Am I a Bad Diabetic?

Are you a bad Diabetic?

The terms ‘good diabetic’ and ‘bad diabetic’ are thrown around a lot. Maybe it’s a group of friends sat around and one tests their blood sugars revealing they’re 15.5mmol/l so they exclaim “I promise I’m not a bad diabetic!”. Or maybe a mum sat scrolling through their child’s meter or sensor graph celebrating because on the child’s first sleepover they’d been a good diabetic. 

But what do we truly mean when we use these?

We use ‘bad diabetic’ as a throwaway comment. But does it have a definition? A blood sugar above 15 perhaps. Maybe an A1c on the higher side. Is it eating a chocolate bar despite being out of range either way? A day of off blood sugars that you have to fight, or choose not to. Does that mean you’re a ‘bad diabetic’? 

Personally I thinks it’s ludicrous that one mistake, one bad decision or a struggle to maintain good control leads to you believing you are or being called a ‘bad diabetic’. 

I don’t understand why we fling this phrase around at anything that isn’t perfect with our control. Yet I’m guilty of it too. But with this logic, we’re all ‘bad diabetics’! Everyone slips up, or has that day of not giving a care for their blood sugars. 

We, after all, only human. 

Equally on the other hand does everyone who can correctly give insulin for a pizza once jump for joy at being a ‘good diabetic’? With numbers that are generally in range or a will of steel to overcome the less fun blood sugars, you are put into the imaginary category of ‘good diabetic’, something that some people strive to achieve. But is it all that good? 

When we claim to be a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ diabetic or use it as a descriptive term for somebody else’s control, we might have harmless intentions. But is it affecting our attitude to diabetes? Even subconsciously?

You would think having labels such as these would be positive, either motivating us to work harder at becoming a ‘good diabetic’ or celebrating at our success. But that’s not what I think. (Please bear in mind these are my own views and are not representative of anybody else). 

I think they are detrimental to our health. Genuinely. The people perceived as the ‘bad diabetics’ of the world, the momentary ones to those who feel permantely in that zone are being scolded. Punished by a title. How is this in any way, shape or form, fair? It becomes an excuse to not think about diabetes, a mindset, a routine that you get stuck into of bumbling your through the condition not really worrying about it because you’re a ‘bad diabetic’ already! What’s the point?

As for the ‘good diabetics’ of the world – are there any negatives to this, you ask? Well. Indeed there are. I, myself am often described as a ‘good diabetic’, on top of my condition and always managing it.  But sometimes the pressure to stay like this is insane, diabetes can come to feel like it’s your whole world and it can feel like it’s diluting your life. The smallest of mistakes can feel like the biggest of failures. 

Of course you can switch between these two categories, I definitely do. But why is this even an option? Why do we have categories?

Blood sugars are just numbers. A measurement. Carbohydrates are just numbers. Diabetes is just a medical condition. So why do we almost turn it into a measurement of our worth? A measurement of our determination and skills?

The question shouldn’t be “are we ‘good diabetics’ or ‘bad diabetics’?” There shouldn’t be a question. We are people required to live and think like an organ. We are just diabetics. No fancy titles, no questioning and no judging. After all, we’re only human!

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Appreciating 2017: Diabetic Style

2017. 

A brand new year. 

It’s the time everyone starts spouting “new year, new me!” and they take the opportunity of writing 2017 at the end of the date instead of 2016 to turn over a new leaf. Make better decisions in their lives. Maybe change their lancet more or record all their readings in a logbook to spot patterns and so lower their A1c. Right? I bet you’ve probably got a couple of new year’s resolutions yourself, because I know I certainly have. (Don’t worry I won’t bore you with them!)

But what does the new year truly mean? So we’ve managed another trip around the sun, what’s the big deal? A friend of mine recently pointed out that actually it’s just another day. You go to sleep the evening of December 31st and wake up January 1st. No big change happens overnight. Because after all, humans invented the concept of time! But I won’t go into that whole debarcle, I’d be rambling on for hours if I did. 

So what is the new year? Changing a number, making a resolution or reflecting on the past year? It’s your choice. 

The thing that actually prompted this post wasn’t in fact the new year but a film. The fault in our Stars to be exact. It’s a heart breaking story, but somehow every time I watch it it makes me smile (and cry, but I spend more time smiling). Every time I watch that film, I feel so incredibly lucky because I’m okay. (This is in no way intended to be disrespectful or hurtful to anyone living with cancer or any diabetics that are struggling right now). 

It may be a long term condition but I can live with it for a long, long time. 

It is invisible. 

I can physically do pretty much anything at anytime. 

I control my own medication an I can be independent with that. 

It’s not really that many trips to hospital in the grand scheme of things. 

The needles could be so much worse and more often. 

Type 1 diabetes is totally doable. Which is something I’m reminded of when I see this film. 

So Hazel and Augustus really inspire me and motivate me with T1 even though the film is about cancer. Funny isn’t it? They are so, so strong and show everyone what it means to fight which is so inspirational to me to do my own type of fighting. Every time I see this movie I am reminded how lucky I truly am to have made it to 2017 healthy and in one piece (if you don’t include my pancreas I suppose…) and reminds me that it is worth fighting and staying on top of things whatever your battle is and that you should never, ever just wait for the hypothetical storm to pass but you should dance in the rain. They teach me that every single time I watch The Fault in Our Stars. 

I did struggle in 2016 with T1, after all there was a lot going on to contend with. I’m sure I will struggle again. But I also made it through all of that. So, this is a happy new year post but it is also a well done post. To myself, to everyone living with T1 and their families. We all coped another year and we’re okay. 

(I know this was a cheesy and cliche post, but I can’t help it! It’s what I truly think!)