I have Diabetes. I don’t remember exactly what year I was diagnosed, but I think it was five or six years ago. I don’t like for people to know I have Diabetes. There’s this huge stigma, and I’ve heard people around here talk behind diabetics’ backs, disgust in thier voices, judging what they eat and how this condition is affecting them. Because if only they’d had/have/would get some self control they wouldn’t be in this diabetic fix, would they?

I’m not going to get into the whole, did I, or didn’t I, give myself diabetes. I had chronic low blood sugar as a child and young adult. That in itself may have been the writing on the wall, but it doesn’t matter. I have diabetes, no amount of knashing of teeth or what iffing or self bashing is going to change that.

I rock, diabetes or not.

So why am I making the fact that I’m diabetic public? I’d prefer to hide it. I really don’t want to deal with the baggage that comes along with the disease. It’s difficult enough for me just to remember to take my medications and eat the appropriate things, to fight the impulse to eat when I’m stressed and forgive myself when I make mistakes or when I’m less than perfect. I don’t need anyone else’s emotional baggage. I have enough of my own.

But because I want to keep it a secret I’m making it public. Because shining bright lights on dark places tends to chase the shame away. Because being open about the things I wish I could change makes me vulnerable, opens me to your citicism, but also to your blessing. And it allows you to shine the light on your shameful places. It’s healing for all of us.

And maybe I did give myself diabetes. Maybe if I had eaten differently, or if some doctor somewhere down the line had said, hey all this low blood sugar stuff doesn’t bode well for you, but you can do these things to mitigate your chances, maybe, just maybe I could have prevented it. But then again, maybe I couldn’t.

So there it is. I am diabetic. I’m on three different medications because I’m fighting having to take insulin. I don’t want insulin because I don’t want to be any heavier than I already am. Another item to shine light on.

There’s more. Lots more. But I don’t have the courage to throw all my icky parts out there into the world at one time. But it’s a start. And later I’m sure there will be more.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Mina October 22, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Hi Kate.

I will probably have diabetes too at some point. I had gestational 3x and they told me I have an 80% chance of getting it within 8 years (this was 15 years ago). My numbers are borderline….and I do think in some way I’m causing it myself, so I do get where that thought is coming from. If I could just lose 40 lbs!!!!

I am trying, but it is really, really hard, especially now with menopause looming and the world’s slowest metabolism. I have never been thin, have never had a flat stomach. I remember looking down at myself in the shower at the age of 4 and seeing a nice little pot belly. No matter what size I was at any point in my life, the waist on the pants was always a little tight. Even at my thinnest (105 lbs) and running 3 miles a day (in my 20s) I had the belly.

I hate the gym. But I’ve recently discovered I love yoga. I don’t think it will do much for my oncoming diabetes but it has done a lot for my spirit and also my self esteem even though I can’t do most of the poses. The philosophy is that your body is a shell. It’s about the mental and emotional energy as much as the physical. That for me was key. Now I can’t wait to go. I love what I got more. I appreciate.

I was extremely grateful to my doctor this past visit for saying, “This is just your body, your metabolism, and there isn’t really that much you can do about it barring exercising like they do on The Biggest Loser. And that’s overkill. Make healthy choices day to day and enjoy life.”

Because that is the biggest crime against ourselves, isn’t it? To let our time go by without enjoying it. Every one of us is precious and it’s a shame we do not know it.

Life is too short for apologizing for who we are. We should just “be.”

Take care, reach for peace and sisterhood,

Mina

Reply

Kate October 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Thanks, Mina. I totally agree – we should just “be” who we are. And it’s a crying shame when we don’t enjoy our lives. Thanks for stopping by, it’s good to hear from you!

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Kate October 22, 2011 at 2:22 pm

You guys are wonderful, as usual. I don’t understand the attitude of some of the people I work with. They are definitely NOT Betties!

I’m glad I’m inspiring you KarenB. I think the fewer secrets we keep about ourselves the healthier we are – and less burdened as well.

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London Betty October 22, 2011 at 9:03 am

No blame and no beating yourself up! Shit happens – my Mum is recently diagnosed as diabetic and she weighs about 108 lbs; no family history and exercises regularly , go figure.
You are an amazing talented writer ( I love your books ), great Mum, caring ,hard working …… and you happen to have diabetes. That is most definitely a bummer but is only a small part of the whole , blaming yourself certainly ain’t going to make it go away and will only make you feel miserable. So just be nice to yourself – I think carrot always works better than stick!! 😉

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Julie October 22, 2011 at 3:21 am

WEBS, but mostly Delia’s comment.
My Mother In Law is diabetic, as was my grandfather, and two cousins… uh it NEVER occurred to any of us to blame them for it! EVER! One more thing we can kick to the curb for you Kewl Kate. There, ( :: brushing off hands :: ) that’s gone. What’s next?

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Judie October 21, 2011 at 1:46 pm

My brother is diabetic and it never once occured to me to blame him for it. It is an illness. I am glad that you felt you could share with us and shine some lightness into the dark.
{{Big Hugs}}

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robena grant October 21, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Good for you, Kate. Get all that bad stuff out of your head. And big hugs for being brave.

I once worked with a doctor who was diabetic and he kept it a secret from most people. He didn’t want to be judged, or have people think he was less than competent. But back in those days people didn’t even want to say the word cancer. It was referred to as the big C. Now everyone talks about these illnesses and it’s fabulous. Sharing brings caring and it brings relief from anxious feelings, and from the mistaken feeling of somehow being less than. I’m pleased to say my doctor friend, twenty something years later, no longer cares who knows. : )

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Delia October 21, 2011 at 9:41 am

Um, no. You do not have to be ashamed to be diabetic. Even if you hadn’t been prone since childhood (and it sounds like you have), you would still not need to be ashamed. The fact that you think you should, that you’ve even entertained the notion for one second, makes me incomprehensibly angry. You have a medical condition; you’re not a rapist or murderer. There’s no shame in it.

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KarenB October 21, 2011 at 8:49 am

It’s not your fault. It’s not like you deliberately set out to make yourself diabetic. And there is no shame in having an illness. Rinse and repeat.

And thank you for your bravery in yesterday’s Bettyverse post and today’s post. You inspired me to be a little more open and honest about one of my dark places.

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