Not A Joking Matter
I maaayyyy piss you off in 3...2...1... Before I start, I’d like to ask each of you to fully read everything I’m about to write before you jump to emailing, DMing, commenting, and texting me allllll the angry feels. I’d like to ask that you understand the place I’m coming from rather than hone in on the word I know will stand out. In fact, let’s get that word out of the way :: Cancer. I know, most of yall just cringed. Your fingers are probably tingling to send me some nasty words and you are probably reeeaaaally speculating on what I’m about to say. So here goes: Diabetes is not a joke. Diabetes is not a punch line. Diabetics should not be ridiculed. Diabetics should not be made to feel “less than” because of someone’s lack of intellect and/or lack of sense of humor. Diabetes is a serious autoimmune disease that did not come from eating too much sugar. #facts Now, no one jokes about cancer. No one has cancer be punchline to the “jokes” they tell. No one points fingers at the cancer patients who lay in hospital beds and laugh saying they brought this upon themselves. No one has the cojones to tell a person dying from cancer that they shouldn’t have done x, y, z and they wouldn’t be in this position. No one makes memes in an attempt to be funny about cancer. No one hashtags “# cancer” on an instagram picture. Why? BECAUSE IT IS NOT FUNNY. Read that again. Cancer is not funny...just like diabetes is not funny. See where I’m going here? Cancer is a deadly disease. Cancer kills people. Diabetes is a deadly disease. Diabetes kills people. However, only one of these diseases is made into a joke. Can you imagine the uproar that would ensue if people “joked” about cancer the way they “joke” about diabetes? Holy crap - I can’t. I can’t truly imagine the angry letters, emails, texts, death threats, protests, etc that would happen if someone/people/a company/etc “joked” about cancer. We all know someone who has had cancer, right? It’s horrible. Truly horrible and it shakes you to your core. Chances are if you’re reading this, you also know someone who has diabetes. Guess what? It’s horrible and it shakes me to my core knowing that all it takes is ONE SEVERE, UNTREATED LOW AND I COULD DIE. My kids would have no mother. My parents would have no daughter. My chickens would have no leader. My dog would have no snuggle buddy. ... but really, that’s how quickly diabetics can die. Poof. Vanish. Gone. In one day, only leaving behind a trial of glucose strips. Let that sink in. Now listen: No, I am not comparing the two diseases, nor am I saying one is worse or better than the other. No, I am not wishing for anyone to make any “cancer jokes”. No, I am not being insensitive to cancer in any way, shape, or form. The reason I bring this up? A person I am friends with on social media posted a delicious looking dessert they were making and hash tagged “diabeetus”. Yes, I understand that back in the day there was a gentleman used for commercials for diabetic supplies, who, many of us thought, said the word “Diabetes” funny. Got it. However, hash tagging my disease- THE DISEASE I DID NOTHING TO OBTAIN, AND THAT TRIES TO KILL ME ON A DAILY BASIS - and try to make it into a joke? I’m not laughing. No disease is funny and the fact that people continue to use diabetes as a punchline is astounding to me. It’s also infuriating and a whole slew of another adjectives. But perhaps most of all? It’s hurtful because it continues the stigma that so many of us are trying to shed light on. It’s continuing feelings of worthlessness, self doubt, uncertainty, embarrassment, and an overall feeling of being ashamed for many diabetics. (Especially the younger ones and teenage ones who are going through enough without adding insult to injury) Be respectful. Be compassionate. Put yourself in the shoes of others and if you aren’t laughing when you’re wearing those shoes? Don’t change the shoes, change your attitude.