Monday, August 6, 2018

#InappropriateDiabetesJokes




Why do I care about diabetes jokes? A question I find myself rethinking often. Mainly because I see people discussing it often. The whole community seems to be a little split on how we feel about diabetes jokes. Some fight against them, and others just don’t care, and don’t see the big deal. They even find them funny. 

So where do I find myself on this topic? I just can’t help but feel fired up when I see a joke about diabetes. I’d love to have that nonchalant attitude and let those jokes roll off my shoulder, but apparently that’s just not in me.

Why do I get angry? I probably think back to my 12 year old self. Just having been diagnosed with Type 1 and feeling ashamed. Feeling scared to tell people at school what happened to me because I was worried they’d think I got diabetes from eating too much. 

And now as an adult, it kills me that there are still teenagers who feel the way I did back then. Who try to hide their diabetes because such a large proportion of the world thinks that we ate our way into it. 

Little do they know it’s an autoimmune disease. It falls under the same category as Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s Disease, Thyroid Disease, Lupus, etc.. And that sugary foods don’t have anything to do with how you get Type 1 Diabetes, it’s our faulty immune system. 

Would Multiple Sclerosis jokes be funny? Would Lupus jokes be funny? Maybe in another world. But in this world people wouldn’t dare joke about other illnesses. But diabetes has an attachment to food, and that is a huge stigma creator. 

So here are a few facts to consider before making a Diabetes joke:
1- Type 1 is an autoimmune disease that can hit anyone, including you or your family. 
2- People with Type 1 CAN EAT SUGAR. We just have to give ourselves insulin for it. Unless our blood sugar is low. Then it will actually save our lives. 
3- Those with Type 1 carry a heavy responsibility. We have to be on top of our blood sugars 24/7. This means constant testing, constant dosages of insulin through needles or pumps, and constant treating of high or low blood sugars. Which happen every day, inevitably. So if you miss a day of insulin, you can go into Diabetic Ketoacidosis, which is deadly. If your blood sugar goes low and you don’t feel it, or you don’t treat it in a timely manner, you’ll end up seizing and losing consiousness. 

What Type 1 Diabetes needs most (apart from a cure), is awareness. And what’s the opposite of awareness? Diabetes jokes. Because they are spreading misinformation. That misinformation is already spread worldwide. And because of that little kids, teenagers, and even adults, live feeling ashamed for having a disease that they did nothing to get. So yes, Diabetes jokes matter. Next time you want to make one, picture a cute little kiddo with an insulin pump whose mom and dad have to worry at night that their baby won’t wake up in the morning, and then decide if you still want to make jokes about it. 


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