If you have diabetes (or any other chronic disease for that matter), you have probably been subjected to people's comments that range from thoughtful to rude to cray-cray. I've heard a lot of things in my short time as a diabetic, but today's encounter hit me differently. Usually, I chalk up people's comments to simply not having enough knowledge about the disease, and I try to use it as an opportunity to dispell some myths that people have about diabetes.
Today, I went to Macy's to purchase a new handbag. I was greeted by a talkative and outgoing sales woman. A well spoken woman, who identified herself as being in her early 60's. Seeing my Omnipod on my arm, she asked me if I was diabetic. I was thrilled that someone knew what it was and it grabbed my attention. We started a conversation. I found out her niece (who is around 40) had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in her 30's.
And here's where the conversation went downhill.
As she continued to talk about her niece, she began to sound upset with her. She went on to call her niece selfish for "going and getting pregnant with that disease, knowing that she could pass it on to another life," and "I mean, YOU (emphasis) would know, (as she gently pointed out her palm-up hand to me) who would want to live with that their whole life?" She stated her niece was also selfish because "she knew that if she got sick while she was pregnant, SOMEONE (emphasis) would have to take care of her and she took that risk anyway," and then ended with "And then she had the nerve to get pregnant again with her second child, I mean, knowing that you might not be AROUND to RAISE YOUR CHILDREN!" (Her niece is alive and well, btw).
Mouth on the floor. Silence. My heart rate went up and I couldn't think clearly enough to respond. As someone with T1 that hopes to someday have kids, it felt like a dagger to the heart. Or maybe I was just shocked to have someone say something like that to my face. I was sad, and then angry. I wanted to light her hair on fire with a can of aqua net and a Bic lighter.
(Dear Lord, keep your arms around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth. Amen.)
There are times when you just have to walk away, people. When educating someone doesn't take priority; when walking away from them does. And that's what I did.
Looking back, I realize this was likely a missed opportunity. In hindsight, there are many things I wish had come to mind that I could have said that might have changed her opinion. It saddened me to realize there are people that get downright angry and label persons with diabetes as selfish for wanting the same things in life as everyone else.
Maybe her comments were just stemming out of extreme concern for her niece's wellbeing and health, but it would have been appropriate for her to consider her audience before she spoke.
On that happy note, I got my A1c back today. It's 6.0, down a bit from last time. I guess doing the low-carb diet helped that somewhat; it helped prevent a lot of the fluctuations that I was having post-meal. However, it also likely contributed to my bad cholesterol going up substantially from 3 months ago (too much meat and eggs, I guess). Sigh. Oh well, I'm trying; not everything works, but I am trying. Stay positive, Nik. Like Deepak Chopra said, "If you have happy thoughts, then you make happy molecules." And I want happy molecules.
I'm excited to start my WildFit training on Sunday, too. I'm part of Team Wild, and I'm beginning the walk/run training program, hopefully working my way up to marathon distances. I'm also doing yoga again to restore some lost flexibility. And breathing. Breaaathhhhhinnnnnggggg.
Tomorrow's a new day, and today's events will soon be forgotten. (Hopefully, anyway). I just need to focus on what's important and not get distracted by stupid things.