I have a problem with the month of April. Really crappy things have happened in the month of April and now, whenever that month rolls around, I sort of wish we could skip over those thirty days and get on with May.
November is a bit of a rough month though too. I was born in November and, seven and a half hours after I was born, my maternal grandfather died of lung cancer. Exactly one week later, my paternal great-grandmother died. I’ve grown up with the memories of others in regards to these two individuals and, I must confess, I always feel a little ripped off.
But for the most part, November is a wonderful month. I love fall and the crisp, clean(er) air it brings. I love the colour changing and wearing berets and, yes, I even love the cold, wet weather too.
This time though, I’m not loving November quite so much.
For those of us in the diabetic community, it’s Diabetes month, except that, for those living with the disease, every month is diabetes month and we’re all painfully aware of it.
Until this year, I had no idea there was World Diabetes Day (November 14th this year, in case you’d like to “celebrate” it). I had no idea that there was a blue circle to “brand diabetes” and “give diabetes a common identity”. Ignorance, as they say, was bliss.
But then I got diagnosed and the last four months have been anything but easy. And I’ve been on the internet ever since learning about my diabetes and trying to understand the other diabetes out there.
“So what’s your type?”
Mine is the suck ass kind and after reading another (much admired) blog post on World Diabetes Day, I’m not sure I will ever want to answer that question again.
It shouldn’t matter what type you are. Diabetes, all around, supremely sucks sweaty monkey balls. No, I can’t relate to having my tubing getting caught on a door knob (I can only imagine!). I don’t know what it’s like to have to take insulin on a regular basis for the rest of my life in order to survive, but I can learn about it and try to empathize and not be so obtuse to that type.
So imagine my surprise, as I was reading this blog post, that I started getting the general sense that I, along with anyone else who has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, that I somehow asked for it. That I made a lifestyle choice to get diabetes.
I am going to stop for a moment and say that the rest of this post is born out of the anger and frustration of being a diabetic and knowing I am actively doing things to improve the quality of my life and, I hope, for others.
I did not sign up to become a diabetic.
Sure. Maybe T2D is largely preventable. It’s much more largely preventable if it’s actually talked about. But in my case, I wasn’t ever told that I could be running the risk of getting diabetes.
I had no idea the constant stress I was under was making me a candidate for this shitty disease. I had no idea that my poor sleeping habits weren’t helping the situation either. I thought I was doing good – I don’t drink any alcohol, I don’t smoke (and I miss a good cigar!), I don’t do recreational drugs. Hell, I don’t even go to McDonald’s!
Yes, I could have been a bit more active or not had that bag of crisps or whatever, but again, I did not sign up to become a diabetic.
I absolutely resent (many things actually) that my diabetes was a lifestyle choice. I did not knowingly ever make a lifestyle choice to become diabetic. Never once did I have a medical professional or a pharmacist or anyone say to me, “Hey, you know… you’re getting older and you’re not as active as you once were. Did you know all that stress and being less active and not eating as healthy as you should could lead you to a path of diabetes?” It was never in the equation.
Would it have made a difference? I don’t know. I’d like to think that perhaps it would have, but I’m not sure. I am not the same person I was this time, last year.
Maybe there is a huge bias in this year’s awareness campaign towards T2D. I’m sorry for that. I almost feel personally responsible because, and God knows, T2D’s are taking over the world one body at a time.
This is in no way meant to diminish the severity of Type 1. Again, I can’t imagine what it’s like to have Type 1 and I’m not going to pretend to try. I try to understand it better than some, I try to learn things from those that are afflicted with it and I want to be someone that helps in the battle to find a cure for it.
But I want to find a cure for Type 2 as well.
Maybe that is “diet and exercise” for the masses, but for fuck’s sake, someone start saying that out loud; louder than it’s been said before. Because while T1D’s had absolutely no control over their disease, and while a percentage of T2D’s may have a predisposition, nobody sets out to become diabetic.
I get enough guilt thrown at me from my government and health care professionals. I would hope the diabetic community wouldn’t start throwing guilt at T2D’s too.
(As an aside, I have found far more many blogs about T1D than T2D. I wondered why that was but… I think I get it now.)