"You must have bad diabetes"...
I am always taken back when I hear this statement. It's happened several times throughout my life with diabetes and I never know what to say. Today I was talking to some nurses at work when one started looking at my ID bracelet. That's when she said, "I didn't know you have bad diabetes". My reply, without trying to be too sarcastic, was "I didn't know diabetes was ever good." She then tried to explain further by comparing the way I manage my diabetes against another Type 1 nurse in the unit. Needless to say, she only dug her hole further.
I am always torn when answering this statement. On the one hand, I rarely feel "sick". I think of myself as healthy 99% of the time. (Granted I am writing this post with a blood sugar of 455 and large ketones, another post for another day). Since Sunday I have run about 16 miles, went to a spin class and an ab class, and chased a loose dog for 45 minutes with a nine year old neighbor. I eat more healthy food than much of my lunch table at work and I am at a healthy weight. All in all I feel healthy and would never claim to be sick.
Yet, diabetes is serious. It requires MUCH attention everyday. It can be all consuming, both in time and thoughts. It takes a lot of hard work to remain healthy and live with diabetes. I feel like there is a delicate balance in explaining the complexities of living with this disease. I would never use diabetes as a crutch and yet I want outsiders to realize that it isn't as simple as taking a shot of insulin. The truth is diabetes can be seriously debilitating if you don't pay attention to your body. However, I never want anyone to look at me and think "there goes that diabetic girl who is always sick".
I don't blame the nurse who said this today. If I think about my life prior to diabetes I probably would have said the same thing. The media does such a poor job of accurately displaying diabetes that often times it is all people know. The conversation ended well. I was able to educate my friend and hopefully she can spread it on to others. All in all, diabetes is a serious disease with horrible consequences IF I don't care for myself. All I can do is take every opportunity to manage my diabetes to the best of my ability.