I’m Not Sorry: A Pancreatically-Challenged Redhead’s Lament

Alright, I wasn’t going to say anything about this whole Crossfit thing, but it’s bothering me so much; I can’t focus on anything else until I regurgitate my thoughts. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, see below: image1This isn’t the end of it. In fact, that^ tweet was just the beginning. Scroll through @CrossFit’s timeline from yesterday, June 30th. It’s filled with them diabetes-shaming & blaming, while refusing to apologize, telling US that WE misunderstood because they “clearly” meant Type 2 Diabetes {even though it was not specified anywhere; again, see above^}, perpetuating diabetes myths, saying the MOST RIDICULOUS THING EVER that T1’s can also get T2 if they eat too much sugar, etc, etc…
I have to say it. If this photo said “open cancer” with the same caption, it would be on all major news networks, everyone would be slandering these people…it would be an outrage.
So I ask you {seriously, I’m asking; everyone always thinks this is rhetorical}, what is so hilarious about diabetes jokes? You wouldn’t joke about your “homies” dying from cancer, or any other chronic/life-threatening/terminal disease, so please explain to me why I can’t avoid hearing diabetes jokes any time I watch a movie or turn on the TV or go in public?
Folks, it’s humiliating. I can’t even watch The Vow without hearing, “Are you trying to make me diabetic or just fat?”
Death is a true fear that I have to face every day. Dead-In-Bed Syndrome is something I grapple with nearly every night. It’s prevalence is primarily high in people in my age group. I could fall asleep tonight and never wake up because of my Type 1 diabetes.So no, I don’t think this “mock parody” {as Crossfit is calling it} is funny.

Dead in bed syndrome (DIB) is a term used to describe the sudden unexplained deaths of young people with type 1 diabetes. The syndrome is characterised as when someone with insulin dependent diabetes has gone to bed seemingly perfectly fine and has been found dead in an undisturbed bed. Read more about Dead-In-Bed here.

I need to know why the American public needs diabetes jokes. I also need YOU to know that no diabetes is directly caused by sugar: many Type 2’s only have T2 because it runs in their families. I know of many T2’s who are marathon runners and are extremely healthy people, yet they were diagnosed with T2.
Before you condone and laugh at diabetes jokes, think of the babies who are diagnosed before they even have a chance in the world. Think of the little kids who take 10 shots a day plus 10 finger pricks, who can’t have a carefree childhood, who are comatose or who have brain damage, all because of T1D. Think of how many T1’s are sitting there with their heads down, face red, embarrassed, feeling terrible about themselves, just so you could have a little laugh about something that isn’t even true {I have never heard a diabetes joke that separates Type 1 from Type 2. And even so, it’s not funny to joke about T2 either.}
Every show or movie I’ve seen that had diabetes jokes would be just as funny without them. The scene would be just as cute/funny/solid without those hurtful jokes, so why are they added in there {if it would be just as funny without it}? Why do these writers want to hurt and embarrass people just to make YOU laugh, and WHY are YOU laughing about people dying?
Everyone likes to tell us: “Stop being so sensitive. Diabetes is manageable.” Well, if you don’t have diabetes, then you have no credibility in saying that. You don’t know what it’s like. You may assume that it’s manageable just because I’m not currently passing out in front of you, but you don’t even know that I may be sitting there trying to avoid a coma. I’ve been at parties, family gatherings, etc. with a soaring blood sugar, otherwise known as hyperglycemia, {or hypoglycemia–low blood sugar} fighting the extreme urge to fall asleep because I know if I fall asleep that high {or low}, I may not wake up. But no one’s ever noticed it, because we are always having to hide it. Many times, we are too embarrassed to even identify ourselves as “Type 1 diabetics” or just “diabetics” especially.
There’s been many times in public where a stranger has asked about my pump, and I respond explaining that I have T1D. I’ve even been cussed out, screamed at, and shamed for giving an insulin injection in public around children {even though I was discreet.} I can think of one time in particular where a lady immediately asked after I told her about my T1D {following her invasive questioning about my pump}: “Did your mother feed you lots of sugar growing up?” She continued on, saying extremely insensitive, ignorant things, making assumptions about my body and health, all while I was trying to enjoy a meal with friends. This kind of thing happens to us all the time, guys. We are constantly being humiliated, all because of misinformation.

T1 Diabetes is hard enough. Why do you need to make it harder by laughing at my pain?

I don’t want your sympathy or pity. I don’t want to be coddled. But I do want you to also be affected by these hurtful jokes and words. Simply, I want you to CARE. I want you to realize this is wrong. And I want you to care enough to do something about it, even if that “something” is as simple as refusing to laugh at a hurtful joke.