Perception of Diabetes

Since 10 am yesterday, my mind has been consumed with frustration towards the social media riot happening between Type 1 Diabetics and CrossFit. For those of you following me on Instagram, Twitter, or even friends with me on Facebook, yes, I’m bringing this issue up, yet again. I would promise this would be the last time, but in reality it probably won’t be.

This issue is discussed over and over and over again. Yet, nothing has changed! The world is in need of some diabetes 101 and diabetics need to step up and bring it!

Yesterday morning CrossFit, a company dedicated to health and fitness, posted a “parody” (as they call it) with a coca-cola bottle with the tag-line “open diabetes”. As if that picture wasn’t enough, they choose to include a quote from their CEO. “Make sure you pour some out for your dead homies” – Greg Glassman.

  
Dead homies. Yes, he went there.

To refer to someone as a “dead homie” in itself is plain rude. Has he never lost a family member or friend, to understand that you don’t refer to someone this way?

Last year, the UCF chapter of SWD (Students with Diabetes) lost one of our own. Lauren was incredibly bright, gorgeous and carefree spirit. She fought her battle with Type 1 until the end, when it ultimately took her home to the Lord. I promise you, it was not from drinking coca-cola or eating too much. She NEVER joked about her health and it was a wake-up to all the diabetics in her life of how serious Type 1 can be. That feeling we experienced is something I would never wish upon anyone.

  
As a kid, Type 1 made me feel different. I remember days when kids wouldn’t play with me on the playground because they thought they could “catch diabetes”. Don’t even get me started on the kid in middle school who asked me if I was fat as a child. Those levels of “bullying” ended in high school, but that doesn’t stop the looks from people when they see a pump clipped on your belt or the people staring at the OmniPod on your arm. Let’s be clear, I don’t mind the stares; I have nothing to be ashamed of. But do expect a look in return when I can hear you saying to the person next to you, “What’s on her arm? Something has to be wrong with her…” and you don’t approach me about it.

It amazes me that diabetes is something that people find acceptable to joke about. Don’t get me wrong, I love my diabetes memes and humor, but not when they are offensive or misguiding. Last year our shirts read “I’m so alpha my beta cells stopped functioning” – humorous, accurate, and not offensive. There are other conditions that don’t seem to get this harsh criticism. Why is it appropriate to joke about diabetes? Yes, SOME diabetes can be prevented. In most cases, especially with Type 1, it cannot. Yes, it is manageable and there are treatments available that make the disease easier. In reality, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in America. Yes, seventh. What comes before it? Heart Disease, Cancer, Lower Respiratory Diseases, Accidents, Stroke and Alzheimer’s (According to the CDC).

  
Last night, CrossFit came back to claim that they were referencing Type 2 Diabetics in their post. Even so, the post did not originally clarify that point. If that detail was specified in the beginning, maybe the reactions would have been different (although I doubt it). Type 1 and Type 2’s are always generalized together. Unfortunately, this won’t change unless others are willing to advocate and educate others. Type 1 is genetic and can have unknown causes. Since my brother is also Type 1, my family has assumed that there is a gene for it somewhere in our line. Type 2 on the other hand is largely genetic, but can be from lifestyle choices. Yes, obesity is a major cause of these “lifestyle” choices. This does not mean that every Type 2 is obese, or that every obese person has Type 2. To learn more visit: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/type-1/

I try not to be an overly dramatic diabetic. There are times when I get annoyed with other diabetic’s preaching. However, enough is enough! Diabetes or not, offensive comments towards any condition are uncalled for. I hope that CrossFit will publicly apologize to the hundreds that have seen and reacted to their post, but I won’t hold my breath. This happens more often than we know and it will take a lot of advocacy and hard work to educate America.

To all my Type 1 buddies reading this – we will stay strong, we will overcome and we will find a cure!

To all non-diabetics reading this – you are officially a Type 3. This term is coined for supporters of Type 1. You are the ones that motivate us, encourage us and inspire us to keep fighting this condition. It is a manageable condition but we would not be able to do this without your support.

If you want to read more commentary from another Type 1, this is a great blog post: https://audrameredith.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/im-not-sorry-a-pacreatically-challenged-redheads-lament/ .

Thank you for reading this lengthy post, especially those Type 3’s out there!

Until next time,
Insulin-Powered Intern

  

 

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