Why did I start Sugar B & Me?
Why do I advocate for education and for others to share their journeys with diabetes?
Why do I want to change this negative stigma on diabetes?
Because of the above picture you see here.
This was a slide taken from a presentation given by a healthcare professional (Just for the record, this presentation didn’t come from any of my professors. They are all very respectful and understand my specific diabetes needs).
I was shocked to see this was in a presentation that was trying to educate students on diabetes because it portrayed such a negative and inaccurate depiction of diabetes. I’ve never been one to share my personal story with diabetes to others but after this presentation, I felt compelled to use my education and personal experiences to help break this negative stigma and illustrate how someone who is “Diabetic Proud” lives her life- hence the reason why Sugar B & Me was created.
The two stigmas I would like to discuss are highlighted in this picture.
1. The stigma that people get their diabetes from eating too many sweets.
Yes, I have a MAJOR sweet tooth, but who doesn’t this time of year? Sure I love my chocolate and holiday cookies, but I didn’t get my diabetes from my love of sweets. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, meaning my body attacked itself. Autoimmune disorders can be caused by predisposed genetics with an environmental trigger. I was diagnosed shortly after having pneumonia for an extended period of time. It’s hard to say if this is the reason for my diabetes, but it’s a possible environmental trigger that accelerated my already predisposed destiny in getting diabetes.
And yes, I can eat my holiday cookies and chocolate as long as I take my insulin 🙂
2. The stigma that I will die from my diabetes.
I have never once thought to myself, “Who will attend my funeral?” or “How will people know I died?“.
To me, I believe when it’s my time to go, I’ll part from this world to another heaven. I know I will not die from my diabetes because I’m in control of my diabetes, rather than my diabetes controlling me.
I understand there are multiple complications associated with uncontrolled diabetes and it’s important to be aware of these potential risks. Complications can occur with prolonged, uncontrolled management of diabetes. However, with the correct treatment and lifestyle changes, many people with diabetes are able to prevent or delay the onset of these complications. Managing diabetes takes a lot of self-control and discipline and not every diabetic will experience these complications.
I work hard to live a healthy lifestyle to reduce these risks and live a normal, 24-year-old, PT student lifestyle. To have the message that I’m going to die from my diabetes is wrong and downright not going to happen.
To the healthcare professional, I hope you understand we are MORE THAN OUR DIABETES and no one is textbook. I can eat anything I want and having diabetes doesn’t suck. Yes, it’s hard work but I’m thankful for the technology and advances in research that makes it manageable. I’m a Type 1 Diabetic and I appreciate my body and the chance to live another day helping others.
I’m PROUD and Diabetic Strong. Period.