Type 2 Diabetes & The DOC

The Diabetes Online Community (DOC) was an intimidating place. I am no diabetes expert, which made it daunting to launch into a public conversation among the “real” diabetics out there. You know, the diabetics who have insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors. The diabetics who take shots and who use complicated math to manage their condition. The diabetics who have blogs, and followers who read their blogs, and who comment on their posts.

Taking a leap into the DOC as a type 2 diabetic required a couple of years of climbing over juvenile-like apprehension. Why? Because stereotypes shape opinions, and opinions inform actions (and inactions). Sometimes it is not worth the effort.

I generally don’t care what other people think of me, but with diabetes it is different. Diabetes is personal. I often wonder why I don’t remain in my cave like the majority of type 2 diabetics. It’s safe in there, and it’s warm. I too could wrap myself tightly in a comforting blanket of silence.

Type 2s In The DOC

Despite my stupid reservations, the DOC has been kind. Very kind! I still occasionally imagine an apprehension from others, but it is never hostile. At worst, I feel like the out-of-state second-cousin who comes to the family reunion every few years. I don’t dress like them, I don’t talk like them, and I never quite get the inside jokes about Uncle Mike. But, we are related.

There are wonderful type 1 diabetics and advocates in the DOC who are genuinely interested in understanding type 2 diabetes. And, there are still diabetics who believe the stereotypes for a different, but related condition they don’t understand. I recently read this great post on Diabetes Daily that articulates the diabetic-to-diabetic stereotype. When it becomes personal, it becomes real.

More people are becoming interested in learning about the type 2 experience. Unfortunately, there are few voices to be found.

Where Are All The Type 2s?

Until more type 2 diabetics decide to engage in the conversation, our condition will remain a massively misinformed stereotype. I strive to do my part, yet every few months I nearly convince myself to unplug this blog, delete my Twitter account, and to crawl into my quiet type 2 diabetes cave.

Just when I am ready to flip off the switch, someone reaches out and asks about the type 2 experience, and I continue to pound on my keyboard. They convince me that the rare voice of a type 2 diabetic is important, and I again grasp onto a glimmer of hope that we can begin a public dialogue about the condition.

Most of the time my experience is poorly lighted and quiet. I’m okay writing in this muted space, but inevitably I will try again to convince myself to unplug from the whole thing.

This is just another diabetes story. I am tired of thinking about this one, and sure would like to start hearing the stories of others.

3 thoughts on “Type 2 Diabetes & The DOC

  1. I, for one, truly hope you never pull the plug and retreat into the cave, because you are helping me do just that… I don’t run, but I do walk. This year will be my 5th half marathon walk in as many years. I think I was diagnosed after my second one, and I was completely terrified. So was my husband, who tried to talk me out of my marathon that year because he was scared of what might happen. I found the information overwhelming, and at times felt like even as a diabetic I was the oddball because I have T2… A lot of what I read was geared to T1, and I did see some of the “they brought it in themselves, you know” type of attitude towards T2. I spent the better part of the last year or so in between anger and denial. I take my metformin every day, but I don’t pay near enough to attention to my diet, especially when I get stressed. And the thought that this is progressive makes me want to just give up some days. But then I find people like you who actually understand me and what I am going through, and it gives me hope.

    1. MissReena,

      Congratulations on your half marathons! Whether you walk them or run them, it takes real commitment to get ready for them.

      I’m always happy to hear when my experience helps others to put diabetes into context. I’m also still surprised by how frustrating it can be, and how difficult it is for type 2s to learn from each other.

      Thanks for pulling me out of my five months of cave dwelling!

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