Yesterday a wonderful friend by the name of Catherine posted an apt status on Facebook. She noted that "November is National Diabetes Month. It isn't pink or sexy. It doesn't involve boobs or football players or cute t-shirts. Its about our LIFE. Its about being grateful when your loved one wakes up in the morning. Its about 3 am blood sugar checks, boxes of juice, and the smell of insulin on your hands when you change a pump site of fill a syringe. Its about life!" I shamelessly stole that status and noted it on the Diabetes Advocacy Facebook Like Page.
The reaction was strong. Pam remarked that she was crying while reading this. She lives in a house filled with diabetes (she has Type 2 and other members have Type 1). She noted that this status reflected her life. Like too many of us, Pam does not get a full night's rest because she is up testing blood glucose levels. Also like the rest of this, she does not state this to gain pity. She does what she does out of love. She realizes that diabetes is deadly even if the general public does not always get it.
Pam reminds us that diabetes impacts all aspects of our life. It demands respect and if you do not give it...well it win. It will kill you and only then will people take notice.
What a stark reminder for those of us who live in similar situations as Pam. We need the rest of society to understand. Diabetes is often swept to the side as not being serious. Society likes to blame the victim--you brought it on yourself. For those of us whose children were only young when diagnosed, we understand the sting when people tell us that we must have fed our babies too much chocolate. Personally that one always kills me. I fed my son too much junk? He was 2 when he was diagnosed. He never had his first chocolate bar until he was at least 6 years old and that was a Halloween sized treat! I did not fill his baby bottles with pop and sugary drinks. My son is not to blame. Bad genes? Environmental triggers? We don't know what to blame but it was not him nor is it our care of him. We did all we could to keep him healthy.
Today we look to society to help us find a cure. In the month of November we look to society to try to understand just how abnormal our lives have become since diabetes moved in. We want them to understand that if we do not respect this unwanted house guest, our loved ones could die. Diabetes is dead serious. Yes it is manageable. Yes our children and loved ones can live very full lives but it is work. They must think constantly about how their body reacts and what it needs. This is not a "normal" life. This is a life with diabetes.