At my last endocrinologist visit, I was asked if I thought I have type 1 diabetes. After thinking about it for a little while, I replied, ‘No, but I don’t think I have type 2 diabetes either’. With a laugh, he asked ‘Well then, what type do you think it is? That’s the million dollar question isn’t it?’
I am beyond lucky to have found a doctor who understands the complexities of diabetes. He has frequently reminded me that there are over 60 types of diabetes out there and the dumbed down versions of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are quite laughable. Personally, I think there is benefit in keeping things simple for the public. People already struggle with the concept of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, let’s not start bringing out specific gene mutations and variations of diabetes into play.
Perhaps it is because of the situation I am in, that I don’t see the fuss behind keeping people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes separate. I know we can learn from each other and sympathise together. I often hear the argument that type 1 and type 2 diabetes have no common ground for them to play together. This concept escapes me. The pathophysiology of disease may be different but it’s still a relentless condition we live with everyday of our lives. We are all fronted with pedantic decisions around food and exercise and threatened by complications. We all face the stigma and discrimination in one way or another because of diabetes. We are all fighting the same war.
The Diabetes Online Community has been great in bringing people with diabetes together. After our last OzDOC chat, I started reflecting on what this community meant to me and why I wanted to be a part of it. My OzDOC family accepts me for who I am – diabetes oddities and all. Being part of this community gives me hope. People are asking me questions on my diabetes and I feel comfortable in asking people about theirs. We learn from each other. This makes me hopeful that the stigma and bullying I often see will be diminished. This also reminds me of why I am pursuing research into this area. I am determined to make positive changes using the force of the online community. I will not give up on fighting the ignorance people throw at us, no matter where and who it comes from. People with diabetes are first and foremost human beings with the same feelings that you and I have. No one deserves to be put down and embarrassed because of their diabetes. No one deserves to be ostracised and isolated because of their diabetes.