Nadine Pedersen, a teenager with type 1 diabetes, spoke of an earlier issue of the CBC about breaking the stereotype around the disease and stopping the jokes of sugar.
I was driving a 13-year-old son, Hudson, who lives with type 1 diabetes, in school on Wednesday morning when we heard he worked at the CBC about how diwali candy would cause diabetes.
Hudson and I looked at each other and groaned, because such comments are so common and so useless.
This is a common mistake, as when someone makes a not-well-known joke. It just makes you sigh.– Hudson Carpenter
Since Hudson had been diagnosed at age eight with Type 1 diabetes, we have come across people who assume that his health is a result of not eating well.
In fact, Type 1 diabetes is not related to eating. It is an incurable, life-threatening, super-challenging auto-immune disorder.
People develop type 1 diabetes after their immune system attacks and kills cells producing insulin in the pancreas. Without insulin, people die because their bodies can not convert food into energy.
Living with Type 1
In order to survive, Hudson needed to pinch his fingers and perform blood tests several times a day.
It is linked to the insulin pump 24 hours a day and has a continuous glucose monitor attached to his arm.
Hudson has to calculate the carbohydrates in every detail he puts in his mouth to give himself a real dose of insulin.
Often in the middle of the night we try to prevent low blood sugar or high blood sugar – which would be deadly.
It's a kind of scary thing, because you might be surprised and never wake up and it's every night.– Hudson Carpenter
At one of the accounts of social media that drive to raise awareness of diabetes, I occasionally publish blue candle images.
These candles mark the passing of children who have died of diabetes. Sometimes those children die due to low blood sugar in the middle of the night. Other times this is because their type 1 diabetes symptoms are mistakenly diagnosed as flu.
These children end up falling in the coma and never coming out of it.
As you would expect, those stories are not very funny.
People make sugar beetles a reflex, without thinking about what they are saying.
They do not realize that in making these jokes they keep misinformation about the really complicated and severe illness.
Some people feel "OK" to be joking about diabetes because they associate type 2 diabetes with people who have excessive body mass – and fat burning is one of the last areas where people think it is acceptable to chew and mock others.
Obviously this is unacceptable. It is also incorrect – people can be thin and active and still develop type 2 diabetes.
It's been time to break up stereotypes about diabetes.
Insatiable comments and jokes about diabetes are extremely common in our society. When you listen to them, you start to notice them.
Hudson and I have noticed them all the time.
With early release files