Monday, January 28, 2013

Shut the Eff Up Already!!

Last week, a fabulously depressing article about diabetes was posted by several people on Facebook. It was all about the changing face of diabetes in Canada and it reports on the rising rates of Type 2 diabetes, the contributing factors, the costs to our health care system and the risks for those who have diabetes.

The best thing I can say about the article is that the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 were explained. This is not always the case. The explanation was not particularly elaborate but at least the author did distinguish between the two types. No mention of LADA anywhere though...

Anyway, I could write several blogs about all of my various frustrations with articles like this one, the fear they create, the depression they can cause and the misconceptions about diabetes that they perpetuate.

Today though, I want to focus on one line in particular:

"Life expectancy for people with type 1 diabetes may be shortened by as much as 15 years. Life expectancy for people with type 2 diabetes may be shortened by 5 to 10 years."

That's right folks, you can shave as much as 15 years off my life because of my faulty pancreas.

Or so the article says anyway. 

Do you know what I want? I want to someone to write an article about the effects of healthy living on that life expectancy sentence. The effects of checking my blood sugar 10-15 times a day and keeping my A1C in range. The effects of exercising 5 to 6 days a week, every week. Of maintaining a healthy weight. Of eating my fruits and vegetables and quinoa and brown rice and salmon. The effects of having low blood pressure and low cholesterol. The effects of not smoking, of keeping a healthy work-life balance and of getting 8 hours of sleep most nights. 

I would argue that I am healthier than the majority of the population if you simply look at those factors. 

Add Type 1 to the list and I immediately get lumped in a the same health category as an overweight smoker with high cholesterol. 


I refuse to believe it. I refuse to believe that, with all the time and energy I dedicate to taking care of myself, I am going to drop dead of a stroke or heart attack at 65 years of age because of diabetes.

That may be naive on my part but I don't see any other way to deal with such depressing information other than to plug my ears and sing lalalala until the mean people who say these things shut the eff up. 

I have a chronic disease that has a list of complications that is so long and so scary that I cope by ignoring it completely, setting my alarm for 4:50am and going to the pool. 

I have a chronic disease that could kill me tonight if my blood sugar drops too much and too quickly for me or anyone around me to react. I cope by never being more than a few steps from a stash of fast acting carbs and by checking my sugar like a hawk. 

I have a chronic disease that leaves my fingertips scarred and calloused and my bank account much much lower than it would be otherwise. I cope by painting my fingernails pretty colours and always bringing lunch and my homemade coffee to work to save money. 

Diabetes is fabulous in the sense that it never, for one day, lets you forget that you have it. I don't need anyone to remind me of that.  

I don't want to read articles about the depressing life sentence that diabetes hands to people. I want to read articles about the amazing things people do in the face of that life sentence. I want to be inspired by others who beat the odds. I want to learn about the effect that even small changes can have so that I, and other like me, are inspired to try to be just a little bit better tomorrow than they were today. I'm sure others do too. 

So, dear medical profession - stop scaring the crap out of people by saying 'You have diabetes' and then handing them a pamphlet about all the awful things they can look forward to before they die of a heart attack at 65, blind and on dialysis. 

Dear media world - stop making us want to put our fingers in our ears and sing lalalala in a effort to ignore the awful things you remind us of.

If you can't say something nice - shut the eff up!


  1. I couldnt have said it better myself!

  2. You said that much more eloquently than I could've. The worst is when I hear things like that from family members about complications in people they know. Can't exactly go lalalala to that.


  3. Yes! I absolutely agree with you.