to emo poetry, but we all have our quirks.

 So the next time you pick up a piece of cake and go, "DIABETES ON A PLATE!!!", just remember: TYPE 1 diabetes happens by itself. You could be Bruce and still not get type 1. You cannot MAKE type 1 diabetes happen. If that were the case, we'd be brewing it in a lab and you and I wouldn't be having this little tête-à-tête.  Incidentally, I am very fond of lemon cake. Where should we meet?

This is great Emily!  I want to make copies and just hand it to people who say the myth statements. =)

You're an excellent writer.

Thank you so much!