Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Diabetes

I can hardly believe it's already April. I spent the weekend planting my garden, but I still have lots to do outside. With work, writing and life, it's hard to get everything done that you want to do. Are there things you've been putting off because of time constraints? When is it a good time to realize you may never get it done and to stop beating yourself up over it?

I have a lot of fun things planned this month. Okay, one thing actually planned, but I hope to have fun, too. BRENDA NOVAK is going to be spotlighted on my blog this month, so be sure to check back (tentative date is April 17). The exciting thing about Brenda Novak's interview is her work in diabetes. Her son was diagnosed, and she has raised money and awareness through her online diabetes auction every since since 2005. Well known authors, agents, publishers and many others make donations. For writers, you can bid on a 24 hour critique. People have donated gift baskets, vacations, purses, jewelry, once in a lifetime experiences, and many more! Not only are you supporting a good cause and raising money, but you're getting something out of it, too!

On a personal note, I have had Type I Diabetes for 23 years. I've had problems but I am mostly complication free, so it's very possible to stay healthy if you take care of yourself! I also think there is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about the disease. I cringe when I heard the media talk about being overweight causing diabetes. Yes, it can, and it's a good reason to take care of yourself, but there are other factors. I hate hearing that eating sugar and drinking beer caused someone to have diabetes. I was a skinny child. Growing up, I was never sick. My one vice was tea with sugar, but I didn't pig out on sugar all the time and I didn't cause my pancreas to work overtime and suddenly fail. (You wouldn't believe some of the comments I've heard). There was no one in my family with diabetes and we'd never suspect I'd end up with it. Unfortunately, I got sick and from there, my whole life changed.

Diabetes affects a lot of people, but it isn't a disease where we should be scorned for having it, and a lot of the negativity I hear in the media makes people hide in shame. Like it's okay to be a child with it, because that means something just didn't work right, but as an adult with diabetes, you must have done something to cause it. THAT IS NOT EXACTLY THE CASE. I was a child once. I was diagnosed as a child and it will never change. Unless there's a cure in my lifetime, it's something I have to think about every time I wake up (is my blood sugar okay?) every time I go to bed (will I have low blood sugar in my sleep?), every time I get in the car (will I make it to my destination without my blood sugar getting low?) Every food choice I make revolves around my diabetes. Actually, my life revolves around it. It has to, if I want to remain complication free.

I don't mean to be snarky, but I've been through so many positive and negative aspects of the disease that I wanted to express them both. I'm almost scared to call it a disease because of some people's opinion that "it isn't a disease and I don't appreciate having that label put on me." (Yep, I've heard that one before, too). Well, guess what? Define disease. Diabetes fits that description. It can be controlled, but not cured.

I want people to realize how much diabetes affects our nation and how, little by little, we can make a difference. When I was first diagnosed, sugar was out of the question. I took four shots a day. Now, I can eat sugar as long as I take the correct dosage of insulin, which is now taken with my insulin pump. I knew a woman who never told anyone she was a diabetic, and she suffered in silence (which isn't always a good idea, when you lose your ability to make judgments and you may have to rely on someone else). She was also bitter about it, claiming she'd never see a cure in her lifetime. Well, there may not be a cure, but there are always new advances and things that make dealing with it easier.

Everyone at my work knows. It's important for them to know, because if I require medical attention or start acting funny at work (which I have!), they need to be aware.

I am proud of what Brenda Novak has done for diabetes. If you haven't heard of this auction, check it out! It's amazing how many people have contributed. Be sure to visit my auction item! A basket full of relaxation...lavender scented soaps, lotions and body washes along with a Spa Comforts herbal hug (I have one of these and it's great, especially f you work at a desk all day).

2 comments:

The Blonde Duck said...

Wonderful post! It's amazing you could grow up with such a misunderstood condition and be so secure with yourself. Kudos to you! Maybe you could write a guide about how to deal with diabetes as a child. That would be cool.

Ashley Ladd said...

My husband suffers from diabetes. His was adult onset, after he'd gained a lot of weight, so in his case, I think the weight was the trigger. However, I know that's not the only way people get it. I know a lot of people with it, some who had it since childhood. That's wonderful what Brenda is doing and also your blogging to bring awareness.