Participants Point of View
Week 22 Participants Point of View by Mo Bishop (@Moby)
Humor and Diabetes
A priest, a rabbi, and a diabetic unicorn walk into a bar…
Now that I have your attention. Do you use Humor to cope with diabetes? Or any other chronic condition or illness? If so, why? To me, the answer is simple. If I didn’t use humor I probably would have killed myself the weekend I was diagnosed as a Type 2 Diabetic. When you search the internet for information on Diabetes and begin reading what you have to look forward to, the outlook is really bleak, especially as you look at your foot that is turning black after you rolled it playing volleyball that day as I did. “Great! I was just diagnosed with diabetes, and I’m already going to lose my foot to gangrene!” I knew deep down I wasn’t, but that was not what I was reading! And no, I was not, and did not, even consider killing myself. I began my acceptance to Club D.
“Humor helps us feel like we’re in some special club. Admission price is pretty steep, but the laughs are (almost) worth it.” – Kim “@txtngmypancrease”
After you are diagnosed, you learn that your meals are times you cannot pass up or take lightly as you may have in the past. It is now time to play with numbers! It all becomes a numbers game, and quickly becomes a ritual, and a Scientific Wise-Ass Guess (SWAG) of carbohydrate counts, fat grams, and fiber become more and more accurate. You then test your blood for a number. Take your prescribed amount of medication. But this ritual also becomes tedious. Day in and day out. Factoring in all the events of the day, exercise, stress, previous meals, what will be happening after your meal, will you have enough carbs, or too many? There is no escape. And you can’t cheat (ok, you shouldn’t cheat, but we ALL do). Imagine what this is like every day. This is where the humor steps in, a way to escape your everyday math test.
Most People with Diabetes (PWD) have 2 primary reactions toward their lives, laugh or cry. Personally, I’d rather laugh. So, we find the humor in our daily routines, tasks all PWDs can relate. Through the various online avenues, we find support and share our humor in these daily activities. Who in their right mind would think if a band named “Blunt Lancet” and “Insulin Whores”? Who would brag about how many times you can use the same lancet? Refer to themselves as Insulin junkies? Recall the time (or multiple times) they were caught someplace shooting up (like a restaurant bathroom)? They think of that regime of pills they take as a “Cocktail”! Type 1’s comment about how they forgot to bolus before a carbie meal (actually praying is a better fit here), “Well, forgot to bolus before lasagna with garlic bread, 300 here I come!”
“YHGMV (Your Humor Gauge May Vary)”.
This time of the year, the holidays, is truly hell for PWDs. Everywhere you go, there are cookies, sweets, alcohol, parties with buffets of sorts of tasty treats, and list goes on. We see every “normal” person indulging and think “Why can’t I eat what I want? Why can’t I be like them?” Knowing quite well that the plate of fudge, chocolate covered cherries, sugar cookies, and ginger bread your boss gave you will give you numbers a professional baseball player would give up their first child to have as their batting average.
“I was diagnosed 3 days before New Years. Did I make resolutions? No. The doctor made them for me.” – Mike “@mydiabeticheart” Durbin
The up side to all of this is humor makes us feel better for a time. The down side is since we joke about our D life, people around us don’t take it seriously. But it is serious, and that’s why we joke about it. Yes, this sounds confusing. In addition to the same stress and pressure non PWD’s have, we also have this additional “rat bastard” on our backs. Small mistakes we make now will affect us later. You see, humor is a safety valve, and we need to let off a little pressure or we will explode!
Not everyone understands D humor. You wouldn’t see them at a Blunt Lancet concert, or even know who they are! And heaven forbid if your 15 year old child even mentions the Insulin Whores! You may not understand how bacon can be a substitute for Diet Coke; but you might understand that bacon makes everything better! And, did you know that Unicorns do exist? And they flagellate cinnamon glitter (That’s for you Kelly)? It’s true; they also feed on ice cream and cupcakes.
Bottom line: If you can laugh about something, you can own it - Kelly “diabetesalic” Kunik
Humor is the escape we all need form stressors in life. It is our strong hold to protect ourselves. Research states that humor is the best medicine for whatever ails you. It may be just that. Have you ever seen the cartoon of the eagle swooping down on a mouse giving the eagle the middle finger? It has the caption “The last act of defiance”. Diabetes is the eagle, and the mouse is our humor, our last act of defiance.