Guest Post: Biology by Ashley S.

On November 9, 2010 by Cherise Shockley


Call me lame, but I was catching up on Grey’s Anatomy recently and something they said caught my attention. Frankly, I didn’t even watch the whole episode; it was just something I overheard Meredith say. I realize that a lot of people who have a chronic condition/disease/illness hate medical dramas because often times they don’t reflect conditions in the proper light. But that’s not what I’m writing about. She said something along the lines of: Biology may be a big part of what we are, but it’s not who we are.

There are some people out there who are adamantly against calling yourself “diabetic” and believe you should say you “have diabetes”. It’s true; other conditions don’t have a name for themselves with their disease. With cancer you say, “I have cancer” or “I’m a cancer survivor”. But really, what’s the difference. No matter what way you say it, diabetes is a part of your life and is here to stay. Does it really matter how you say you have diabetes?

Some of my closest friends are members of the DOC. If I weren’t a diabetic, I wouldn’t have those relationships. We’re in different states, with different backgrounds, but diabetes brings us together. At the same time our friendships don’t revolve around diabetes. We talk about school, work, money, friends, men, food and just life.

Diabetics usually make a point of making it clear that diabetes doesn’t define them. The reality is, for most us, it does. Diabetes has completely changed my life. I am not the same person I was before diabetes. There are a lot of things that have changed, not all for the better and not all for the worse. Look at the number of people who have decided to create organizations because they know someone or have diabetes themselves.

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. There are numerous events to help raise the voice of diabetes going on all month long. Events are taking place in person and online.

Think of the time we spend every day taking “care” of our diabetes. If I didn’t have T1 I would have at least a couple more hours in my day every day. Diabetics dedicate time to research food counts, researching tips and even reading and supporting other diabetics and their blogs. Diabetes, like it or not is a HUGE part of any diabetic’s life. And, often times, the lives of those who love or care for a diabetic.

Diabetes doesn’t make us less a person, but it does make us different. Our difference isn’t a bad thing. I’d even make the argument that it’s a good thing. Diabetes has made me a more patient (shocking to think I managed to even be less patient!!), more understanding, well rounded, observant, personable and really just made me a stronger person. I wouldn’t wish diabetes (or any chronic condition for that matter) on anyone, but I can’t say it’s been a completely bad influence on my life.

Diabetes isn’t ALL of who I am. It’s just a sliver of me. Not just this November, but every day should embrace what diabetes is in our lives. And, no I don’t mean in the sappy, sunshiny, “I love Diabetes” sort of way. I mean in the: “We are diabetics. Diabetes is, a very present but, only one part of our lives” kind of way.

I feel like there’s this underlying fear that society will think less of us because we have diabetes. And, it is a legitimate fear, the first woman who was on insulin didn’t even tell her children she was diabetic! I know each one of us is all about educating the public on the reality of diabetes, that we’re not at fault, we’re not less of a person and sometimes no matter what we do it sucks. Diabetes is in our biology, we didn’t have a choice in the matter, but like it or not it’s a big part of who we are.

To read more about Ashley check out her blog: Random Ramblings

3 Responses to “Guest Post: Biology by Ashley S.”

  • I’ve found this philosophy (if I can call it that), as shared by many people living with diabetes, to be helpful and encouraging. I think Caleb has been able to accept this part about him, and I thank people like you, Ashley, for setting that example for me, so I can instill it in him.

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