Diabetics of a different generation - do you think we young ones have it easy??

By roshy Latest Reply 2012-01-17 11:36:45 -0600
Started 2012-01-17 03:45:54 -0600

OK, im going to warn everyone who reads this, my use of discussions are never really of a serious nature so if your reading this and begin to think " this is a waste of my time" i have already warned you!

But id like to discuss the change of treatment, attitudes social stigmas and other areas of diabetes that have changed or developed over the past decades.
What have you noticed? do you feel like there has been many changes? what do you feel still needs to change?
Ill begin with the change in treatment. Because my father has been a type one since he was 7 he remembers the needles being huge. He remembers taking two needles a day right up to 2002 ( old fashioned pig insulin) until an endo slated his treatment as being completely outdated and belonged in the 1950's! He only got his first glucose kit the same year which is maddness if you think about it!
None the less my fathers health remained fantastic throughout his life and he is still very healthy to this day ( recently recieved two medals for living with diabetes for 50 years)
With all the different gadgets and "designer insulins" and different meds we diabetics now have a world or advanced technology at our hands, we may even say we are spoiled , this is one of the biggest changes throughout the years and all for the better. With the objective information now at our feet i believe there are others areas in which to takkle, such as social, emotional and psychologicall supprt. The statistics on increased mental ill health for diabetics are considerably alot higher then the general person. We now need to find new ways to provide the individual with personal support so we can lessen the burden of the disease. Ive done alot of research on complience with young teen and adult patients and the shocking numbers or secretive distructive behavours are very damaging such as binge eating, smoking and diabulimia. We need to change the attitudes of the doctors who feel "they know whats best for you and what will work" Diabetes is not the death sentence it once was so we need to move forward with our thinking just like we have with our advanced medical technology.

Throughout his life he did however keep it a secret from others. When offered job oppertunities he held back in reveling information just in case it did not stand in his favour. We can understand why someone would do this but heres a question, do diabetics still feel the need to this now a days??
He also never once injected or tested infront of other people until i became diagnosed. He would find the nearest toilets and return for his food. Although i still believe many people do this now adays i think with the increased numbers of people being diagnosed along with the better technology, this will soon be a thing of the past!! No more diabetics "shooting up " in the hidden closet! Parents now a days are better educated and will teach their children that this condition is nothing to be secretive about!
I suppose this question links up to the stigma and attutudes aspect. Do you still think there are some underlying attitudes and stigmas attached towards people with diabetes? There are still some aspects or discrimination within the law which are unfair i find. For example Because im diabetic i need to renew my drivers licence every 3 years while my friends have to renew theirs every ten years. Health and home insurance is 300 percent higher for diabetics in my country!! Then there are certain career choices that a diabetic cannot undertake due to their condition. Do you think this will ever change??
Doees the wider community need to be informed more on the condition ? should we be educating children in schools about the importance of healthy living and conditions such as diabetes? Could this healp with the negative stigma attached and make a difference?

Well ive said my piece. If anyone has anything to add please do!! if your of a "different generation" of diabetes what changes have you noticed?? What do you think still needs to change?

Thanks a mill for reading

5 replies

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-01-17 11:27:33 -0600 Report

Excellent question Roshy. My cousins were diagnosed years before I was. They were working at the time and hid it because they didn't want anyone to know. At office parties they ate what everyone ate and said they paid for it later.

I was working for a non profit and our Fundraising Gala honored African American's in the Medical Field. We had a diabetic testing room for those who wanted to be tested. A co-worker talked several of us into being tested. This was in June 08. I read the email in August and finally made an appointment. Based on what my cousins said, I didn't want anyone to know so I said nothing to my co-workers for a week. I told my sister and friends I didn't work with. The President came and asked what was my test results and I told her I was diabetic and she hugged me and said several other of our employees were also. It is because of her that I didn't have to worry about being stigmatized at work.

I don't know if I will tell my next employer that I am diabetic. There are still people who actually believe that it is the persons fault that they are diabetic and don't accept it as a medical problem. I have not had to renew my license but since I am not driving, I won't tell them that I have diabetes.

I do know that there are more improvements made for diabetes treatment over the years. Even since I was diagnosed a few years ago, Bayer has come up with a flash drive type meter and you can save your results right to your computer. With the ability of email, some doctors will allow you to email their office if you have a problem.

Type1Lou 2012-01-17 10:10:49 -0600 Report

Dear Roisin,
Like you, my Dad was a diabetic. He was diagnosed in the early 1950's when he was around 60 years old. I remember watching him test his urine (no BG meters back then) and give himself his morning shot of U40 protomine zinc beef-pork insulin. The needle was HUGE and was not disposable requiring re-sharpening. He was a machinist/tool and die maker in a local factory and I don't know if he revealed whether he had diabetes. He never hid it from us and I don't believe he made a secret of it. Only saccharine was available as an alternative sweetener and there were precious few diabetes-friendly foods in the stores then. He died at age 81 and had still been quite active in the community, even after his retirement. I feel fortunate to be living today with the enhanced options we have for managing our disease…so yes, I do think we have it easier than our Dads did. Don't get me wrong…I'm not saying it's easy to deal with our diabetes…we just have more and better tools and tests available to us than Dad did.

I do believe there are many misconceptions about diabetes and its causes and I try to explain it when the opportunities arise. I have never hidden that I have diabetes and do not feel it impeded me in my career or my activities. I am retired now and am busier than ever. I have never personally experienced any discrimination because of my diabetes…lucky in that respect, I guess, even after 35+ years with diabetes.
Hugs, Lou

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-01-17 11:36:45 -0600 Report

Lou, I remember when saccharine was only available in pill form and over the years it was decided that it causes cancer. I agree we do have it easier than even 5 years ago. I remember when I first started seeing the ads on television for home delivery, the narrator said you could have your diabetes medications and supplies delivered to your home in a plain wrapper. It was like having an X-rated book delivered back in the day.

I think the food issue is still a problem based on where you live. I live in an under-served African American community. Our community supermarket isn't one of the big chains so healthy foods are limited mainly because many of the people are on government assistance or fixed incomes. Those who aren't and have the ability go to more affluent areas or the county to grocery shop and use that market for last minute items or if they run out of something. It is on my bucket list to fix this problem. Unfortunately the owner groans when he sees me in a meeting because I have gotten on him over the condition of the market and it has since changed for the better.

I think even but this time next year we will see even more changes for us. Bless your dad it sounds like he had an enjoyable life even with diabetes. It just goes to show you that no matter what disease you may have, having a positive outlook will always make it better.

Nick1962 2012-01-17 09:35:54 -0600 Report

Good one Roshy!
I’ll answer your question in your title first. No, I don’t think the young ones have it easy, but I think it’s more societal than generational. I grew up just on the cusp of the computer generation. In high school, if I needed information, I had to go to a local library. I was a senior in high school before I touched my first word processor, and our school had two computers - one for the instructors to learn on, and one for the select few students who took that class.
My grandmother had diabetes, but the family always treated it as her responsibility to take care of. If she was on insulin, I never knew it, and aside from her having sugar free candy around the house, there were no other signs. She was a great old-world German cook and we never went hungry at her house. Thinking back now to my younger days, aside from the constant baking and mounds of delicious Spaetzle on special days, we actually did eat fairly healthy. Good amounts of fresh meats and fish, home canned vegetables and sauces were always available. However, there was also no such thing as food labeling, so no knowledge of carbs or sugar content. Her doctor’s advice was probably just stay away from sweets. No meters either – blood sugar results came from a lab.

The difference between then and now however is back then, we/they had to work a lot harder for what they ate. Going to McDonald’s or KFC was a treat for me (and there was no such thing as a drive-through), and if you wanted something quick, you had to go to a grocery store, which was usually only open from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. six days a week. TV dinners were the only pre-packaged meals, and if you wanted something other than those offerings, you had to make it. Microwave ovens were just being developed for mass home use, so it wasn’t until my first year in college that I had that convenience. Even then, the only things we had were canned Spaghettio’s, soup, and Beanie Weenie’s.
It wasn’t until college (in my area) that things started to turn – more gas stations were becoming “convenience stores” and offering food, and more and more drive-throughs started popping up. Of course I had a car then also so I had greater access to these things.

For the younger generation now, food, and more importantly bad food, is so readily available. Since we all seem so rushed (doing what I don’t know) it’s not unusual for folks in my age group to simply grab a sack of greasy food for the family on the way home from work and call it dinner. Half of my generation simply couldn’t cook if our lives depended on it, and unfortunately, for many it does. Sadly, this skill has not been passed down to your generation, and you grew up being caught up in the mass consumerism where having food at your fingertips 24/7 is the norm, with no limits on portion or effort to produce it. I’m sorry we did this to you.

Unfortunately, technology and information has followed the same consumer driven glut. At age 16 I would have been lucky to find 2 books on diabetes at the local library. If I really wanted to know more, I’d have to go to a clinic or hospital. Now, quite literally information is a few buttons away at all times. Even more unfortunately is a great deal of the information is either bad or conditional (by that I mean applying to only a certain few). Any fool that made a tea from tree bark and claims it lowered blood sugar can put that out there, and it’s perfectly normal to just pop a pill for any ailment. The fact that this site even exists is a sad commentary on our medical system. While information is being provided far quicker, most newly diagnosed diabetics are still just being handed a diagnosis and left to figure it out so the doctor can move on to the next patient. I’m not saying this is true in all cases, there are some great folks in the profession out there, but just judging by the increases in diagnosed cases, there aren’t enough good ones, and/or they’re not acting proactively.

Your generation has to wade through so much information (and misinformation) and overcome the sins of your fathers when it comes to food, exercise, and education. Controlling diabetes for you is much harder I believe.

Set apart
Set apart 2012-01-17 06:16:57 -0600 Report

I believe things have changed to some degree. I remember as a child not really understanding mu grandmother's illness. Her legs were constantly swollen and as I recollect had a lot of sores. I remember my family scolding her when she'd sneak her favorite sweets. There was no understanding and I guess education not sure what happened, but my grandma ate white flour tortillas, and lots of carbs. People thought it was only the sweets she needed stay away from. Not sure if there were sugar free jellies then, but my sweet grandma would have loved them. I still believ that there is so little awareness with diabetes, as a Type I recently diagnosed I can't believe the number of people that say "oh just take a little pill and you'll be fine" or others who may not know that there Are even two types. In my community there is little education on D since diagnosed I have had to seek out the care I need and drive over 1 hour to get my care. I use my meter in Public although at times I usually am not in restaurants, because I don't feel like they can meet my needs and get frustrated with the fact that it's more expensive to eat healthy than to supersize a burger and fries. I am using the pen needles and am looking into the pump eventually, like everyone else here I use this site as support, but most of all I depend on my faith to meet my social emotional needs. I could see where this disease could get you down and attack your mental health. I see it as my cross that I will carry forever and try to leave it in God's hands. Don't get me wrong I am very proactive in my care and will not settle for anything but what I am entitled to. Not sure if I answered your question oh and about your dad kudos to him for his health I have only had this 5 months and 50 years whoa, what a special person! Blessings.

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