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I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about this.  Mostly it makes me want to cry, but what I mostly end up doing is laughing.  However, it is not a joyful laugh.  It is the result of being so angry and baffled and speechless all at once that I don’t know what else to do, and there’s not much else I can do… I had to stop reading and put the article down, I was getting so upset.  It just seems so ignorant and poorly thought-out (if it was given any thought at all!)  It’s pretty clear that the author hasn’t had any sort of education or even informed discussion at all in the field of gender or women’s studies, which is all the more frustrating that this was published in the university’s newspaper… It amazes and saddens me that people still think like this and believe that these are valid(?!?!) arguments.

Link: http://breezejmu.org/2009/10/12/a-fresh-focus-on-feminism/

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a music festival around here, called Spaghettifest.  It’s basically a weekend of camping and music and dancing and fun, out in Natural Chimneys Park.  I’ve been wanting to go since hearing about it my freshman year (I’m a senior now), but never made it out, for various reasons.  Anyways, I finally made it out this year, and I’m so glad I did – it was amazing!  What made it even better – and I didn’t realize this at first – was that Spaghettifest is a benefit concert, and each year the proceeds go to a different charity.  On top of that, what I only realized today, after returning from Spaghettifest, was that this year it benefitted JDRF.  Serendipitous, indeed.  🙂

This is freaking awesome.  It’s incredibly inspirational, and I’m not going to lie, I teared up a little bit when I read it.  Not that it’s an emotional article; it just tugged at my heartstrings, personally.  I think these people are so, so kick-ass.  They deserve a huge amount of admiration for this accomplishment, although I think it’s difficult for people without diabetes to really conceptualize and understand the level of dedication it requires, at any level.  But I’m digressing.  Just wanted to share this bright spot in my day.

ugh.

Posted on: June 15, 2009

Searching for stuff to watch on the comedy channel of hulu, I came across the pilot episode of a show titled, “glee” and decided to check it out.  It seemed like an okay show, albeit chock-full of stereotypes (another “ugh”), but it was somewhat entertaining, and I was enjoying the understated humor – until, about 12 minutes in, the protagonist goes to visit his wife at work (she’s a manager at “Sheets ‘n’ Things”), and brings her a sandwich.  “It’s roast beef and pumpernickel. Your favorite.”  And she’s all “oh thanks, honey!”  Then she gets this look on her face and says, “Wait. Does it have mayo?”  Yes…  “Honey, if my diabetes comes back, we can’t get pregnant!”

WTF. asjdfweiounjkval;jse;fa.  SO MANY MISCONCEPTIONS.  One of them being that mayo causes diabetes.  Um, seriously?  Or that it will “bring it back.”  Guess what, folks.  Once you’re diabetic, type 1 OR type 2, you are diabetic for life, no matter how much weight you lose, how healthy you eat, how frequently you exercise, or how much medication you don’t have to take.**  The ADA website states that “diabetes is a lifelong, chronic illness,” and the Joslin Diabetes Center provides a more thorough and satisfactory explanation of that statement here.

Here’s a tip.  Don’t start talking about stuff you don’t know about, unless you are asking questions and looking to educate yourself.  Certainly don’t pretend to know what you are talking about if you don’t.  Because you will inevitably run into someone who does know what they are talking about, and you will look like a fool.

Sorry for the rant.  But I was inspired, and, as evidenced by the lack of posts, I haven’t been for a while.

**Gestational diabetes is a kind-of exception: yes, it “goes away” after pregnancy, but chances are high that it will “return” in subsequent pregnancies, and those who have had gestational diabetes are much more likely to develop type 2 later on.

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I went out with a friend from high school tonight – someone I knew in my pre-diabetes days, who didn’t know yet that I’d been diagnosed.  This presented a small dilemma that I’ve wrestled with for a little bit: In the first few months of being diagnosed, I kind of struggled with how to tell people in my life that I had diabetes. For a while, I ended up hiding it when I could.  It’s not exactly an easy thing to bring up in daily conversation:

“Hey! How was your weekend?!”
“Oh, I just spent the weekend in the hospital – diagnosed with diabetes! What were you up to?”

Hmmm, no.  I realize now that concealing it was not at all conducive to my mental health.  (One might say it was “detri-mental,” ha ha. sorry.)  Anyways, that’s one of the reasons that going to Paris was so liberating for me: I only knew one person prior to the trip, so I just went about my business out in the open, and my new acquaintances could take it or leave it as they wished, and I was more than pleased to field questions.  It was different and refreshing to be up-front and open about it from the get-go instead of figuring out a minimally awkward way of bringing it up.  “Coming out” played a big part in my self-acceptance of this disease.  So I’ve decided it’s in my best interest to adopt this policy in virtually all cases, but especially with those that I’ve known since before I was diagnosed.  I think it’s a whole lot easier and healthier that way.

But I digress (WOW I digress. haha)  The point of this post was supposed to be that while I was talking to my friend about diabetes, he mentioned (as most people seem to) that he should get his blood levels tested.  Depending on the situation, I’ll sometimes offer to test for them right then and there, which was the case tonight.  At this point, most people seem to get nervous for a variety of reasons: they’re afraid it will hurt, or they’re afraid of what the result will be.  I just have to laugh, because in all likelihood, they have nothing to worry about.  And sure enough tonight, the number was a perfect 96 (and this was after a small popcorn at the movies).  Whenever I’ve let my friends test their blood sugar before, I always get a little pang when I see that peachy-keen number on the screen of my blood glucose meter.  And I could never put my finger on what that feeling was, but tonight I realized that it’s jealousy.  Don’t mistake me, I am undoubtedly happy that my friends don’t have worrisome test results.  But it struck me tonight that that number has such a different meaning for me than it does for them.  When I get a number like that, I feel damn proud of the hard work it took to achieve that number.  Because more often than not, that’s what it takes.  But for them, that number is just the way things are, not the way they should be.  They don’t realize all the effort it can take a diabetic to get a lovely little number like that.  Which is a little frustrating. :-\

So today is World Diabetes Day, and I figured I should probably do something, even though (or especially because) I haven’t written here for weeks… oops.

In a lucky stroke of impeccable timing, I serendipitously happened upon this video on the New York Times Health page.  It’s snippets from a day in the life of a normal 16-year-old girl, recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.  It gives a pretty good overview of things, albeit at a very basic level.  The one thing that was weird to me was that she used blood samples from her forearm to test her BG – not her fingertips, which I can’t say I’ve ever heard of anyone using anything other than their fingertips.  I think I may have come across a booklet or two that mention using one’s palm or forearm, but by and large, the common practice is to use one’s fingertip.

Anyways, it was interesting to see, and kind of touching.  Seeing another young, newly diagnosed diabetic hit home a little bit.

Back to WDD: this year’s theme is “Diabetes in Children and Adolescents,” addressing the growing numbers of youth with diabetes.  Check out the website for more information about the campaign and need-to-know facts about this disease.

Fun Fact: According to the WDD website, November 14 is designated as World Diabetes Day to commemorate the “birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1922.”  And how very grateful I am for that.  It absolutely dumbfounds me that this discovery took place less than one hundred years ago.  Sometimes I wonder how close to death I really came, because I know that I was not in a good state when I was diagnosed.  And because of the serendipitous (love that word!) nature of the circumstances leading to my diagnosis, I wonder if and/or when something else would have happened to send me to the hospital.  It’s scary to think that I might not be alive today if things hadn’t fallen into place the way they did (although I might rather argue that it was more of a disruption), because as hard as that is to believe, it could have happened.  It speaks a lot to the fact that there remains a lot to be done in the realm of diabetes awareness and education, even (and especially) today.  So do your part, and spread the word.  And if you don’t know much about diabetes, investigate a little!  Satisfy your curiousity.  Even just a little bit of knowledge helps. 🙂