Had a really interesting question the other day by a good friend with type 2 diabetes. What if, after all the tests, the doctors come back and say, “well actually, you have type 1 diabetes”? What will you say, how will you react, how will you feel?
I think my first feeling will be one of relief. Being classified as having type 2 diabetes means having to deal with all the discrimination, and stigma that comes with it. It would also put my mind at ease that “this could have been prevented” or that I am “in denial about my diagnosis”. I would still wonder about why and how I have been diagnosed with diabetes though. Could it have been prevented?
Being in diabetes limbo also explains my passion in helping others improve their self-management. Having many friends living with type 1 diabetes, and having been part of the community for people with type 2 diabetes, I get to hear both sides of the story. I really hope to see programs and services available for all age groups with any kind of diabetes. I think it’s good to meet people in your generation/age group living with diabetes, regardless of the technicality of which type of diabetes they have been classified with. Type 1/Type 2/MODY/LADA/Type 1.5/GDM may just be another sub-group classification that may only be clinically useful.
If we encourage people to get together and talk about their diabetes, they would not only get to know other conditions that exist but also develop an understanding as to what each person goes through. Would this not encourage a better acceptance and tolerance between each sub-group of diagnosis? Hopefully this will also create a sense of belonging for everyone with diabetes and generate a positive support group. Hearing that having type 1 diabetes is the “real kind of diabetes” can be hurtful for those already struggling to cope with their diagnosis, even if it’s only meant as a joke.
So if my doctor(s) were to turn around and agree that I’ve been misdiagnosed as having type 2 diabetes, I would feel odd. I would be excited to gain access to the insulin pump and other programs and services that comes with type 1 diabetes. My thoughts and feelings about living with diabetes won’t change even if the type has. One thing is for sure though, I won’t stop advocating for young adults with type 2, because access for all is vitally important for everyone with diabetes.