My D-blogger friend and intermittent correspondent Allison Blass has been living with diabetes since she was 8 years old. It's pretty much all she knows. She copes with it her way, and strives to let others do the same. That's why, this week, she's musing on the theme of respecting each others' choices in this diabetic life.
A Guest Post by Allison Blass
A few weeks ago, I announced that I was hosting a party for World Diabetes Day. But not just any party — a pizza party. With cake. When I first announced it, I had a lot of people spread the word about what I was doing and I had great feedback. Everyone was excited that I was doing something fun and social for World Diabetes Day, and they were excited to be able to spend the day with others with diabetes.
A few days before the party, I sent out an additional invitation to a meet-up group of people with diabetes, letting them know that I was hosting an event, bringing pizza and cake, and that they were welcome to bring food as well. Immediately, I began getting responses from people who were shocked and even disgusted that I could possibly even think of bringing pizza and cake to event for people with diabetes.
Honestly, I was more surprised than insulted. I have had type 1 diabetes for almost 16 years, and I've never had anyone tell me I could not under any circumstances enjoy pizza and cake. I have also spent quite a bit of time with people with diabetes, most of these events taking place at restaurants or in a place where food was served. I know of many other people with diabetes who ate desserts and high-carb foods. Maybe not all the time, but certainly occasionally. I also know that there are people who try to avoid temptation, and that's why I welcomed people to bring additional items (like veggies and dip) to even out the menu. As the conversation about this progressed, many people said that this was a great "learning opportunity," and that many people who are on insulin pumps do in fact utilize their dual-wave bolus function.
Then I received an email from a friend of mine who simply said, "I wonder why PWDs become so defensive about their different methods of diabetes management."
As a blogger, I spend quite a bit of my free time talking about what I do in my diabetes management, and why I do it. I share information about pumps, CGMs, testing, food, diabetes in schools, diabetes in relationships, diabetes and travel and how to not go absolutely bonkers. After having diabetes for 16 years, I have developed my own personal preferences towards diabetes management. And it's very easy to get defensive over what we have chosen, and maybe a little too forceful in our encouragement of one thing over another.
While I want to encourage the best treatment possible for people with diabetes, I also want to encourage people to remember that everyone is different and we all have our own unique preferences and experiences. Some of us like to eat carbohydrates, and others prefer lower-carb fare. Some of us prefer tubing over tubeless pumps. Some of us prefer using a Minimed CGM over using a DexCom. And don't get me started about the Lantus versus pump war. More than one person has actually told me they "still used" Lantus, with a twinge of shame in their voice. However you do it, managing your diabetes should never be shameful!
Have a little respect for how someone else does things. If it works for them, be happy for them! And if they are doing something different or something that you wouldn't prefer, don't diss 'em.
Remember, we all need to stick together! (No pun intended...)
btw, we still had fun at the party - pizza and all!