Often times people will ask me what exactly diabetes is.
What is type one, or type two, and is their grandma’s type four the worst kind?
When I was younger it annoyed me. I would think, hello, have you not heard of the internet? Look it up. Then as I grew up and matured quite a bit I realized that when the questions seem off the wall, random, or even rude, they are still questions. It is my opportunity to spread fact, break the myths, and educate someone.
I would normally give a very basic, run of the mill, maybe even text book type answer. Leave it as cut and dry as possible. The truth is that diabetes is not cut and dry. There are a lot of components, factors, layers, that go into it. I won’t break all of them down for you at this very moment but I will say that for me it is like battling the same monster, with the same weapons, on different terrain with different kinds of weather every single day. No breaks! No tap outs! Just you and the beast face to face and though you survive it sometimes you get beat down here and there, and sometimes you beat it down and leave it crying in a corner..those days are the best obviously. The point is that everyday is different even if the monster is the same. That’s what I explain to people. I give them the textbook definitions and then I tell them what it’s like for me.
Most people don’t understand the tedious lifestyle that we as diabetics live. I like to add in that even though we have to do this it isn’t the end. We fight and move forward. Own it or be owned. Sounds cheesy but it’s the truth. Anyway, this is all a set up for the fact that over and over my daughter has heard me explain what diabetes is. How it affects my life and even hers. She asks questions and I am always happy to answer them. I don’t want her to be afraid/ashamed/awkward about this. Thankfully she isn’t. In fact she is very understanding and loving when it comes to my disease.
When I check my sugar she’ll ask me what the number is and then shout out to her dad if it is “good” or “bad” which I think is hilarious. If it’s lower than 160 but higher than 70 she’ll shout out that I’m all good. When it’s very low or very high she will acknowledge that situation and act accordingly. She knows that when my numbers are high to bring me my insulin bag. If I am low she’ll offer me one of her juices. All of this makes me so darn proud of her.
Another thing I am proud of is her very own explanation of diabetes…
She says, “Mommy, you know you have little people in your blood sugar!? When your sugar is high it’s because little people are climbing up and up and when your sugar is low it’s because they keep climbing down and down.”
She’s five and though the thought of little people in my blood is creepy she came up with this analogy all on her own. I wondered what/how this would affect her one day. I realize that I don’t have to worry about it anymore. She is so smart. So when people ask me about my diabetes my little spokesperson will put a hand up as if to say, I got this, and will then proceed to explain to them what it is I am going through and how I have to do this or that.
It’s very sweet. :)
So these days I don’t shy away from educating someone.
And when I am not feeling up to it I have someone ready and willing to do it for me. :)