Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Mickey Mouse gave me diabetes

Who do we blame for our diabetes? There must have been someone or something that triggered it off? Is it possible that this lifelong disease is down to just plain old bad luck?

To place blame is to fully understand diabetes and that is something that I still struggle with. Ten years on from being diagnosed and when people ask me how I got diabetes, I still tell them that Mickey Mouse gave it to me. The truth is that it’s the easiest way for me to answer their question.

The Mickey Mouse story comes from being diagnosed in Disney Land. One minute I was a 16 year old in the Magic Kingdom, forcing myself to smile through the blistering heat and an undiagnosed illness. The next I was a 16 year old in incredible amounts of pain, being taken away from my family and airlifted to intensive care. The only time I’ve ever been in a helicopter and I bloody well missed it!

So here are the most common assumptions that people have for my diabetes:

  • I was overweight as a child

  • I ate too much sugary food

  • I didn’t exercise

  • I lead an unhealthy lifestyle

  • I “caught” diabetes

  • It runs in my family

  • I donated my pancreas to science (yes, someone actually suggested that)

  • God was testing me

No no and no! I was not a little porker when I was a kid, my parents did not feed me an unhealthy diet, I exercised and had a very healthy lifestyle, nobody in my family has diabetes and I did not sacrifice my organs for medical research!

Sometimes it frustrates me that people do not know the difference between the types of diabetes, that we are all tarred with the same brush. However at the age of 16 I was guilty of this, I had no idea and unless it had directly affected me I’m sure I would have gone on being that na├»ve.

Nowadays my knowledge is more extensive, however still incomplete and fragmented. Before I said that I still tell people that Mickey Mouse gave me diabetes, so why do I expect people to know about an illness that they don’t have unless I can take the time to explain it to them? Yes it is frustrating to repeat over and over again the reason behind it, however by doing this I would be educating people (even the smallest amount) on the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Even if they forget what I’ve told them, they asked for a reason and have shown an interest, so maybe it’s time for me to step up and show more of an interest back.

You never know, if enough people do this, then one day people might not need to ask.

© Ninjabetic

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