The ranting of a mother and advocate for Type one diabetes. The founder of www.diabetesadvocacy.com welcomes you to journey through life with a son with Type 1
Friday, May 17, 2013
Better the Devil I know
Day 5 and today’s prompt..Just like in the movie, today we’re doing a swap. If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes? And while we’re considering other chronic conditions, do you think your participation in the DOC has affected how you treat friends and acquaintances with other medical conditions?
This may seem weird, but I would not trade for any other chronic disease. Each one has its challenges and struggles. I think of people I know with asthma–they have to carry inhalers at all times and never know when an attack could strike. They do not always occur during the day. If an attack happened at night, would someone be there to help?
There is epilepsy. My aunt and uncle both live with this disease. My uncle has been seizure free for enough years now to be able to drive and live a “normal” life but the fear of never knowing when one could hit? The embarrassment they sometimes feel afterwards? No thank you.
There is celiac. That would be easy right? Wrong. I have considered trying a gluten free diet and then I looked at all of the “stuff” that you have to stay away from. Its bad enough reading carb counts, watching fat and dealing with fiber and protein but looking for hidden ingredients in food? Add to that the high cost of those foods without gluten No, I think diabetes will do. Granted with celiacs, you don’t have to carry around “stuff” but you have to be on your toes with every ingredient in every piece of food you think about eating.
Diabetes sucks. I hate dealing with it. I would love a cure but as they say “better the devil you know”! Has this devil given me a new respect for other chronic diseases? Absolutely! Before life with diabetes, I know I took things for granted. Now when I sit down to a meal with someone and we don’t have to count the carbs or deal with bg levels, I almost feel like something is wrong! Its not normal to do that–not to test or calculate!
I better understand parents who struggle for school supports for their children. I “get” adults who need time off work for health related issues. I hurt for those who have to struggle to get medications and medical devices paid for by insurance or public health care systems. I value my health in a new light. I appreciate each day in a way that I did not before diabetes. We are all (usually) happy to be alive but knowing how fickle diabetes can be, brings that happiness and gratitude to a new level.
Do I attribute this empathy with the DOC? Honestly, probably not. It comes from life experience–watching my son nearly die. The diabetes online community has brought people into my life who have situations that have made me work harder as an advocate. It has brought stories that keep me aware of how deadly this disease is. Most importantly, it has brought me friends and people who also have learned greater empathy and strength because of this beast.