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There has recently been some controversy over the use of the word “diabetic,” so I want to share my thoughts on the subject. First, it seems that most of the people against the word do not have diabetes themselves. Mother’s, spouses, siblings, friends, and family of people with diabetes are labeling the term “diabetic” as offensive. Why?
I understand that you want the best for the people you love, and you are trying to protect them, but they are still diabetic. I have diabetes and here are ten reasons why I am okay with the term diabetic.
I have diabetes by definition I am a diabetic. It may not be what defines me, but it sure plays a role in every decision I make on a daily basis. I am also a mother, wife, artist and animal lover. I wear many hats, but my "diabetic hat" is always on. Always.
There is no cure for diabetes, so I am stuck being a diabetic. Hopefully, a cure will happen in my lifetime; then I won’t be diabetic anymore. I could then say “I used to be a diabetic.” If we do find a cure one day, people will just stop using the word altogether.
I want a more inclusive community for people affected by diabetes. Whether someone is type 1, type 2, or has gestational diabetes, we can support and respect each other. We all have successes and failures. We all suffer and sacrifice at least a little every day. We all rejoice in small victories, so why not share them with each other?
We need less segregation over diseases. How or why you became diabetic might be different, but what you are feeling both physically and emotionally is the same. We are all dealing with our blood sugar. We are all trying to manage our meals, sleep, activity, doctor visits, medical bills, fears, and everything else. We need to end all diabetes. We need to stand together. It isn’t them or us; we are one.
I want to change laws and policy. To make a change, all of us need to decide to end diabetes. If all diabetics and non-diabetics come together and choose to fix the problem we can. I believe that putting a man on the moon or sending people to live on Mars is harder than ending diabetes. We have stopped all kinds of diseases even some that are very contagious. We got to the moon and put an end to polio because we decided it was important. Now we huddle together and walk for a cure, but the cure never comes. Why are we not meeting at the White House with signs and loudspeakers demanding all available resources go to a cure? Seriously, where's our "30 million people want a cure" march?
We need to educate early and often. By 2050 one in every three people are projected to be diabetic. We need to teach kids early and often about the disease. They should know everything about diabetes by the time they graduate. Food, fitness, health, and disease should be a part of the curriculum because these will be a part of their life just like math, spelling, and science.
I want drug manufacturers to be held accountable for gouging. I get that they are a business, but give me a break. When you increase the price of any life-saving drug, and you don’t have a good reason other than profit to justify it, you deserve a fine. People are rationing their insulin which is a big problem. Drug companies have no incentive to cure us; they just want money. Our government MUST put our interests above the manufacturers. THEY MUST. The government works for us they need to put us first. We are in charge!
We are stronger together than we are apart. When people decide they want a change they band together because that makes them stronger. Diabetics are no different. We can come together and solve anything. We don’t need to put a ribbon on our car to show support; we need to come together and actually give each other support. All of us.
I want a cure now. I don’t want to die with the diabetes epidemic is unsolved. I don’t want to leave the world broken or worse than it was when I entered it. We can have a healthy society where the words "diabetic" and "diabetes" becomes obsolete. It is possible.
We all matter, regardless of type. Your age, gender, weight, ethnicity or type doesn’t change the fact that you are diabetic and you deserve to be healthy and happy. You matter to me. You will always matter to me. Maybe you don’t hear that enough. Perhaps you feel judged day in and day out. Maybe you are tired of the look people give you. I get that look all the time. I have been told diabetes is only a childhood disease and that if I am a diabetic I did it to myself. I didn’t do this to myself. I don’t want to be sick. I matter to someone, and you matter to me.
If you think I sound angry, it’s because I am. Not enough is being done to fix the problem. People that should be supporting each other are instead arguing over a word. “Diabetic” is a very powerful word. It's an important word. It's NOT a bad word. It should bring us together, not separate us further.