Very Old, Very Healthy Diabetic

...or die trying.
I was diagnosed in 1998 at the age of 33 with NIDDM or Type 2 diabetes. I come from a diabetic clan. I even married a diabetic. Are you on the diabetes road, too?
This is my goal: to become a very old, very healthy diabetic by day to day choices regarding eating, exercise and medical management. Walk along with me...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Support each other

Well, despite my earlier Type vs. Type post, I do believe that Type 1s have more in common with Type 2s than we have different.

We're all human. We're all facing a disease that, although the causes are different, the effects are largely similar, and the threat to our lives and our health is largely similar. I'm hoping that Type 1 gets cured, at least for north americans with health insurance, within the next twenty years. I don't think that's an unreasonable hope.

So, I'm trying to seek out a support group for Type 2 diabetics and I was considering starting one. I posted on a community board and got a few responses, but at least one was from an oddball. (I call him a that because in one email he mentioned an honorary degree and said that it was well-deserved. That seems odd to me. He was unwilling to work with me because I am a Christian.) One was from a person who resides about 1-2 hours out of town. One was from a nice gay person, but he may have been discouraged by my response that I was not planning on starting a group at this time or he may have reached the conclusion that, due to my faith, that I wouldn't be interested in meeting him or offering him support or receiving support from him. (If you're here, sweetie, that's so not true, and I would be happy to hear from you again. Email me. Let's have coffee.)

I thought that the ads on that board ran for one week and then were removed. But today, I get this:

"You can call any and ALL of the hospitals in the Portland Metro area and get information on their Type 2 Diabetes Groups. What they DONT have is a group for Type 1's. You know, the few of us that DIDNT stuff our fat asses until we gave ourselves a disease! Type 2 Diabetes ISNT taking over the world. Fat, lazy people are!"

Oh, gee, thanks. Not the type of support I was hoping for.

Babe, I would love for there to be a support group for you. I could recommend some free therapy groups , that although they don't directly deal with diabetes, may help you deal with the chronic stress and anger that is obviously eating your capacity for sympathy for your fellow humans. And I know that your response is a close to a normal one, due to the fact that your disease happened to you, the fact that you have little control over it, and the day-to-day stresses that you face. May you find health and healing on your road. I hope you find that tomorrow is a day when you would not have such an angry and judgmental response. A lot of us flare up and say foolish things like that, although it's not helpful, nor, in my opinion, healthy.

But what you believe about the prevalence of support for type 2s does not reflect the reality that I find. When I call the local hospitals, they want to sign me up for a diabetes education class, costing hundreds of dollars, and only lasting a short time. I'm hoping to live with my disease for more than 40 years. I think I need more than four classes to equip me to do that.

And I deserve to have support for my disease, and my disease process, even though it's different than yours. And there are enough of us on the diabetes road, that this kind of support should be possible, in any community of any size, without requiring us to pay a health professional to provide it for us. We can provide it for each other, if we have the will and the generosity to do so.

We are subject to depression and anger. If I'm having a bad day, can I count on you to lift me up? I'd like to know that you'll do that for me. I know that I'd like to do it for you. We can get through this, day by day, together, with each others help.

I would love for there to be support groups for every sub-group of diabetes, for both main types and all the atypical types. I'd love to see a menu of support groups for women, for men, for each decade of life, for diabetic athletes, for diabetics losing weight, for agnostic diabetics, for gay people with diabetes, for diabetic hunters, for left-handed persons with diabetes, and so on and so forth.

I hate that that person who sent me that message proved to me that there is a lot of judgment on persons with type 2 diabetes, as being fat and lazy and type 2 diabetes as being self-induced. I could have gone all week without that.

When I was diagnosed, I did weigh about 190. (I'm 5'6".) I had walked the marathon and a relay race, twice, within two years of my diagnosis. I had just turned 33. As of this morning, the scales report that I weigh 172. I wear a size 12 women's clothing. I'm working towards a weight of 160. My eating guru says a woman of my height should weigh about 117. I'll aim for it, doc, really I will. And I struggle with fat-prejudices too.

I was reading another blog, where that person said that she avoided posting about controversial topics. Isn't that what blogging is for? For posting one's own personal insight on topics that may be controversial?

But, hey, I'm not for increasing the amount of hate and judgment in the world. Even though I have my own opinions about what is right and what is not right, I respect that each human has her own road to walk, that each of us can reach our own conclusions about these things.

Flame off, friend!


  • At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    just a quick comment for you. The way to find out if a hospital offers a free support group is to get their magazine type thing. Most do offer a D support group which if you attend will find it is mostly about type 2's. You can also try looking on the hospitals website.

  • At 9:29 PM, Blogger Allison said…

    I was wracking my brain trying to figure out if there are any diabetes support groups in our area... I know the kids one (Children's Diabetes Network), which might be interesting for you for their annual research seminar in the spring (and if you read any of my old posts, you'll notice that the seminar is named after my late doctor, James Hansen).

    I am almost positive that OHSU has a support group for adults with diabetes. If you search with your zip code, you'll get a list of groups in Portland. Some are Type 1 and Type 2, some are just type 2.

    We should meet sometime. I mean, I know I'm a Type 1 (I know, I'm sorry, ;-)) but we live in the same city, seems silly to not meet up. Email me.

  • At 8:12 AM, Blogger Lori Rode said…

    I would love to meet with you, if it works into our schedules in the next few months.

    Please-no apologizing for being the "wrong" kind of diabetic. Both kinds of diabetes are so wrong on so many levels.


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