Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The slow, silent, unsexy killer

 (this photo has nothing to do with anything here, it's just a pretty picture of a recent misty morning)

This past saturday was World Diabetes Day. Don't worry, this isn't turning into a d-blog (that's a new phrase I just learned. There's a whole community of diabetes bloggers I didn't even know existed. So exciting for me! But since I rarely talk about The Big D here, probably less exciting for you.) I just wanted to share my thoughts on the impact—actually, lack of impact—of World Diabetes Day. I watched the trending topic (which carried the promise of 1 cent donated to diabetes research for every single mention) slide further and further down on Twitter until it, depressingly, was gone. And yes, I admit it, I get my news from Twitter and The Daily Show. I'm one of those people.

Diabetes is really the invisible (and totally, totally un-sexy) killer.  I found this quote from Dr. José Oberholzer, an endocrinologist who's working on islet transplantation: "When I go to donors to raise money, I always say that it is the silent disease. It's not spectacular like AIDS, where people panic, and it's not like cancer—everyone is afraid of cancer. It's not like a spectacular heart attack. It's a very slow killer. Most people think it's your fault if you have diabetes. They think you ate too much and you didn't move enough. They're not differentiating between type 1 and type 2, that's my impression. Even if they do know the difference, they think that there are not very many people affected by type 1. But as you know, that is totally not true. Not everyone who eats a lot and doesn't move has diabetes. And you can move a lot and not eat much and still become type 2." [Go here for an explanation of the differences in types.]

Food for thought (sorry, pun intended.) And, hey, if you're reading this blog, you do know someone with Type 1. So, you know, just spare some love for the folks with "the sugar." And if you want to learn a little bit more about what it's like to live with the disease, visit Six Until Me, a great blog by a type 1 diabetic, with links for exploring deeper in the d-blogosphere.


orange sparrow said...

my fiance has type 1... When he moved close to me and changed doctors, I made sure I went with him so I could ask my questions. Being the worrier that I am, I wanted to and am happy that I did... it hasn't happened yet, but I feel like I could figure out how to help if he couldn't help himself.

thanks for posting this, I now have new blogs to read ;)

cindy said...

are you a diabetic? scott has had it since he was 13. his mom said it best and she never cursed 'it's a bitch'. it's 24/7 and unless someone actually has to deal with a life like that they have no idea. we've had family members get put out if he says he shouldn't eat dinner at 9pm and things like that. even though we've been together all these years, i don't really know what it's like for him. i know it's hard and for me, too.

fortunately, he's really good and doesn't eat sweets very much. in fact, i think we would make a good scientific study because he eats healthy food and i don't, unless he coerces me to ;). xo, c

Clementine said...

Beth--that's so great that you're supportive and involved, I'm sure it will make both your lives easier.

Cindy--sorry, yes, I should have been more clear: I do have type 1. I hear you on other people sometimes being put out by Scott's eating needs. It's such a shame that not only do you have to worry about your own body, all day every day, but then other people sometimes make you feel like that's an imposition on them. People don't mean to be insensitive, I'm sure, it's just a lack of knowledge about the disease and about life with the disease.