Partial rant coming up!
I read a lot of diabetes blogs. Its how I got on board with my own insulin managed type 2 diabetes, despite the fact that most (like 99%) of the blogs are by or about type 1’s. Since I’m insulin dependent (at the moment), it helped a lot in understanding the insulin and the importance of counting carbs and managing injections properly, and basically living as an insulin-dependent diabetic.
I was reading through some of these blogs the other day and managed to track back through a couple of different ones with comments about a reality tv show that involved a young man having some major issues with his T1 diabetes, who also had with a T2 father. Lee Ann at The Butter Compartment made some comments about the show. Lee Ann’s blog is one of my favorites, and in truth, I agreed with both of her posts about this show but she did make a comment that struck that same T2 nerve with me. She said “…dad’s suggestion that it isn’t really that hard to manage diabetes was insensitive, and irrelevant because he presumably has T2 so what does he know? As far as I can tell, T2 is usually easy to control compared to T1, so of course he’d think that. It also perpetuated the idea that diabetes is easy to control amongst the general masses who don’t understand T1.”
Now I completely understand that there are tons of misguided people out there. I was probably one of them at one point. Some of the ones that really bother me are people who think:
- that all forms of diabetes are the same (which they’re not)
- that if you have diabetes (in any form) then you must have done something wrong to get it
- that if you take insulin (as a T1 or a T2) then you’re in worse shape than someone who doesn’t… like you have the “bad” diabetes
- that if you don’t take insulin you’re not a REAL diabetic
- that if you just ate right and exercised then you wouldn’t have diabetes anymore
Thinking of that last bullet point, obviously for a T1 that’s completely impossible. That last one is one of the reasons I’m so against people (T1’s and T2’s included) who seem to think that being a T2 is easier. To Lee Ann’s credit, she did say “as far as I can tell”. But the misconception I’ve heard, even from people who should know better, is that if I just dieted and exercised, I wouldn’t even have diabetes anymore.
Think about this. Exercise. Everyone is supposed to try and get some exercise in, every day or every other day, or whatever. If you’re a regular healthy person, you’re supposed to get some exercise. If you’re a T1, you’re supposed to get some exercise. But if you’re a T2, you HAVE to exercise. T2 is controlled through diet and exercise and maybe some meds if it’s just not working. How is that easy?
I don’t like to exercise. And yes, I believe that if I DID exercise, that I might not have to be on multiple daily injections of insulin. There is the possibility that I might not even have to take ANY meds, IF I do everything perfectly.
And while it may be true that I could get to the point where I’m so awesome that my diabetes is completely controlled by diet and exercise alone, and I don’t have any symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes, I’m totally stuck. I HAVE to exercise whether I want to or not. I HAVE to eat carefully. I can’t just have a piece of cake and bolus to cover the carbs. I’m only “supposed” to test one time a day. And if I do test and I’m high, I can’t do anything about it. Sure I don’t have the risk of overcorrecting and going low, but I also get to just look at the number on my meter and say “Well would you look at that? I’m high.” And if I can’t get that high number to come down?
** I do actually know a T2 who is actually controlling his condition through diet and exercise and as far as I know he’s doing an incredible job of it. So I know it IS possible! **
Yes, T1’s have a more “dangerous” form of this disease, I guess. Although I don’t like that word, really. There might be more potential issues because a T1’s body doesn’t create ANY insulin, but T2’s have just as many problems to deal with. They have a huge chance of having uncontrolled diabetes because they usually don’t test more than once a day. If their fasting blood sugar is fine but they’re having huge spikes for the rest of the day, they’re not even going to know something is wrong until they go in for an A1C. And that’s a bad cycle to repeat. And then it’s another 3 months to TRY and get it under control while not really understanding what they’re doing and just continuing on with the same poor management skills.
All diabetics should know what the actual facts of the disease are. And while it’s getting easier for T1’s to find information and find helpful people who want to help lead them through things, the same is not true for T2’s. YDMV (your diabetes may vary) applies for all diabetics, not just T1’s, and I think T1’s need to remember that as well.
/end partial rant
I’m not trying to step on any toes here, and I don’t want to be ostracized by the DOC for being an outspoken T2. I would love to hear the opinions of anyone who feels like giving them. Heck, maybe I’M following some misconceptions I don’t even realize. :)