Mary PoppinsThis week is blog week and we, the DOC Bloggers, have all been given a title for each day of the week and asked to write on this topic.the fourth entry into blog week we are asked to address the following title: FREAKY FRIDAY.  If you could switch chronic disease, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes (and has participation in the DOC affected how I treat others with other medical conditions). 

I’m not so sure where this question came from but it had me scratching my head.  But I agreed to answer the questions all week so I will do as I promised.  To actually wish my children had a chronic disease other than diabetes would suggest (to me anyway) that I would think one chronic disease is better, easier, or in some way placing our household in a better position than having diabetes.

I can’t do that.  THAT is not the case.

Well maybe I can, there might be one.  In the movie Mary Poppins Uncle Albert (Famous character actor Ed Wynn) and Bert (DIck Van Dyke) suffer with uncontrollable, chronic, laughter which makes them levitate.  The harder they laugh, the higher they go.  The idea is that laughter lightens the mood.  That is the ONLY disease I would switch with diabetes.  But uncontrollable laughter is not a real chronic disease and I am taking ‘artistic license’ here  because there is no real chronic disease we would ever consider. 

We do with what we have and go forward.

I have never once compared a disease to diabetes, nor wished we had ‘only that’ to deal with instead of diabetes, as I have heard others do so since our first child was diagnosed and quite frankly we just do not agree with it.  Any family dealing with ANYTHING has it tougher than those that do not.  Period.

My involvement with the DOC has nothing to do with how we treat others affected with other medical conditions either.  It has made me more aware, but we are at this long before the DOC was in place and our compassion comes from ‘life’ dealing with people who we both know and love; and we did not need any help in this area on how we treat others.

Let me ask you a question.  What do you think of today’s question; how would you have answered it?  Please reply to this blog and let us all know what you think.  I thought about it for a long time before I answered, but what do I know?  This blog is just me and I will always defer to others, who know so much more than I so please chime in today; how would you have answered?

I am a diabetes dad.

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9 replies on “BLOG WEEK ENTRY 5: SERIOUSLY????? I Don’t Think So.”

I’ve never considered trading either and I am often grateful that we were ‘blessed’ with a manageable disease and not something that meant an end to a young life….but sometimes because ‘Diabetes’ is what I call invisible I feel that people don’t understand what it is or how it affects out lives….With counting everything, never sleeping through the night and if you do, waking in a panic.Sometimes I get the feeling that people think we are blowing things out of proportion…I mean our kids LOOK fine…and we are always saying they can do what every other child can do… And then again, it’s not like a want a big bulls eye on our family that says…DIABETIC in the family…
it’s a tough question…and perhaps only those with no perception of chronic illness would be able to answer.

I truly enjoyed your reaponse and loved your “…..and perhaps only those with no perception……” Just fabulous insight. Thank you so much for chiming in.

I answered the question also by not trading it – but not for the reasons you stated. Yes, if someone presented me at the age of six (pre-diagnosis), with a disease catalog and told me to pick one, I’d probably pick something different.

My first impression of the question was that it was a spin on the “at least it’s not cancer” phrase we’ve all heard (if not directed directly at us, then in passing). Of course, that phrase only succeeds in hurting the morale of people with cancer, and if that was interchanged with diabetes, the result might be the same.

But the outcome is quite different. Reading the responses (a link list is here, and mine is among them at #24: made me see how confident some people are with their diabetes (those who choose to keep it), and how relaxed and good-humored others are (those who choose to trade it).

I’m sure that was the intent of this question: to make bloggers reflect and to realize how comfortable we are in our own bodies. Or maybe it’s an unintended consequence. Either way, I don’t think anyone comes away criticizing the question or the questioner.

When Shelby was diagnosed and while quietly sitting in the hospital taking in everything from the past 24 hours, I thought, “Well, at least she doesn’t have cancer” because as I looked around me and saw all the kids in neighboring rooms, most were in “worse condition” than Shelby had reached and I knew some of them were there to die and wouldn’t be able to go home. I was, for lack of a better word, grateful, that she “only had diabetes” and we could treat it. We could deal. We would be able to go home. We would be able to live with it.
As I read your question and think about it, I think that at first, we’d pick something we think is less devastating, but only for a moment or two. Because ANY diagnosis is devastating. It depends on your attitude, your knowledge, your desire to learn how to live with the diagnosis.
As you’ve said, as Morgan Freeman said in The Shawshank Redemption, and as I believe fully, we can get busy living or get busy dying. No matter what the diagnosis/disease.

I know it may sound cold or callous to think any other chronic illness is easier, but I do consider some aspects of a couple of others to be easier.

I would trade instantly my children’s T1 for Hypoglycemia, or better yet Asthma.

Hypoglycemia- While those that suffer solely from Hypoglycemia and are therefore not Diabetic do have the same scary thoughts of lows, and face the same deadly consequences, I would trade for my children to have it so that we could do away with the insulin, high blood sugars, and ketones. T1 is always a balancing act of not too high, not too low. I would enjoy having to only fight one side for a while.

Asthma- I know the seriousness of Asthma, as I have friends who have it and know some children who can’t even play outside because of it.

My children may not agree with me, because they enjoy sports and running, so they might say no to such a trade, but if I had been offered the choice on D day I would have taken Asthma. Compared to the amount of diabetes supplies we have to carry, the shots, the pump, the finger sticks, I would gladly switch to breathing treatments on bad days versus IVs to get rid of ketones.

No one has to agree with me, but that is my opinion.

Little slow reading the blog week posts, but wanted to reply… I would prefer to have both of my kids be free of T1, and free from all the stress it places on them and consequently on me. At the time of Samantha’s diagnosis, I would have preferred Crohn’s Disease, which I have had since age 18 (with 2 small bowel resections/surgeries), because that was the chronic disease I was familiar with & knew how to deal with. But there is a reason for everything & I begin to think part of the reason for diabetes was to force me out of my comfort zone, force me to keep growing as a person, and to enable me to meet some of the most incredible people ~ parents and kids and other adults~ who are also on this roller coaster with me. Every chronic condition, visible and “invisible”, deserves understanding & compassion from others, respect for all that goes into managing each condition, and the chance to live as “normal” a life as possible, whatever “normal” means to each person. None of them are easy, we just find the strength/faith/hope, every day, to put one foot in front of the other, always moving forward and striving in our own ways for a better future. So, we’ll stick with what we haved worked hard to understand and manage; the grass is not always greener on the other side.

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