#dblogweek – Day 5 – Dear PWOD (What they should know)
For the next week, I’ll be participating in the 3rd Annual Diabetes Blog Week (for more info, click on the banner above). Each day, D-Bloggers will be (mostly) blogging about a common topic but offering their own perspectives.
Dear PWOD (Person Without Diabetes, or affectionately “Pee-wad”):
There is something you need to know about me and my diabetes.
I can do this.
I’ve been doing this for a long time, and after thirty years of living off someone else’s insulin, I’ve become pretty damn good at it. I know what that cookie will do to me. That glass of wine, too. I’ve learned that through life experience. The teachings at the School of Hard Knocks, where I’ve been enrolled for over thirty years, are much more thorough than those brief articles in USA Today, sound-bites from Dr. Phil, or commercials for Liberty Medical.
Please don’t feel sorry for me. Don’t tell me that it could be worse, or that you know someone who had it worse. That doesn’t help. I’m not sure what your trying to accomplish by telling me this, but this isn’t about someone else. It’s about me. I’ve heard about a thousand sentences which begin “Diabetes puts you at risk for…”, and I’m quite sure you’re not going to tell me something new. I don’t need to see tragedy to know that it could happen to me. I do my best to avoid it.
Sure, I make mistakes. Everyone does. But when I falter and indulge in short-term satisfaction at the expense of long-term risks, please don’t try to set me back on-track. Don’t tell me what I need to do to live a healthy life when it means sacrificing a happy life. Do that, and my resentment won’t be directed at diabetes, but at you. With all due respect, I need your guidance as much as I need my mother-in-law in the back-seat telling me to slow down, use my turn signal, or watch out for that other crazy driver.
When you tell me how I should be doing it right, what you’re really saying is that I’m doing it wrong. And I don’t need that. It’s hurtful and discouraging. And like I said, I can do this – by myself.
Don’t ask me to keep my diabetes a secret. I will not duck into a restroom every time I need to take a shot or test my blood sugar. If you can’t handle that, then you should be thanking your lucky stars that you don’t have to do it yourself. My life is on the line here. This is not negotiable.
There are times when I’m confused, stumped even, about why something that shouldn’t have happened, happened. I’ll figure it out. Or maybe I won’t. But don’t scold me or try to make me feel better about it. Trust me, I’m beating myself up inside over it. When I make a mistake, no one is more critical of me than me. It makes me better prepared for the next time.
If you want to help, offer me encouragement. Acknowledge my accomplishments. Support my causes. Build my confidence in managing this disease. Because ultimately, it’s me – and only me – who has to manage it.
I know what I need to do. So if I seem discouraged, I only ask that you motivate me with this simple reminder:
I can do this.
With love and understanding,