Life’s Like This

Last weekend I was at a kiddie birthday/barbecue party enjoying the sunshine, when suddenly I heard the word “Diabetes” loud and clear over the din. For once I was in an environment where hardly anyone knew me well, so I was definitely thrown. There goes my D-free day, I thought…

Uncertain As I approached the cake-cutting area, I found two teenagers grappling over a small plastic plate piled high with a cake corner, topped by 2-inch-thick Buzz Lightyear icing. “Here!” one of them shouted as she jabbed the plate in her friend’s face, “have some diabetes!” (Gaggles of giggles) “No, here!” shrieked the other, scooping a chunk with her fingers and heading for her friend’s mouth, “You eat your diabetes!” We all stumbled backwards as they wrestled.

One of the mothers, who does know me, looked uncomfortable. “Do you know who actually has diabetes?” she asked, a little too loudly. “Amy! She writes a blog and even wrote a book about it.”

“Oh,” said the girls in unison, looking me up and down with puzzled expressions (that tapered skirt makes me look pretty lanky).

“Well, I don’t have the kind you get from eating too many doughnuts,” I blurted. Blank looks… Gesturing awkwardly toward the cake I added, “But once you have it, you still can’t eat that shit!”

Editor’s Note: I think I handled that pretty well, don’t you? (NOT.)


31 Responses

  1. BP
    BP May 15, 2007 at 7:08 am | | Reply

    Nope, I think is was a seriously, perfect response! I ALMOST said the same thing to my MIL this weekend along with a good fling of ice cream! I am so sick of it. I just sent a comment to a blog post that has referred to a “healthy” person as someone without heart disease and/or diabetes twice this week (and it’s Tuesday)! And this is written by a freakin’ nutritionist! It’s like you’re damned if you do and pitied if you don’t! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!
    (Well, maybe you are right and we should hold our tongues and be more patient but man, sometimes…)

  2. Dave
    Dave May 15, 2007 at 8:01 am | | Reply

    Great response!! Enough Said!!!


  3. carol
    carol May 15, 2007 at 8:47 am | | Reply

    I think your response was perfect! I’m not sure why some diseases are fair game for poking fun and others are not. Hey, at least these were kids. Most educated adults don’t get it either.

  4. Bernard Farrell
    Bernard Farrell May 15, 2007 at 9:05 am | | Reply


    I’ll bet those girls never look at you the same way again (and I mean this in a good sense).

    First of all because they know you have diabetes.

    Secondly they know you know that they were shooting their mouths off when they didn’t even know what they were saying.

    Thirdly you used the s-word.

    I can’t help but thinking/hoping they’ll be more respectful from now on.

  5. MoHo
    MoHo May 15, 2007 at 9:11 am | | Reply

    We all know where it came from, those ads on TV where the little kids are begging their parents for junkfood saying “can I have some diabetes?” and “can I have some obesity?” I am sick and tired of ignorant people, to the point that I hide this affliction as best I can. Amy, I would have left those two little c-words in tears, I thought you showed remarkable restraint.

  6. greta
    greta May 15, 2007 at 10:11 am | | Reply

    Which type of diabetes is it you get from eating too many doughnuts? I have type 2, and I never ate doughnuts. Or fast food. I planted a garden and ate fresh vegetables.

    Let’s stop bashing type 2s.

  7. Ed
    Ed May 15, 2007 at 10:52 am | | Reply

    I’ve been reading your blog since I was diagnosed with diabetes about 2 months ago. I’m a 28 year old former college athetle and getting diagnosed with Type 1 came as quite a shock. The thing I don’t understand is why you are constantly so negative about your fight with the disease. There are far worse afflictions in the world, I would rather have diabetes 1,000 times over than be a starving child in Africa or a person dealing with the craziness in the Middle East. In all honest, who cares if 2 children who don’t understand the disease mock it; they would mock anything else they have a lack of knowledge about just the same. With tight control this disease is about nothing more than dedication, restraint and 10 pin pricks a day – really not a bad way to go through life when you consider the alternative.

  8. Kassie
    Kassie May 15, 2007 at 11:13 am | | Reply

    damn, I totally had gooey birthday cake this weekend. Twice ;)

  9. AJ
    AJ May 15, 2007 at 11:28 am | | Reply

    I’m kind of with Ed on this. I was diagnosed about 9 months ago as a Type 1, and I don’t really get what makes the disease so difficult. I count my carbs, and I take a few shots a day. The part that really frustrates me is how much of my income is now wasted on medical bills.

    I remind myself though, that I may still be honeymooning (still producing some insulin), and I haven’t had to deal with this condition for years/decades. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to grow up with Type 1, or how it wears on you after years and years.

  10. Kerri.
    Kerri. May 15, 2007 at 12:17 pm | | Reply


    I think your persective on your disease is just that – yours. You have every right to handle it however you see most fit. Having been managing type 1 myself for over 20 years, I don’t think anyone has any right to tell you how to feel about it, one way or another. It is your disease. I think you manage just fine. :)

    However, I am surprised that you would make a “doughnut” comment. Type 1 or Type 2 or the parent of or the spouse of – whatever the role, life with diabetes is challenging enough without the guilt. You are very educated about this disease and it’s many faces. Help others view diabetes in a non-judgmental, educated way.

  11. AmyT
    AmyT May 15, 2007 at 12:25 pm | | Reply

    Right you are, Kerri. Today’s post is about catharsis. The doughnut comment was stupid — I honestly don’t know where that one came from :O

  12. Anne
    Anne May 15, 2007 at 1:06 pm | | Reply

    It’s true that a lot of people have it far worse, but doesn’t mean that it’s a picnic thinking about BG’s, food, and insulin constantly and trying to figure out how to keep that in balance with the rest of life. I hope for those newly diagnosed, that things continue to go smoothly. Each case of diabetes is different and although some may feel like things are relatively easy, that is certainly not the case for everyone. Ask my dad who has had his eyes lasered I don’t know how many times, has received the most generous gift–a kidney–from his little brother, and struggles with many other insidious diabetes complications.

    I understand where your retort came from, Amy. I agree it’s not good to bash anyone with a chronic disease; I am sure everyone with diabetes–both types–has felt that judgement from others from time to time.

  13. Sarah
    Sarah May 15, 2007 at 1:51 pm | | Reply

    I don’t think we can blame Amy here folks. Let’s look at the context. As posted, the children most likely got their idea from that series of (ill advised) commercials that ran in the US aimed at preventing Type 2 in our children.

    These commercials were (I assume) created by people with the understanding that the Type 2 diabetes/obesity explosion IS caused by what we are feeding our youth. While I understand that some Type 2′s don’t fit the stereotype (they must feel like us Type 1′s always being blamed for their disease), obviously many do.

    All I am saying her is that you can’t blame Amy. I have snapped at people too! Trust me, after having Type 1 since I was a toddler, I state:

    a) It IS that bad more often than not.
    b) It’s REALLY annoying when people regularly assume that your mother put Coke in your bottle to “give you diabetes”.
    c)Those same people assume that you are not “disciplined” enough to “cure your diabetes” with the Atkins diet or latest herb.

    Trust me on this, we are all human, and ignorance on top of diabetes leads some people (like me! :) to get a bit irritated.

    Amy, while maybe not the *best* choice of words :) , you said what you wanted to say. And I think there is nothing wrong with speaking out. If the moms of Type 1 kids hadn’t stopped the ads I refer to, they would still be running today.

    Those ads didn’t even mention Type 1 (which has nothing to do with lifestyle), when Type 1 still accounts for the majority of kids who get diabetes. The worst part is, how many people will even know there IS another form of diabetes in the future?

    How many more kids will die because their parents never thought that their active 7 year old was in DKA as opposed to the “flu”, because “healthy kids don’t get diabetes”. It’s happened in this day and age, when diabetes is obvious and easy to treat if caught in time. Kids are dying unnecessarily.

    Or how many more nurses will I have to educate when they ask me if I’m a “Type 1 who takes insulin”? Truly scary when your life may be in their hands.

    Let’s not blame Amy for the real problems that having 2 diseases with the same name causes.

  14. AmyT
    AmyT May 15, 2007 at 4:19 pm | | Reply

    Thanks Sarah, but what I meant to say (ie. should have said) is — “you don’t get it from eating too many doughnuts.” That would have been more accurate. *Sigh* After all, I am trying to be part of the solution here.

  15. maureen
    maureen May 15, 2007 at 4:56 pm | | Reply

    I think that a few of the “so what” posters need to live with this disease a bit longer. Try being a 7year old kid in a coma with organs shutting down and taking it from there. Yeah, he’s under control now, just in time for puberty to mess it up again. It’s a 24/7 thing, it’s a just when you get to the top of the mountain something knocks you back down thing.
    Yes, I’m glad it’s not cancer. But it sucks that a kid has to live with this..

  16. adam
    adam May 15, 2007 at 5:05 pm | | Reply

    Well said, Ed.
    I honestly couldn’t have said it any better than you just did!
    (Google bernstein diabetes.)

  17. MoHo
    MoHo May 15, 2007 at 9:13 pm | | Reply

    Oh how I remember those carefree post-diagnosis/honeymoon days. Give it time my little ignorant newbies, this disese will eventually show you what makes it so difficult.

  18. Vicki
    Vicki May 15, 2007 at 9:19 pm | | Reply

    After 10 years with this durned disease I consider it more of a nuisance than anything else. Checking my BG 10x a day has become routine, as has taking multiple daily injections. I calculate my meal dose according to the carbs at each meal and it’s become second nature now. It’s a contest between “me” and “my body”. If I have a good BG (as close to 100 as possible) 2 hours after eating “I” win. If it’s higher than that, my body wins. It’s a constant contest, but I like contests.

    Of course, I’d rather not be diabetic at all, but this wasn’t a choice. After 10 years, I have no complications, so I guess “I’m” winning. My A1C has been under 6.2 for at least 8+ years and I plan to make it to my 90th birthday with all my parts working nicely. (I was diagnosed with LADA at age 60).

    I think a positive attitude helps and luckily, I’ve always been a lemonade-from-lemons person.

  19. MoHo
    MoHo May 15, 2007 at 9:23 pm | | Reply

    Christ, here we go again with the lemons!?

  20. CB
    CB May 15, 2007 at 9:40 pm | | Reply

    Well, we seem to be covering more than donuts in this fascinating series of comment posts – thanks Amy for making this all possible. So, as a T1 for 50+ yrs with no complications, I’d say that D is neither as horrendous as many claim (e.g., MoHo) nor as much of a “stroll” as AJ may be implying. What I’ve found is I can live with D by being Aware (that I have the ability and information to self-manage my diabetes, Disciplined (about taking care of myself), and Active (in managing my diabetes. through diet, exercise, and being “in balance”). For me, following these guidelines has allowed me today, for example, to ride 44mi. by bike to the top of 4,200ft. Mt. Hamilton and then back down (much more fun). Almost anything is possible (even eating donuts on occasion) when you and I have the right attitude and means to achieve our goals. CB

  21. Megan
    Megan May 15, 2007 at 9:56 pm | | Reply

    In all honesty, no, I don’t think you handled it well. I’m truly of the mind set that type 2 is largely genetic, and recent research supports this.

    Eating anything IN MODERATION won’t cause ill effect on your body, be is cake, ice cream, or donuts.

    And again, with moderation, and a bolus, you can “eat that shit.”

    In your defense though, I know you know better, AND I know you were put on the spot, and I can’t say I would do better in such a situation. I hate being put on the spot.

  22. Rachel
    Rachel May 16, 2007 at 5:22 am | | Reply

    I’m of the mindset that too many donuts can’t be good for ANYONE. ;)

  23. Chris
    Chris May 16, 2007 at 6:14 am | | Reply

    In response to a previous poster, I have been diabetic since I was 13 and am now 38, so I think I am over the honeymoon. 10 sticks a day, exercise a good diet, an insulin pump and an A1C of under 6 since I went on the pump 1 year ago.

    After 20 years, I changed my attitude about the disease and have never been healthier. I don’t hide my pump or my meter or my disease.

    Yes, diabetes is a PITA. So is working for a living.

  24. AmyT
    AmyT May 16, 2007 at 8:59 am | | Reply

    Actually Megan, no, I CAN’T eat that shit. If you think having diabetes is sometimes restrictive, try being allergic to wheat. Birthday cake (wheat topped with pure sugar) is kind of my nemesis, which may be part of the reason I “snapped” here…

  25. Megan
    Megan May 16, 2007 at 12:55 pm | | Reply

    Sorry, I forgot about the Celiac.

  26. Rosalind Joffe
    Rosalind Joffe May 16, 2007 at 1:51 pm | | Reply

    Hey, I don’t have diabetes — but I do have a bunch of other AI diseases. And I write a blog. And I give you lots and lots of credit for this post. I love that you wrote at the end, “I think I handled that pretty well, don’t you? No.” Talk about corporate transparency!

    Yup, people respond to their disease(s) differently. But no doubt about it – the world around us isn’t very kind to the world of chronic disease. And, it does get old. Sometimes, you just need to vent — and laugh at yourself. We all could us to lighten up,even a bit.

    I love reading your blog, Amy. In my own blog (keepworkinggirlfriend), I really have trouble getting a good laugh. Thanks.

  27. Jenn
    Jenn May 16, 2007 at 8:42 pm | | Reply

    Every person is different, and it is safe to assume that every diabetic is different.

    For some, diligent care results in excellent A1Cs, for some diligent care results in less than ideal A1Cs.

    Some test sporadically and have no complications, others test constantly and have myriad complications.

    Try not to assume that your personal experience is indicative of what every diabetic deals with.

    And having two full time jobs, one of which is a chronic illness with no vacation time, is a major PITA. You don’t have to let it ruin your life, but it isn’t too much to ask to enjoy a good venting every now and then.

  28. Sarah
    Sarah May 16, 2007 at 9:58 pm | | Reply

    Hey Amy…Celimix Deluxe White Cake Mix is pretty darn good! They also make GF icing. Kaybee products get a thumbs up too.

    You can order them online. They are produced in Canada, and fairly easy to get, here at least. My local Safeway stocks Celimix. :D

    I do have to point out that I am in the “Celiac Capital” of Canada, though. The city I moved to is very Celiac friendly…very good for me! ;) I can even order a gluten free and casein free pizza in 30 minutes from the pizza shop down the street.

    Tastes…OK….but it sure is nice to be able to order pizza again!

    The local liquor mart also stocks gluten free beer (“Le Messenger”)and it actually tastes good! Worth every penny of the $18 for a 6 pack cost! Mmm…boy did I miss beer! :)

    Although I do miss the taste of wheat, the ability to eat “healthy” foods like oats, and the freedom to eat out and eat anything, there are some gems out there if you know where to look!

  29. Island in the Net
    Island in the Net May 18, 2007 at 9:47 am | | Reply

    Ed, kassie

    Wait until your honey moon period is over and then come back and read this blog. Then you will understand.

    Type 1 diabetic for just under 11 months.

  30. Kassie
    Kassie May 23, 2007 at 7:00 am | | Reply


    I have had type 1 diabetes for 21 years. I think I get it.



  31. Michael
    Michael September 13, 2007 at 4:28 pm | | Reply

    I have had diabetes type 1 for a along time it was scary at first but turn’s ok. I’m age 10 so diabetes not with me to long.

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