A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a list of annoying things people say about type 1 diabetes. About halfway through the list I read this one: “I have type 2 diabetes, so I understand.” Evidently, the compilers considered this an annoying statement since people with type 2 diabetes often control their blood sugar with “only” diet, exercise, and a pill, and, therefore, can’t really understand.
Hogwash, I say. Absolute hogwash.
I had a chat the other day with a woman with type 2 diabetes about how tired high blood sugar makes us feel. I’m fairly certain that she understands how awful that feels.
The only person who understood the temporary near-blindness I experienced shortly after my diagnosis was a man with type 2 diabetes. A similar thing happened to him shortly after he was diagnosed.
A close friend’s mother has type 2 diabetes. She was one of the few people who understood learning to count carbs.
And honestly, some of the people around me who seem to “get it” the most don’t have diabetes at all. One has multiple food allergies and chronic migraines triggered by everything from deli meat to artificial sweeteners. One has an undiagnosed condition. Another has multiple food allergies and at least one undiagnosed chronic health condition, if not more. These three girls understand the emotional toll that a chronic health condition can take at times, even if they don’t live with the same one I do.
The people I know with type 2 diabetes may not deal with the same details. They may not need to check their blood sugar as often; they may control their blood sugar with diet and exercise and a pill rather than with insulin; they may not deal with bent cannulas or severe hypoglycemia. But they do understand managing a chronic condition and the fact that they’re not “my type” doesn’t mean the sympathy and support they offer to me is any less real.
They get it.