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Factoring in the Cheese & Balloons

03/02/2014 17:05

We are enjoying a gorgeous day out in thickly treed woods with only the sound of birds singing, chipmunks zinging by almost smiling at us on a perfect summer day…hold on…and right, mosquitoes buzzing their warnings that we are about to become a delectable meal for them. 

Wait a minute.  You may be shaking your head a wee bit as you read about summer in the woods as most of us are experiencing a deep freeze & it is the middle of winter.  And how do we get from mosquitoes to cheese to balloons in one story? 

Okay, mosquitoes must have a purpose right?  If we have a passion for science and or the outdoors or live with someone that fits this description then we will get the factual answer to this question.  Although I love trees, nature & a quiet, medicinal walk through the woods, I do confess that I detest mosquitoes whether they serve a purpose or not.  They are agitating while they swarm around & long after the bite they give us, the memory lives on.  It just may be no mere coincidence that mosquitoes are bugs & a lot of us use the term “that bugs me” when we are bothered by something in life.  As a wee aside, other bugs don’t personally “bug” me but mosquitoes could take “a hike” on an uninhabited island if you ask me.

There are numerous ways to communicate that something is bothering us.  Depending on my blood sugars I will admit that my vocabulary grows in that department.  Let’s stick with family friendly descriptors for now.  Even as a wee girl growing up, one of the terms that I remember using was, “that really cheeses me off!”  In the spirit of something recently fitting into the category of “cheesing me off”, I am about to share an ongoing challenge that you also may be able to relate to if you too have type 1 diabetes.

On a positive note, there are organizations that advocate, commercials on tv or news stories or other forms of media that make genuine efforts to get the word out there about type 1 diabetes.  Some of these communications provide factual, real information about type 1.  Here comes the portion though that really cheeses me off.  It is specifically those instances whereby the group that is for example doing a news story or event that demonstrates that their intentions are both less than honourable & inaccurate.  Recently, I experienced this big time & man was I cheesed off.  The corporation had arranged for children with type 1 diabetes to participate in a sporting event with a national sports team.  Please don’t get me wrong, this is the part that makes me smile as I picture the kids enjoying an afternoon out with sports heroes that they admire.  The part that “ticked” me off is that the corporation did a news piece on a major tv station & the corporation went on & on about diabetes stats & how this corporation is dedicated to ensuring that we do everything we can to ensure that diabetes does not become the epidemic that they are using actuarial type tables to project forward.  The corporation described type 2 diabetes & the usual talk about how as a nation it is in our control to greatly diminish diabetes if we choose healthier lifestyles.  Meanwhile, in the background there is a photo shot of a group of children with type 1 diabetes from about ages 3-9. 

Why would any of this bother me & why might it bother you?  If you live with type 1 diabetes or someone that you love has type 1 then you may not be amused either with this particular news story & how it fell short in the genuineness category as well as accuracy.  First of all, that is complete balderdash to go on & on about what we can do to eradicate diabetes if the story is about type 1 diabetes.  Anyone who lives with type 1 knows that type 1 & type 2 diabetes are in many ways as different as day & night.  Looking at the children in the photo shot, my heart hurt in so many ways.  For one thing, they could not have prevented type 1 from coming into their lives.  Even doctors do not yet know what brings type 1 diabetes on.  How then would anyone with type 1 prevent it & how then are the alarming stats helpful I wonder?  It may be great to shock some folks into perhaps taking better care of his or her health yet if we keep the story in the context that it presented itself within then it is strange.  The corporation took the opportunity to speak about type 2 diabetes yet they were sponsoring a type 1 event & did not appear to know the first thing about type 1.  I wondered why someone in the news story did not provide information about type 1 diabetes since the story was supposedly about children living with type 1 diabetes.  Then a few things occurred to me.  First of all, the corporation may have had less than honourable or genuine reasons for entering into the story.  Were they doing some marketing or public relations strategy work?  If so, perhaps cute children would make a “feel good” looking television news story?  Again, these are just speculations on my part.  And I am an optimistic person by nature yet I quickly saw through the news story.

Besides the point that the news story at no time provided an iota of information about type 1 diabetes, the news story also referenced type 1 as a childhood disease.  What?!  It seemed as though the story was inferring that from a certain childhood age to an older childhood age, individuals have type 1 diabetes but after that somehow, pouf.  That seems to be a myth still abundant in society.  Many people assume that if you have diabetes & you are an adult that you have type 2 diabetes automatically because you are not a kid after all.  That seems like strange logic to me because it is a little like saying that any/all chronic illnesses would be outgrown once we enter into adulthood.  If only that were true!

This is where we journey from cheese to balloons.  One of the treasures that I have been joy-filled to be able to participate in over the years is a reading program with kindergarten-aged children.  I have always loved reading & it is the most natural thing in the world to enthusiastically introduce children to the delights of reading complete with actions, sounds & animations.  There is one children’s book written by Jamie Lee Curtis called, “Where Do Balloons Go” that came quickly to my mind as I watched the news story supposedly describing type 1 diabetes.  In the book, the premise is that when any of us let go of a balloon & it floats away, we never know where it will go or end up.  The book shows through imagination for example that our balloon may end up journeying alongside an airplane or beside an astronaut to name a couple.  As I watched & listened to the news story, I thought to myself that type 1 adults must be a little bit like the balloons that we let go of.  How?  It is like at a certain age, people don’t seem to think that we have type 1 diabetes anymore.  The number of times that people have been baffled by me saying that I have type 1 as an adult is staggering.  I have even had people question me & insist that I am wrong & that I must actually have type 2 & I am mistaken.  Maybe you have had something similar happen to you too.  In any case, where do adults go who have type 1 diabetes since we don’t “grow out of” type 1?  Unlike the balloons, we are very much grounded here on earth, still battling this beastly thing called type 1 diabetes. 

And our loved ones that we live with certainly also know that we don’t “grow out of” type 1 diabetes as they see us up yet again in the middle of the night treating yet another hypoglycemic blood sugar.  As much as my Dear Heart husband watches me with concern during the either too high or too low blood sugar times, I see him too & I am thankful that he is grounded too & I am grateful every single day for his love.  How about if we are adults with type 1 & we have children of our own?  They too are grounded indeed since type 1 reaches everyone in a family.  Sometimes, I think that it would be amazing if they did a news story & had the families of people living with type 1 describe what life with type 1 is really like.  It would be genuine & accurate I believe& far from the world of cheese or balloons if that was to happen!

My heart’s hope for you is that you are surrounded by family & friends that “get” type 1 diabetes.  And may we each continue to seek & build lasting & caring relationships with other friends with type 1 for that spirit of “me too” support as well.

Smiles, Saundie :)

Wishing you a week "bug free" & next Monday's sharing is yet to be written  :)