Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I should just let it go... but...
There has been lots of talk and blogging about the Oprah Diabetes episode. Here is a very thorough list of blog posts about the show: http://www.d-mom.com/type-1-tuesday-oprah/ on the D-Mom blog.
Adele overheard me discussing the show with my wife the other day and asked why I now "hated" Oprah (not that I liked her before, but I didn't "hate" her either). Whenever we're discussing anything at all and she is around, she always tries to eavesdrop (serious discussions can only happen after she's asleep). I explained to her that Oprah had dedicated an entire show on Diabetes but hadn't spent enough time differenciating Type 1 and Type 2. I told her that Dr. Oz had really just reinforced the misconception that all Diabetes are the same, that it can be reversed and that it's basically the sufferers own fault. We had had a similar conversation with Adele before trying to explain the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 after she had heard comments about Diabetes (Type 2) on TV. It is very, very important for me that Adele knows that it's not her fault whatsoever that she has diabetes. Kids hear things and often interpret them in a bad way when they don't fully understand the circumstances or what's being said. I do not want Adele to internalize that she caused her Type 1 Diabetes by not always eating healthy food or that she could have somehow prevented it. She's insecure enough as it is without hearing all of these general Diabetes comments and stories which are really meant for Type 2 and not Type 1. But she is 9, and when she hears the word "Diabetes", she listens carefully to what is being said since the big D is such a big part of her life.
Misconceptions about the Type 1 game are so common and a constant source of frustration for Type 1 gamers. How many times have I been told by non-gamers that they know what it's like to live with Diabetes because their elderly father or their dad's aunt or their grand-mother have it as well. Then I ask if it's Type 1 or Type 2 and they look at me and say "Is there more than one type?" I then ask a few questions like when they were diagnosed, if they're on insulin and 99.9% of the time it's Type 2. Then I try to explain that it's not the same. How many times have I tried to explain that Adele's diabetes is not "real bad" because she's on insulin or because gets tested over 10 times each and every day? Adele is at an age where we can't always "protect her" from these confusing general Diabetes comments and messages. She's like a sponge carefully absorbing all of this information. She's old enough to understand part of what's being said, but too young to make the difference between what's true and what's not in her case.
This is the psychological part of the complex Type 1 game that we play. Who said it was just about blood, counting carbs and needles?