Thursday, January 6, 2011

What's all the hub-bub, Bub?

Once again a celebrity has opened their mouth before thinking about what was being said.  Yesterday Rikki Lake mistakenly stated that Type 1 diabetes was preventable.  She never knew what a hornets' nest she walked into with those few words.  Very quickly after her faux pas on Good Morning America, social networks were abuzz with outrage that people with Type 1 diabetes were once again being "blamed" for their disease.

I admit that I did stand up and state that I thought she was a bit of an idiot.  I also stated that sadly, like diabetes, there is no cure for stupid.  I do believe that people coming out in the media should have their facts straight before they open their mouth.

The entire diabetes community was not up in arms about this as the furor might have suggested. I had a few friends who, like many of us, are simply tired of stupid.  They have decided not to get their undies in a twist over every misstatement made in the media and simply take solace in the fact that their children understand how serious their disease is.

I do appreciate that feeling.  I have reached a point where I do pick my battles.  I understand that there was a piece on the popular show "The Doctors", in which diabetes was discussed, Type 1 was mentioned but still the gist of the story could leave people thinking that lifestyle would "cure" Type 1 diabetes.  I can't be that picky.  They mentioned the two types, people need to be healthy, okay I am done.

When picking my battles, I do take exception to statements like that made by Miss Lake.  I do not expect everyone to be an expert on diabetes, but unfortunately when people are given the opportunity to be in mainstream media AND they are promoting themselves as somewhat of a health expert things change.  There are many people who watch them and believe what they say.  They do not research the validity of what they say, they assume it to be so because they saw it on a credible show. 

Again, the question was so what? Who are these people that believe everything they see on TV and how do they impact my life? They are your teachers, your neighbours, your politicians, and John Q Public who looks for a worthy cause to support each year. 

I know that most of these people should be smarter than that.  Should be perhaps but how much information does the average person glean from the media and do they tend to just take at face value? I read yesterday that a person refused to donate to the JDRF because they knew that kids were eating too much junk and their parents should be ashamed of themselves for giving this disease to their kids.  My two year old never had a piece of "junk" until he was much, much older and at that point it was in moderation and with an external source of insulin to keep him alive. 

The misinformation about diabetes (both Type 1 and Type 2) spreads much faster than true facts.  The diabetes community knows the difference.  We complain and occasionally, as was the case with Rikki Lake, sincere public and private apologies are made.  Does that change the big picture? Probably not.  We need to educate as strongly with "good" information.  Myth spreads like wildfire. Its just like gossip.  Truth and the real story is not pretty. 

Children drawing needle marks on their body was a powerful message that it did not run very long on public television stations.  The fact that people with Type 1 diabetes are still seven times more likely to die at a younger age than their counterparts gets shuffled to the back pages of journals, never sees the front page of a paper, and garners little if any media attention. 

So what does this mean? Do we sit quietly when stupid remarks are made? Do we not bother to educate because people aren't getting it anyway? No.  I think we educate more.  We groan when someone is stricken with "stupid" and then we work harder to "cure" them. They will never become as well versed as we are because their lives or the lives of their loved one's are not hanging in the balance but hopefully they will get one step closer to knowing that diabetes is serious.  Diabetes is deadly.  Diabetes is not a disease that anyone wants or enjoys.  It needs to be cured.


  1. Barb, I appreciate your candidness on diabetes being "deadly"...I think so many of us push that to the background. This is serious shit and we need to do a better job by our children and by other PWD's!

    Great post.

  2. Thanks Reyna. This is serious and we need the rest of the world to understand and respect that.

  3. I too have a rebelling teen. My daughter was diagnosed 2 years ago and was the perfect child. Then it all changed....
    Now only tests her blood sugar when I 'remind' her and has been way too high. We are contantly giving correction doses.
    In the morning we have great numbers, almost perfect. But by the time she comes home from school, we are not usually under 15. The last few days we haven't been under 20. But then we are dealing something else right now.
    All our ratios have been changed and we have even changed insulin.
    My daughter is 15 years old and refuses the pump right now. Some say that would help her and others say it would make it worse.
    Her A1C was almost 10% at our last appointment and we are really hoping our feb appointment is way less.
    My goal is to get her to test herself on her own, without my reminders! She blows it off and says "mom, I took the insulin for what I am eating. I know what I am doing."
    I hate being a nag but I don't know what else to do!

  4. Hang in there! From what I have been told, nag, punish, stick to your guns and one day there should be a light at the end of the tunnel. My son gets it on occasion. We are currently going through a good period. I hope it lasts although puberty hormones are working hard at kicking our butts.
    The pump is not a magic solution and does require some serious dedication on everyone's part.
    Good luck!! If you can, take her to a diabetes event like family camp or any of the CWD FFL conferences. Great speakers and they are not the only child with diabetes.