Paula Deen, a celebrity Southern chef known for her unrestrained love of butter and sugar, is no stranger to the media. She received a flurry of bad press recently when she revealed that she had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes three years earlier. Shortly thereafter, she became a spokesperson for Novo Nordisk's Victoza. Following these developments, some critics said that she was a poor role model.
As I celebrate my birthday this month, I also recognize the anniversary of my diabetes. If it were a person, it would be legally old enough to move out. Oh, how I wish it would! I was diagnosed at eighteen years old with type 1 diabetes, so this makes eighteen long years that the two of us have been living together. I have so many mixed emotions about it. On one hand, I feel stronger and more certain of my decisions with diabetes than ever before. On the other hand, I feel pretty depressed that it's been so long and that, no matter how I try to push away the thought, complications could be looming around the bend.
When it comes to diabetes, people often blame the patient instead of the disease. I cannot think of another chronic illness for which this is the case. Much of the public seems to believe that we bring diabetes on ourselves. When people with diabetes are diagnosed with complications, uninformed observers often insist that it happened because they were "bad diabetics." Comments like "She didn't take care of herself" make me instantly defensive and angry. How can anyone know what that person went through on a day-to-day basis with her diabetes?
As a woman with diabetes, you may have noticed that you face unique challenges, from where to place your insulin pump, to pregnancy, to hormone fluctuations. Many diabetes books offer general diabetes advice, but few focus on women beyond just a short chapter. That is, until now.
Having diabetes means attending medical appointments regularly. It's entirely possible that at some point, you experienced an incident in which a medical professional hurt your feelings, made a mistake, or told you something completely incorrect. Medical mistakes do happen. While most doctors and nurses are amazing and professional, they are also human. Errors and inappropriate comments can occur. Some simply don't understand all aspects of diabetes.
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