Saturday, March 7, 2015

Dealing with the Mis-Informed

I don't understand where some people feel they are obligated to express their opinions in an unthoughtful manner. I don't understand if the issue is that they simply don't understand, or perhaps they think they understand something they really don't understand. 

So what do I mean? 

In the 5 years our family has dealt with Type One Diabetes, we have experienced and talked to people who have experienced this ever-so-common thinking:

"Type One Diabetes? Well, you know it could be much worse. You're so fortunate it wasn't cancer!"

So, whats the point? That's what I keep thinking...

Now before we delve into this sensitive subject - cancer is an extremely BIG deal! My mom had cancer, and that journey was not easy. We have friends and loved ones who have battled the heartless disease - and my point is not at all to minimize cancer.

Rather, my point is to break down the thinking behind the statement. In a way, it helps me to work out why they would say it - and in turn I think it will help other T1Ds that I have talked to about this subject. 

Two possible but different approaches could be used for this mentality:

1) It is a statement of coping. It's trying to help relieve the pain of your problem by putting it into perspective. Honestly, I think this is a great approach. Perspective is what makes almost any hardship in life bearable.

With this approach, the person who states "It could be much worse" is genuinely concerned with the pain that your or others is/are experiencing. Even through our diagnoses, our "Perspective Phrase" was,  "At least we are alive - 100 years ago and our parents would have buried their three youngest children."

2) It is a statement of ignorance. This approach can come across as extremely heartless at times. Now, I always have to remind myself that the people who are saying it are probably misinformed, and would never want to hurt us or any other diabetic. . . but they do. 

These are the kind of statements where "It could be much worse" translates to "This isn't as big as a deal as you're making it." I'm not here to open this up and shred the people who say things like this. For me, this states nothing but the lack of education of the speaker.

My solution to this bluntly arrogant and most likely misinformed statement is this - it's time to stop being silent. I am going to post just five simple facts about Type One Diabetes that make T1 a big deal. That prove this disease is not a "hyped up show but rather a deadly reality that we get to fight every single day. 

"5 Fast Facts for the Mis-Informed"

1) 20 Minutes Is All It Takes
Low blood sugar is the immediate and potentially fatal danger of Type 1. Blood glucose levels around 30 can cause a person to become unresponsive, resulting in a rapid succession of seizures, and ultimately followed by a coma. Any blood sugar below 70 should be taken seriously and immediately treated with fast-acting sugar.

2) There is NO Prevention
Nothing a person did or did not do could have prevented the onset of Type One. No amount of healthy eating or exercise could stop the unknown trigger that causes the body to attack the islet cells within the pancreas. 

3) There Is No Such thing as "Stable"
 Despite the rigorous effort with which a Type One works, blood glucose levels may not "stabilize." Life with Type One means daily highs, lows, constant monitoring, insulin dosing, carb counting, and adjusting.

4) Insulin or Die
Before the discovery of insulin in the 1920s, those diagnosed with Type One simply died. The few "fortunate" were kept alive for a few extra months through a starvation diet treatment. Type One diabetics must take insulin every day or they will die. Healthy eating, exercise, or herbal remedies will never eliminate the need for insulin.
5) There is No Cure
Type One is a lifelong (chronic) disease that requires 24 hour care and treatment. Children will not outgrow Type One Diabetes or insulin dependence. Every day, for the rest of our lives, those with Type One must take insulin. It's that simple. It's that scary.
This information incredibly stated by "Get Diabetes Right."
I think this is one of my weaknesses in life: I'm a naturally defensive person. Whether stories from camps we've attended, the DOC (Diabetes Online Community), or my own siblings, I feel it is necessary to stand up and support any diabetic I meet. It's part of that mutual bond created through a disease we all fight.

That is why I felt it necessary to take the time to address this issue. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to ask! I would love to help in any way possible. 


  1. Thanks for your post! I am praying for you all daily. Keep looking to God for your strength!
    Philippians 4:13

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