Thursday, February 10, 2011


Yesterday a few of my friends had the following posts on their facebook wall which got me thinking:
"I am asking if everyone could please put this as your status for one hour if you or someone you love has diabetes. I know my family will, my prayer is that in 2011 a cure will be found. Will you post it? Just for one hour. Do it for all of us in memory of too many to mention and in honor of all fighting it! I hope to see this on your status today."
Then, a pretty frustrating conversation with a classmate about the way people handle chronic conditions made me realize how little the medical profession actually KNOWS about living with chronic conditions. Especially invisible chronic conditions. But in all fairness, it is impossible to explain to someone what living with such a condition does to you. Sure, the disease/condition doesn't define you; but it is also naive to think that it isn't a huge part of someones identity (even if you are someone who pretends this to not be the case). I don't know what it means to be a naive 20-something with health-privilege just as they don't know my perspective; but they sure as hell shouldn't judge me or project their expectations for the appropriate way to handle it.

My diabetes and celiac define me as much as being Jewish and queer do. They are just as much my identity as where I am from, my family structure, or the time I wandered away with my my brother at age 4. My morning routine: I wake up, shower, brush my teeth, check my blood sugar, pack lunch, take insulin, eat breakfast. When I eat out? I don't eat un-kosher food nor do I eat gluten. Sure, I could live my life as if I didn't have diseases, but I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't be as healthy as I currently am or be able to invest all of this time and energy into becoming a doctor. That wouldn't be good for anyone involved...

I'm sorry if the way that I handle my life, along with all of my uniqueness, upsets you. I'm sorry if my being open about my chronic, yet invisible, conditions offends you. I'm sorry if you think I'd be better off not making them part of my identity. However, I personally think you'd be better off letting me live my life the best way I know how.


EmFish said...

I hear your frustration and send a hug from one person with chronic shit to another. That kind of unknowing insensitivity is the definition of privilege. I'd be interested to know what it was in the conversation that lead you to feel judged rather than just not deeply understood.

Sunkist Miss said...


All of the facets of your identity make you who you are. And who you are is pretty amazing. Keep it up. There are lots of people rooting for you, just as you are. And by being open about those facets, even the ones that your classmate finds challenging, you have the opportunity to inspire many of us.

LongStory said...

Best description i've read recently to help the uniformed understand.