Potato, Pohtahto

May 20th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

Again I read a study abstract about diabetes.  You’d think I had better ways to spend my time!  I do, but it’s kind of interesting what people think about and what they care to study.

Anyway, this one looked at a number of adults with both type one and type two diabetes and how they saw their disease.  I’ll explain the study more in a few days after I’ve looked up all the words I didn’t understand.  (There were a lot, and it was only the abstract!)

But it is good stuff I think is worth thinking about for each of us.  Does it matter to you, internally, what you say to yourself and to others about your diabetes?

The psychologist I went to hear speak a few weeks ago wants to ban the term “diabetic”.  At camp we made a conscious shift from “having diabetes” to “living with diabetes”.  The study focused on whether you see yourself as “diseased” or if you see your diabetes as separate from yourself and your body.

If you’ve been reading, you probably know or suspect where I’m at.  If you haven’t, here’s the rundown: I have diabetes and live with it; it doesn’t much matter to me what you say in terms of me being diabetic or me having diabetes; my body is separate from my identity so I don’t see myself as diseased.  My pancreas doesn’t work right and when I was too young to know it, my body destroyed my beta cells.  Now I have to deal with it every day.  But my disease is mine.  All mine.  Just like my pancreas.

A lady asked me once if I ever realized that I have been ill for so many years.  I still don’t know what to do with that question.  I don’t think the expression on my face was very pretty.  Because “ill”??  Well, yes, a chronic disease.  Not chronic like a cough but chronic like, well, forever and always and inescapable. 

But ill?  Hardly.

I have to take my diabetes with me and factor it into each aspect of my life, every day.  And I do.  But if I had to describe myself to someone else, the term “diabetes” wouldn’t come up. 

It just isn’t me.  Just like my body isn’t what makes me me.  What makes me me is what I do with what I’ve got.

It’s why I say what I do: you have one body in this world.  Use it well

I see my body as a tool of my existence.  Mine is a little banged up at the edges and a little bit more on the inside due to my diabetes. 

So call it what you will; say I have diabetes, say I live with diabetes, say I am diabetic, say I’m “dee-a-be-tee-co” like a lady in one of my favorite movies Dave.   Call it a disease, call it chronic, call it whatever you want.

I’ll be busy, using what I’ve got to make a positive change in the world.

Wanna come?

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