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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Shame on me? Shame on YOU!

As a 16 year vet of Type-1 Juvenile Diabetes, I’ve encountered many forms of discrimination.  I was literally slapped on the hand and scolded by a woman for eating a candy cane over the holidays.  “You are diabetic, shame on you”, she chastised as her hand met mine with a sharp smack.  I felt my cheeks start to burn and decided to let her have it.  “I am a type-1 diabetic, which means I inject insulin.  I require a certain number of carbohydrates and would prefer not to go to the emergency room today!”  I may as well have been speaking Greek.  I went on to school her in the fact that there are plenty of instances where we actually need sugar. 
Both Type-1 and Type-2 diabetics generally take blood sugar lowering medication.  At times, our blood sugars can go too low which can result in unconsciousness, coma, seizure, or in rare instances death.  We have to recognize the symptoms of low blood sugar and test our blood often to determine how many carbohydrates to eat.  We work with a team of doctors and visit a dietician to develop a meal plan.  The diabetic educator herself advised me to let her know if I wanted a candy bar included in my meal plan.  In her words “If you want a candy bar, we can include it in the carbohydrate plan so you can have it”.  We are not necessarily “cheating” when we have a piece of candy!
Since when did society decide what others should be eating anyway?  You wouldn't walk up and slap an obese person for eating a doughnut would you?  I dare to dream that someday people won’t feel the need to constantly judge my diet choices. 
I leave you with this - Diabetics are completely aware of the amount of sugar and carbohydrates they can have.  My bet, is that non-diabetics won't be getting the green light from their doctors to eat junkfood anytime soon.  So those of you with a working pancreas should consider biting your tongue, especially, if said tongue is munching on a Christmas cookie. 

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