The drawbacks of superiority

Blogger fun fact: I’m higher evolved! I’m not kidding, totally am. It was almost 10 years ago now when a girlfriend of mine first pegged my higher evolved state, and truthfully, I have no idea how we didn’t glom onto it sooner. When you line up all the factors, it makes sense really:

  • My pancreas doesn’t produce insulin and in the future nobody will be producing insulin because our bodies won’t need insulin.
  • I have no wisdom teeth, period, and wisdom teeth are a serious throwback of the neanderthals.
  • I never had the chickenpox, and again, chickenpox, like smallpox, will be eradicated in the future.

(My girlfriend is a serious Star Wars and Jean Luc Picard nerd, hence her love of the future :D) And so, because it was way better to believe and to tell people that I’m higher evolved than to have to explain to them all about my chronic disease, I totally went with it. But here’s the thing, being higher evolved and having a body that’s meant for the future does me no good here in the present.

November is National Diabetes Month, November 14 is World Diabetes Day and yesterday was D-blog Day, which was started six years ago as a way of uniting diabetes bloggers and creating awareness about diabetes. Every year diabetes bloggers are given a topic to discuss and this year’s topic was to list off six things you want people to know about diabetes. So here goes:

1. Friends, family, complete strangers, hear me now: It is NOT a mortal sin if I have a piece of chocolate or two. I am NOT going to die if I do in fact eat that super chocolate, chocolate chip cookie over there. Yes, I have diabetes, and yes, the diabetes world when I was diagnosed 23 years ago was super strict on not letting us little diabetics eat even just a crumb of sugar, but just like technology, science evolves, as does diabetes. No you’re not going to see me slugging back a slurpee, but I will enjoy a nice piece of Belgian chocolate (which by the way I’m doing right now) and cookies and ice cream and tartelettes thank you very much – all within reason.

2. Diabetes does NOT make me an invalid. I can do pretty much anything you can do. I can compete in dragon boat races, ride my bike 80 km over the seemingly never-ending mountainous climbs to Horsheshoe Bay, run 5 km, 10 km, 21.1 km, 42.2 km. I can work. I can travel the world. I can live. While diabetes can be a challenge, it does not hold me back – I refuse to let it.

3. I am NOT to blame for having diabetes. Nothing I did in the nine years before I was diagnosed could have caused me to be diagnosed. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults (and was previously known as juvenile diabetes, which would kind of be funny to say I have juvenile diabetes now that I’m 32 hey :D) and is the result of the body not producing insulin, a hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy – NOT the result of me not being healthy and not taking care of myself.

4. When I ask for the ingredients list at a restaurant, or check the carb counts on the back of food products, it’s NOT because I’m fretting about my weight, or because I’m on some crazy fad diet, but it is because I need to know these facts in order to figure out how much insulin to give for what I’m eating, in order to manage my diabetes.

5. Oh blood sugars, they can be a beautiful thing one minute and an absolute nemesis the next. See, they’re kind of moody those blood sugars, the smallest of things can send them into a raging tirade. Stress, change of weather, any kind of change for that matter, menstruation, activity, excitement can all wreak havoc on blood sugars, and because we diabetics don’t have insulin to fight back with, we’re kind of screwed if we don’t keep on top of it … it can be a challenging disease to say the least, some days more so than others.

6. The statistics are staggering. An estimated 285 million people worldwide are affected by diabetes, a number that continues to rise, and is expected to hit 438 million by 2030. In Canada, more than nine million people are living with diabetes, which is one in four Canadians. And every hour of every day, more than 20 people are newly diagnosed. And while insulin saved my life, insulin is NOT a cure. It’s time for a cure.

Aug. 23, 1987: My sister's 18th birthday and the day I was diagnosed with diabetes. Insulin saved my life, but insulin is only a Bandaid, it is not a cure. Me today, NOT defined by my diabetes!

So there you go, six things about diabetes, maybe not the most scientific or thought-provoking things, but things nonetheless that make up my world with diabetes.

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3 responses to “The drawbacks of superiority

  1. 1. Should I grow a moustache for this National Diabetes Month?
    2. Mmmmmm….Belgian chocolate
    3. Looking at your list, I have come to the conclusion that you can do even a little more than I can

  2. Kids!!! no moustache Matt!
    Well written Katie, and the cause of your diabetes was from a flue you had about 3 months prior to being diagnosed and the doc’s stated it was a gene that broke down from this flue. AND all 6 of us had the flue, it was a bad one.

  3. Very interesting post!!

    I’m jealous you never had wisdom teeth, the weekend I got those taken out was the worst one of my life I think 😉

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