Posts tagged diabetes
Posts tagged diabetes
Six months ago, my feet looked like most of yours.
These are my feet now.
This is what diabetes can do. What it does.
From blisters. Not major trauma—blisters.
Without IV drugs and surgery, I could have lost half of my right foot.
My left foot would only have four toes.
That quarter inch that’s gone from the end of my left second toe doesn’t look like a big loss, but with it went my ability to bend my toe. I’ve always had “monkey feet” that could pick things up off the floor; not any more. It doesn’t sound like a big loss.
I joke about it. About buying fake toenails and getting 10% off on pedicures. “Just the tip”. I got fake-offended when my friend played the “Amputee” card in last night’s Cards Against Humanity game.
The reality is I’m scared to death. Sad. Embarrassed. Traumatized. And feeling bad about being all of that. It could have been so much worse. Other people have lost more. Feet, legs, life. What’s a quarter inch of toe?
These are my feet now.
This has been bothering me for a really long time.
Why is it acceptable to post pictures or descriptions of sweets and then tag them with some cutesy misspelling of diabetes, as if the disease is a huge joke? Threadless even sells a t-shirt with happy dancing cupcakes singing “Diabetes!”
Would you say that about cancer?
“Haha! boob cancer!”
No? Then why “LOL diabeetus!”?
Hello, my name is Jen. I’m diabetic. Diabetes will likely be what kills me someday. Let me repeat that.
This disease will kill me.
I’ve had laser surgery on my eyes, because tiny blood vessels were leaking and causing a blind spot in my right eye. Diabetes. I spent months in a boot because I injured my foot while running and it wouldn’t heal properly. Diabetes. I went to see a doctor about a problem with my hand. He looked at my chart and misdiagnosed me without even bothering to examine me. “You’re diabetic, so it’s ———.” (It wasn’t.)
Blindness, heart problems, amputations, stroke, nerve damage. All of this can result from diabetes.
This is me not laughing at your peanut butter fudge photo tag.
When I see this shit on the internet, I try to have a sense of humor and a thick skin, but sometimes it just wears thin. And I know that if hurts me, it’s likely bothering other people too. Look, I’m not trying to point fingers at anyone in particular (well, maybe Threadless because seriously wtf?) or yell at anyone. I’m not asking you to stop posting photos of your triple-chocolate-fudge-mallow delight. But before you hit POST on it, ask yourself if you went for what you thought was an easy joke in your tags. Because it’s just not funny.
You know it deserves a good ass-kicking.
Several years ago, I was diagnosed with diabetes. Last year was my first Tour de Cure. I rode sixteen miles, which was the longest ride I’d ever done. It was slow going. The good thing about riding at the Speedway is that there are no hills to climb; the bad thing about riding at the Speedway is that there are no hills to coast down. Every foot you move forward, you do so because you pedaled there.
Not long after last year’s Tour, I had a stroke. I spent a week in the neurology intensive care ward, and weeks of struggling to get back to what I knew as normal. And with no answer as to why it happened, there was no way to predict if it would happen again. Though I didn’t have any serious lasting physical effects from the stroke, it affected how I perceived movement, and at only 38, how I perceived myself.
It took a few months before I dared to get on a bike again. I questioned my ability to balance. I got tired easily. I got dizzy if I stood up too fast. I was severely depressed. I wanted to ride, but I didn’t know if how it was going to turn out. On my first ride, I told myself that I needed to ride one mile. I decided I could do two. I ended up riding eight miles that night. I couldn’t turn quickly, but I didn’t fall off. I kept riding. I biked to work. I biked to Carmel and back. I bought cold weather gear several sizes smaller than the year before. It snowed. I kept riding. On June 9th, I will ride in the 2012 Tour de Cure, with a goal of riding 40 miles.
I’ve learned a lot since last year. I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I realized. I’ve learned that I’m not bulletproof (metaphorically speaking—thankfully I didn’t learn that literally!). I’ve learned that hospitals don’t always know how to manage diabetes, and that advocating for yourself is as necessary as it is scary. I’ve learned that education about diabetes is crucial, and that part of that education is simply being visible, or refusing to be invisible.
A lot has changed in my life since the last Tour. What hasn’t changed, though, is that diabetes is still a major health problem around the world. In America alone, over 25 million people are living with diabetes. We need education. We need advocacy. We need a cure. You can help. The link below will take you to my Tour page. If you can, please take a moment and make a donation. Donations are 100% tax deductible, and fund education, advocacy, and research to find a cure for this disease. Donations over $25 will receive a special thank you gift from me. (Drop me a note at my pinkabrinka gmail and let me know your shipping address.)
Getting back on my bike saved me. Help me use it to save others. I appreciate your support and encouragement.