I was having lunch the other day with a few ladies that I know through work.
One of them mentioned that she had type 2 diabetes and then I mentioned I had type 1 diabetes and we got down to chatting.
She said that she was really struggling with keeping her blood sugars in check, particularly in the mornings. She said that her doctor was not happy with her numbers and was saying that, if she didn't get a better handle on then, she would have to go on insulin.
"I really don't want to end up on insulin" she said to me, with a hint of fear in her eyes.
"Stop right there!" I said holding my hand up.
"Let me guess" I said. "I'm going to guess that, every time you go to your doctor, you are told about all the awful things that will happen to you if you don't get things under 'under control'."
"I'm also going to guess that you leave there terrified of all the predictions, the fear helps motivate you for a week or two but then you go back to the life you always live because it just feels so overwhelming."
"And I'm also going to guess that you think 'ending up' on insulin means that you failed. That you were not able to 'control' diabetes on your own and this is a sign to the world that you failed."
"Everything you said is true" she said, her eyes filled with tears.
"Listen" I said. "Taking insulin is not a sign of failure. If that is the best way for you to lower your blood sugar safely and effectively, then what's the problem with that? You would feel better and it's better for your overall health. I would much rather be on insulin and have good blood sugars than resist it and have higher numbers. Wouldn't you?"
"Yes!" she said brightening.
"And don't let your doctor use scare tactics to try to get you to do what they want you to do. They don't work, they end up making people feel worse and you'll go back there again in six months and hear the same speech all over again. You need to find people like you who get it, who can support you and who can inspire you to make positive changes in your life."
"You're right" she said. "I feel better just talking to you."
"And I also want you to remember that diabetes has a bad rap. People are judged immediately by the term and the stereotype is that you brought it on yourself by poor diet and lack of exercise. There are so many other factors involved that people just don't understand. You're pretty new at this too and you probably believe a lot of those stereotypes yourself and then feel bad because you think that you 'fit' that and you deserve what you get. That's not true. You have diabetes so figure out how best to deal with it, how best to take care of yourself but don't you dare feel guilty about it."
"Thank you" she said with a smile.
And the three of us carried on with our lunch in friendly conversation.
I told Doug about the conversation when I get home.
"You know baby" he said, "you are in the wrong line of work."