You Have The “Other” Diabetes

Shortly after being diagnosed with Diabetes, I discovered that I didn’t have the diabetes where if I stopped eating pizza and broke a sweat more, I could possibly, maybe, keep it under control. Ugh. I had “the bad one”. The “Juvenile One” The “Type 1″ one. The kind where your pancreas dies, you stop producing insulin altogether and needles become a part of your everyday life. So here I was, shot out of a cannon into the shocking world of insulin injecting, meter readings and carb counting. Talk about being in over my head. I remember sitting in my trailer on the set of Weeds, drawing insulin and checking my numbers and realizing I had no idea what I was doing or why or how I had gotten here. Felt REALLY sorry for myself too! Totally overwhelmed. And yet still had to walk onto the stage and be Celia Hodes. Tah-dah! The bitch from hell is shooting up in her trailer! At that time, I didn’t share with ANYONE at work that I had been diagnosed and that my dressing room resembled a drug dealers apartment. I was afraid everyone would think I couldn’t do my job, that I was somehow weakened and that I would be uninsurable and a liability if anyone found out. Lonely. Ridiculous in hind sight, but it took me years before I began sharing with people what was going on in my life. Overnight, I had literally become a different person.

Elizabeth Perkins as Celia Hodes on Season 1 of Showtime's series Weeds

Elizabeth Perkins as Celia Hodes on Season 1 of Showtime's tv series Weeds

And even more years to explain to many what the difference is between Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes. As any Type 1 diabetic knows, this can at times, be very frustrating.

Type 2 Diabetes

With type 2 diabetes, your body either resists the effects of insulin: a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level. There’s no cure for type 2 diabetes, but you can manage the condition by eating well, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight. If diet and exercise don’t control your blood sugar, you may need diabetes medications or insulin therapy.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy. Various factors may contribute to type 1 diabetes, including genetics and exposure to certain viruses. Despite active research, type 1 diabetes has no cure, although it can be managed.

Yea, so I got the bad one. After acting like a total baby about it for several months, I finally decided to buck up, get it together and get on with my life. I set out to learn as much as I possibly could about this stranger that had just entered my world, what it needed and how to keep it from destroying my health and shortening my life. Even though, let’s face it, I didn’t want to. Wasn’t there just some pill I could take? Or retreat I could go to and when I came out I wouldn’t have Diabetes anymore? What about if I just pretended it didn’t exist?

Elizabeth Perkins as Celia Hodes drinking on Season 1 of Showtime's series Weeds

To this day, there are times I wake up and think “I just don’t want to be a diabetic today”. I’d rather be a squirrel running around my back yard, or a circus performer or even Celia Hodes for that matter. Anything but a diabetic. But life hands you what it hands you and deep down inside I am grateful that Type 1 Diabetes is manageable. It’s hard, frustrating, complicated, overwhelming, exhausting and “the bad one”, but with love and support and acceptance, I’m kicking it’s ass.

Some days.

3 Comments

  1. Reply
    FatCatAnna November 21, 2013

    Hello / Bonjour from another T1D in Montreal, Canada (I was “blessed with it back in ’67 – yuppers – I’m a flower power gal – and refuse to grow up). Here’s a little thing about our “packed its bags and went on a holiday” story about our pancreas. Did you know – it’s still “functioning”?? It still works – except for the islets we did have – got zapped. So, don’t make it feel so bad by saying it’s dead – as it still does help us in the background – with sorting out the foods we take in, yadda, yadda, yadda.

    I only learned about this earlier this years of thinking we’d been abandoned too!

  2. Reply

    […] diabetes blog, called Sweet Talking: True Tales of a Type 1 Diabetic. And most recently, she wrote a great post about how she’s learned to talk about her own diabetes and spread awareness about type […]

  3. Reply
    k2 November 30, 2013

    My pancreas flipped it’s “diabetes bitchswitch” 36 years ago – I can’t believe it’s been that long – I jokingly say I was dx’d in utero, but that wasn’t the case.
    I totally “get” having days of not wanting to be a PWD (Person with diabetes, but like you, I also find the gratitude that diabetes brings in the forms of empathy, tenacity, humor ( having a busted pancreas makes you have a twisted sense of humor for sure,) and the ability to pick myself up by my bootstraps.
    Keep being a diabadass, Chicklet!

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