Welcome back to our weekly diabetes advice column, Ask D'Mine, hosted by veteran type 1, diabetes author and educator Wil Dubois.

We received a note from a reader recently that just begged for attention. His query was so long, in fact, that we've taken the liberty of breaking his question into two parts.


Today in Part 1, Wil does an excellent job of explaining our philosophy here at the 'Mine: you can laugh or you can cry. Which do you choose?

Read on...

{Got your own questions? Email us at AskDMine@diabetesmine.com}

Frank, type 1 from Maine, writes: This is my first encounter with DiabetesMine, and it's left me quickly feeling as though it's way too Mickey Mouse for me. I've had type 1 for over forty years, and for more than 30 years I've been in the DCCT study and its sequel, EDIC. One main aspect of my relationship with type 1 has been, for years now, to avoid info that acts as though it's kinda fun to have this disease. It's been chronically ruining my life, and the last 10 years have been the worst of the batch. I don't revel in new medicines or new medical technology; I'm only alive because of them. I am profoundly grateful to the medical people, from Banting and Best forward for lengthening my life, and allowing me to experience so much of life in this great epoch. That said, I'm miserable. I sleep with a CPAP; I'm up three to five times a night anyway; I use a CGM and take multiple corrections, often struggling for days to get my BG stabilized even a little. I've seen gastroenterologists, neurologists, cardiologists, psychiatrists, and multiple endocrinologists but I get continually worse and worse. I walk virtually daily, I'm not fat, I do physical work, I write poetry and fiction, I compose music and play guitar, I perform; but all of this is going to hell in a handbag, month by month and day by day.

Wil@Ask D'Mine answers: First, let me extend a huge Welcome to you for finding the Diabetes Online Community! I'm sorryDOC Logo to hear about how things are going these days for you, but really do hope that you can find some support and helpful info -- there's a lot of it and many great people in this ever-growing online community of people with diabetes.

Now, onto what you're saying about us here at the 'Mine. I don't want to sound defensive, but... Wait. Screw that! I am going to get defensive! This is not a Mickey Mouse site. We don't act like it's fun to have this disease: We know better. All of us who write for this site have diabetes, and I can assure you that none of us find it fun. I want to talk about that more in a moment, but rest assured, like you, this is not something we would choose, and all of us would be happy to be rid of it.

But despite the hopes, prayers, and research, that ain't gonna happen. Not any time soon, anyway.

And we aren't newbies to this chronic hell, either. Amy has been a member of the party for eleven years and I've had it for a decade. Granted, that's nothing close to your time in the trenches, but it's still 97 dog years between Amy and me; and Mike's in his third decade with a 25-year Joslin Medal on his wall (or in his sock drawer, I'm not sure which). Beyond that, many of our guest writers and former staff members have had diabetes even longer.

As for reveling in new meds and toys, we're not cheerleaders for Big Pharma or the device companies. We consider the 'Mine to be a major news outlet for the diabetes community, and we owe it to our readers to report on what's coming down the pike. You yourself have lived through an amazing transformation in treatment technology: You were diagnosed at a time before home glucose monitoring, and now you have a CGM! Sometimes here at the 'Mine we do celebrate advances that we think make sense; but, as anyone who's read us for any time knows, we're quick to call a spade a spade.

Personally, I actually have a hard time getting excited about new technology of any kind. One of the things I hate worst in the world is shopping for a new computer. It takes me forever to get comfortable with a new operating system, and no sooner than I do, my machine bites the dust and I find that two generations of operating systems have come and gone in the interim, and I have to learn everything all over again. But, that said, a new "toy" that can make my daily struggle with diabetes easier? Or more precise? Or safer? Oh, yes. Yes, I will revel in that! Unabashedly so. And while you don't want to join me in that, I doubt you'd want to go back to NPH, Regular, glass syringes, and pee strips, either.

Now back to fun with diabetes. There's a difference between making hell sound like fun, and having fun with hell. We're stuck in this nasty old broken-down house, and all we can do is choose how to decorate it. I cope with black humor. That works for me. Others among my peers are snarky, or analytical, or philosophical. There's no right or wrong way to deal with the un-dealable.

We just manage, the best we can.

I've also spent a great deal of my life as an educator of various sorts and I find that no matter what the subject being taught, people learn better when the information is presented in an entertaining manner. I believe that even deadly serious subjects are better learned with a light heart. And I'm sorry if my approach to education, and how I cope, is insulting to you. But I'm not going to change. Hey, for decades Reader's Digest has been saying laughter is the best medicine, and that's what works for me.

And even though you and I don't see eye-to-eye on how to feel about having diabetes, I validate your right to be... well... hostile? Bitter? You're angry about having diabetes, and all that it has done to you... and that's OK.

That's your right. And we respect it.

But it just won't work for me (or the rest of us here at the 'Mine). We'd rather make light of the darkness. But don't think for a minute that makes having diabetes fun for us, and really I don't think there's much risk that we'll make it diabetes sound like something people want to rush out and try to get.

I'm not that good a writer.Keep Calm and Join the DOC

OK, all that said: I am sorry you feel every day is worse than the one before. And I don't doubt for a minute that's true for you. But ask yourself, is focusing on that descent healthy? I guess it comes down to the whisky or wine glass being at the halfway mark. For some of us, it's half full. For others, it's half empty.

And then, for people like me, it's in need of a refill.

Oops, I did it again -- lapsing into humor. But if I try to take diabetes too seriously, I'll cry. Remember that I work at a clinic serving some of the poorest communities in the country and I inherited a population that was victimized by decades of poor care. Just this week, I witnessed up-close and personal a number of people who are having an even worse time than you are. I had a 29-year-old who lost his kidneys. I had a 62-year-old lose his right foot and his left leg to the knee—that was on Tuesday--on Thursday they took the knee, too. Two other guys outright died. One I saw coming. One I didn't.

This disease is a bitch with enough darkness to swamp my soul. If I let it.

So I choose not to let it.

Next week, I plan to address the other specific issue you asked about. But until then, I invite you to trying laughing with the sinners rather than crying with the saints.

(Apologies to Billy Joel for ripping off his hit song).


This is not a medical advice column. We are PWDs freely and openly sharing the wisdom of our collected experiences — our been-there-done-that knowledge from the trenches. But we are not MDs, RNs, NPs, PAs, CDEs, or partridges in pear trees. Bottom line: we are only a small part of your total prescription. You still need the professional advice, treatment, and care of a licensed medical professional.

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.