I Admit It

August 4th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

I admit it—I don’t understand what point all the anger is supposed to serve for people living and dealing with diabetes.

I’m not at all saying that I don’t get or have never been angry about having diabetes—that would be a lie—I just don’t spend much time in that mental space quite simply because being there exhausts me and it rarely gives me anything in return.

Sadness, sure.  Frustration, sure.  Confusion, sure.  But anger, just not that much. 

I read an old blog post from Parenting Diabetic Kids this morning where they listed the Top Ten Things the parents hate to hear.  Mainly it was what you might expect from a loved one forced to give a little one a shot or finger stick, and who is concerned with lows and highs. 

It was the unadulterated anger when faced with comments from others about sugar, what the kids can eat, how they got the disease, unknowing comments and related assumptions there is only one type of diabetes that concern me.  One of the comments in response to someone learning a child has diabetes that topped the list was “at least it’s not cancer.”  The response from many parents to this comment alone was less than gracious.

It was rather startling and I wonder how they make it through the day with all that anger inside and leaking out when they have to also deal with diabetes.

I’m not saying I don’t understand these frustrations.  What I don’t understand is the repeated messages I see online and have seen over the years in “support groups” for people with diabetes.  I don’t understand how so many can “live” so long in such an angry space.

And of course it isn’t just the parents or caregivers I’m talking about.  I meet many people with diabetes who were diagnosed forty years ago and still live with pure anger about it every day.

I think diabetes is a really hard thing to live with.  I think type one diabetes is crazy hard to balance, and I can’t imagine how it is to deal with the rather limited tools and restrictions imposed on people with type two.  I understand that these difficulties can be opportunities to spur more research and education about ways to remove the harmful eventualities of the disease progression and new methods and new medications.  I’m all for that.

Maybe I just get confused because I wonder what guarantees anyone thought were waiting for them in life?  I look around and see so many terrible things happening in the world and I look down at my digital pump and its sterile infusion set and my fancy insulin and get my blood sugar result in 5 seconds and I just wonder: what does all the anger do for anyone?

I do want to applaud one comment I read from someone who has two family members with type one.  I think she gets what it is like, even if her own pancreas works, to live with the constant checks.

My husband and daughter are both diabetic and we always get these comments. But I have to say I agree with the “at least it’s not cancer”. There were kids in hospital when [my daughter] was diagnosed at age 2 last year, who were dying – of cancer or other diseases. Those parents were losing their kids. My husband’s colleague had a 2-year-old boy diagnosed with MD a few years ago. That family watched their child die and there was NOTHING they could do about it. At least [my daughter] has a pump and a blood meter! I’m not going to lose my kid. OK she’ll face physical problems and many emotional issues but with the help and support of her family and friends she can get through them and lead a normal life. My friend’s little girl is highly allergic to a number of foods and can actually eat less at parties than [my daughter] can. If she eats the wrong thing she might die immediately. I think I’d be far more scared about that! We’ve all got challenges to deal with in life, and our job is to get on with them and help our kids lead as normal a life as possible. And who knows, dealing with diabetes might just make them stronger, healthier adults. I have certainly learned a lot and grown up a lot in the last 15 months since [my daughter’s] diagnosis, even though my husband has been Type 1 for nearly 10 years now. He has learned a lot too. Hang in there, keep smiling and keep raising awareness!

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  1. KristinD says:

    after 8 years of my daughter living with this I agree..at first I was very angry and wondered what I did to cause this..now it just is what it is..we do what we have to, and she does everything I would have her do even if she didn’t have T1..I just get on with life..and I am very grateful for new insulins, pumps etc..my aunt didn’t have these wonderful inventions, and sadly passed away 10 months before my daughter’s dx..I don’t really mind answering questions about it either..I just feel I am educating more and more people about it, and that can’t hurt..more power to you!

  2. Allison says:

    THANK YOU!!! you have put my feelings into words. I read so much anger, so much talk of devastation,tragedy and injustice. I have two small children with T1 and I cannot, CANNOT live consumed by the anger!! I read that same article last year and I read comments on FB every day full of diabetes-hate.It’s draining to even read, I can’t imagine embracing that anger as my lifestyle. I am so happy that you haven’t and that you shared your feelings.

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