Ever since this article came out concerning what I can legitimately see outsiders calling “the diabetes civil war” in the blogosphere, there has been some discussion. This post was originally a comment on Renate’s post at The Diabetic Duo. Renate is the mother of two type 1’s.
The article basically talks about people who want a new name for the disease, people who get angry and frustrated at assumptions that they have type 2 diabetes or can treat their type 1 like it’s type 2 diabetes, and the frustrations of both types of diabetes.
Stereotypes of type 2’s hurt type 2’s too. And while I get frustrated living with the comments I receive, especially being an overweight type 1, I wouldn’t want to live with type 2 either. It’s not an “either, or” it’s a “we’re all in this together.” I enjoy talking to type 2’s about their management. My favorite thing is when they ask me about taking insulin, and I am able to share with them the freedom insulin therapy brings!
In my opinion, the article doesn’t describe either type of diabetes very well. It does not use the terms “insulin resistance” “auto immune” or “beta cells” at all. That, from a scientific perspective, is frustrating because I feel as though they are misinforming their readers on important issues.
The fact is, people don’t care about curing type 1 until it affects them directly. I think that type 2 exposure is helping, somewhat. But people don’t talk about curing type 2, they talk about preventing obesity. They talk about starting programs in schools and they talk about taking personal responsibility for your health. Type 1 gets washed by the wayside. I have written before about “life like a type 2” for type 1’s. I try to think that way about myself sometimes. Yes, I can eat that, but I shouldn’t, no one should really eat a double cheeseburger with an extra large fries and a fried pie or giant milkshake for desert. Who’s that good for? A salad would be less likely to spike my blood sugar, and repeatedly choosing that salad would make my A1C better and lessen my chance for complications. The exact same thing applies to type 2’s. After Thanksgiving dinner, I went for a walk and I was only stuck in the 200’s for about an hour rather than all afternoon. It’s not typical type 1 behavior, but it works. We can learn from each other. Similar to the way I try to learn from type 2’s, type 2’s can learn from type 1’s.My good friend Bob is a type 2. He once told me that he pays attention to our type 1 talk in the D.O.C. sphere because, being that t2 is a degenerative disease, he knows he may be taking insulin, counting carbs, and fighting lows one day and he wants to know how to handle it now so he is ready for the shock.
As far as the name similarity goes, it bothers me from merely a scientific aspect. The disease is caused by different things and yet is treated as the same disease. Beyond that I am not concerned. I know how to defend myself from people who assume I have type 2 because I am overweight. I would never have animosity towards type 2 diabetes. Sometimes people in the DOC compare diabetes to AIDS. That’s an interesting comparison, because for so long people living with AIDS were seen as having done something wrong in order to contract the disease (and in many cases still are looked down upon). Type 2 is looked at similarly, only perhaps with less social stigma. I won’t get into that, but blaming someone for a disease they have even if it was manifested because of a destructive lifestyle is wrong and harms that person. There is no cure for AIDS, but with the correct medication, people who are HIV positive are living longer than ever. There is no cure for either type of diabetes, but if managed correctly, you can live with diabetes for a very long time.
The point is, we’re all in this together. I blog because I have type 1 diabetes, and if it means something to someone with type 1 diabetes, that’s great! I’m so glad. But I know that there are more people in the world living with type 2 diabetes, and certainly hope and pray that it means something to them as well.