Saturday, February 13, 2010

What We All Share

I'm a person that believes in mutual respect and understanding among people. (I  don't always manage to be entirely respectful or understanding, but I work on it.)  Humans have different beliefs on subjects such as politics and religion, and while those things are very important and involve real principles, I much prefer in most circumstances to focus on what we have in common.  I've had many meaningful experiences with people that differ from me in some important aspect of life or perspective.

Over at the diabetes community in which I've participated the most, there are occasional little flare-ups of resentment among folks with different types of diabetes.  While I understand that there's valid basis for some of this resentment, discussions along these lines always bring me anxiety, because I'm afraid of losing the many benefits I've received from participating in the unified community and the friendships I've developed with people experiencing different disease mechanisms.

(Manny Hernandez has a wonderful post/vlog on this subject over at TuDiabetes which is probably the best thing I've seen on this subject.  Cherise Shockley also recently addressed some churning resulting from the Oprah episode in her blog at Diabetes Daily.  Go watch/read these now -- I'll wait for you to get back.  Don't worry, I won't be bored.)

Yes, we ARE a diverse group -- although it seems to me that it is not so much the precise disease that makes the difference as much as treatment type and personal history.  T1s need insulin to stay alive -- but so do some T2s.  T1s have usually had their disease since they were quite young - and this is true of increasing numbers of T2s as well.  T2s have  faced the shock of diagnosis and lifestyle change as adults - as have our LADA folks.   T2s are often walking pharmacies due to having a number of conditions - as are many folks with other disease mechanisms.  Even among those of us who require insulin, the type of therapy used makes significant difference in how the disease impacts us.  So, is precise reason we struggle with blood sugar all that relevant to our daily lives?

So, in the spirit of my preference to focus on what unites us, here are some things to me that all of us share. (Well, most of us, anyway -- not every individual experiences all these things.)
  • We all know our pharmacists better than we might wish.
  • We all view food manufacturers' health claims with a jaundiced eye.
  • We all face the same possible long-term complications if we're unable to maintain good control -- and maybe even if we are.  
  • We all get sore fingers.
  • We all need the support of people who understand.
  • We can all have our moods improved or ruined by the numbers on our meters.
  • We all wish vending machines offered wider choices.
  • We'd all love to eat without planning or worry. 
  • We all strive to make healthy choices that will help bring about a bright future.
  • We all have relationships with food that are rather complicated.
  • We all sometimes need to cry, to laugh, to hide, to hug.
  • We all have the same loves, hopes, fears, and joys that all humans do.
Again, I really do understand that the ways diabetes is treated in the media and how diabetics are perceived by others causes some natural resentment.  But I feel to my core that the unity of our community is much, much more important than the differences among us. 

(Now, as to the bitter controversy between those who wipe and those who lick after a blood test?  That one may need the UN!)

    3 comments:

    1. Bob: Great post, man! Way to look for the positive amid the too-often touted negativity. Often, I myself as a 25-year Type 1 (since age 5) feel this natural resentment or even slighted-ness by all the Type 2 focus. Lots of misinformation, misunderstanding, and generalization out there. But you're Spot On with what we share in the Diabetes Community. As Cherise accurately said, we ARE stronger than the division. United We Stand, Divided We Fall. Preach on.

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    2. Bob-

      Excellent post! You totally made me smile! I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees the problems with the t-1 and t-2 issues. Bottom line we all need to come together and nip the divison in the bud. It takes a community to be heard not t1 or t2. thanks for mentioning my post, it room a while to write it but it was time to get it off my chest.

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    T Minus Two by Bob Pedersen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.