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