Race Schedule and Results

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ignorance drives me nuts!

*** EDITED BELOW BY AUTHOR***

As the wife of a type 1 diabetic, I am continually amazed by the ignorance and stupidity of people. My husband was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 28. No, he's not over weight. No, he's not unhealthy. Those are the first two things that people assume when they hear that he's a diabetic. See, there's 2 kinds of diabetes - the unhealthy kind and the unlucky kind. My husband has the unlucky kind. I'll explain...


Type 1 diabetics are insulin dependant. Many people used to think that only young kids get it (it's sometimes called Juvenile Diabetes), but the trend is changing that anyone can get it at any time. At some point in their life, their pancreas dies and they can no longer deliver sugar to organs (the role of insulin). Many times there is nothing in particular that brings the disease on - much like in the case with Tom. He was a football player through college, had already run a handful of marathons, was actively involved in triathlons, had a single digit body fat % and was in phenomenal physical health when he was diagnosed. They don't know what brought it on, but he's going to live with it for the rest of his life. He gives himself 5 or so shots a day, pricks his finger 10 or so times a day and LIVES with the disease. Since he didn't do anything to bring it on and can't change the diagnosis, he has the unlucky kind.

Type 2 diabetics generally have a hard time producing insulin, although their pancreas isn't dead. Many times the disease is brought on by an inactive lifestyle, a generally unhealthy weight, poor eating habits, etc. By changing their diets, incorporating exercise and possibly taking a pill by mouth once a day, they have the chance to reverse their diagnosis and overcome the disease. This is what we call the unhealthy kind of diabetic, although they CAN change the diagnosis.

So with that being said... why can't people just try to think before they speak. We once had someone said "Until I met Tom, I never felt sorry for diabetics because I figured they brought the disease on themselves". Tom is working on a fundraising project which involves bracelets that say "Running On Insulin" (that happens to be Tom's motto, his website and a team that he's forming). He was on the phone with the company today that's making the bracelets and was deciding what size he should order for the 1000 bracelets that he'll be getting. He knew that he'd like to have some for everyone. The lady from the company said "well since they are for diabetics, you should probably get all of them in size large."

Really lady? That's what you think, that all diabetics are fat? Well this guy has diabetes:
So do these guys: This whole team has diabetes, oh and they have won RAAM twice against non-diabetic riders (and as an added bonus, my hubby is a member of this team, although the Team Type 1 Triathlon team).And this is my favorites Type 1 Diabetic:

Maybe she needs a bracelet ... and a good smack upside the head!

***Edit added 7/26 - I've had a few people tell me that I'm wrong in what I wrote about Type 2 diabetics and I want to clear some things up. First, I never said that EVERY overweight person has type 2 or that EVERY type 2 is overweight. I said that generally that's the trend. I stand by that, even after learning that 20% of Type 2's are of normal weight. I guess there's a discrepency as to when "generally" can be used - 80% seems to be a fair number, but maybe I'm wrong. I also mispoke when I wrote that type 2 diabetics CAN reverse their diagnosis. There is a number of them that can't because they fall into that category of being healthy with a genetic makeup for Type 2, older people, etc. So I just wanted to clear that up. I wasn't 100% wrong in my statements that I made here and quite frankly learned something as well which I will always admit. I have now been educated on something I made an assumption on and apologize.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the post. It is frustrating and it is also very ironic. Ironic becasue I am purchasing the wristbands as part of a fundraising effort which is part of my overall effort to "change perceptions". Change perceptions of the general public so they don't think or say things such as the bracelet woman said, and change perceptions of fellow type 1 diabetics so that they don't buy into these beliefs themselves. It is just a reminder of the "fat and lazy" label that is attached to diabetes as a whole by the general public and with that being accepted as fact you can see why proper fundraising for research and education is hard to achieve.
Thank you again and I love you very much.
The Ironman countdown clock is almost as double digits! Exciting!
Tom

We are the Ferrari's said...

Very well put! Can you believe the things people say sometimes?

Sarah Dee said...

Thank you for posting this. There are so many misconceptions about all medical issues. It drives me nuts too.

teacherwoman said...

Very infomative post. I think people need to know the facts before opening their mouth.

IronTriTim said...

Very interesting post. Great to see someone living and excelling as well as letting everyone know more about diabetes.

IronTriTim said...

Very interesting post. Great to see someone living and excelling as well as letting everyone know more about diabetes.

Liz said...

This is a great post...and I love the last line! :)

Steve Stenzel said...

Nice post. And, can I say (in a strictly heterosexual sort of way), your hubby's not bad looking...

not bad looking at all...

Rachel said...

Great post. That has to be very frustrating. I work in the heart disease field and know a lot about diabetes. It upsets me that there is a stigma around the disease (both type I and II), especially in the triathlon field. No one wants to be sick! It's great that you guys are so on top of your husband's disease.

IronMatron said...

So frustrating how ignorant people can be...
Great post.

Jenny said...

Sadly, the statements you make about Type 2 are ALSO misconceptions!

Eighty percent of those who are obese never get Type 2 diabetes. And 20% of those who do get it are normal weight.

The causes of Type 2 include a strong genetic component, and many environmental toxins and commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals have recently been shown to cause it too.

I have documented the many causes of type 2 diabetes on a web page you can visit HERE. Please give it a look.

--Jenny Ruhl (who has yet another form of diabetes, one of the Type 1.5s, MODY)

Sue said...

Thanks for that link Jenny - it was very informative.

Colleen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
There was an error in this gadget