Hi All! I saw a post on Facebook this week by a fellow DiabetesSister and I can’t seem to get it out of my head. She talked about how she posted her happiness over a successful A1C level (>7%) and someone commented similar to, “How dare you flaunt your good A1C level when there are so many who can’t achieve that level.” Like her, I was shocked at the audacity of this person. Why aren’t we ALL happy for someone who has worked hard to achieve a great A1C level? Personally, I want everyone in the world with diabetes to have A1C levels under 7%! Don’t you?? Am I missing something?? I realize that it is often difficult for people with diabetes because we seem to live and die by the number on the meter and from the A1C machine. Some people even end up basing their self-worth on the number that is displayed on the meter.
My continuous thinking about this Facebook exchange brought me to an important conclusion: Everyone goes through the stages of grief at a different pace. When you are diagnosed with diabetes, you have to grief the loss of life as you once knew it……the loss of life without shots or carb counting or blood sugar tests. I hadn’t really thought about this in a while. If you aren’t familiar with the stages of grief, here they are: 1) Denial and Isolation 2) Anger 3) Bargaining 4) Depression and 5) Acceptance. Some get stuck in the anger phase for a long time; others get stuck in the denial/isolation phase for a long time. What struck me in thinking about this is that four of the five stages are pretty negative. With there being so many people in the world with diabetes and five stages of grief for each person to go through, let’s face it….it is a great accomplishment to reach the stage of Acceptance! Since only 1 of the 5 stages is positive and Acceptance is quite difficult to achieve, that leaves a lot of room for negativity. Think about the other people you know who are living with diabetes….it will probably be fairly easy to tell what stage of grief they are in based on things they say about their diabetes and the things they do to manage their diabetes.
My point in bringing this up is not to degrade anyone or make anyone feel bad, but rather to bring awareness to an issue (negativity among fellow people with diabetes) that plagues the diabetes community. Here at DiabetesSisters we pride ourselves on accepting any woman with diabetes into the Sisterhood regardless of age, type of diabetes, or even stage of grief. I am proud of the wise and humble ladies of the sisterhood and the ways I have witnessed them reach out to those who are in various stages of grief. In fact, I just spoke to one DiabetesSister today (Laura Watson) who was sharing the ways she had recently reached out to one woman who was in the denial phase another who was in the Depression phase and another who was in the Anger phase. (Although she did not state this in the conversation, their stages are obvious when thinking about her descriptions she provided.) She had invested her time in them and invited each of the women to be a part of the Sisterhood. Her genuine concern for her fellow “lost” Sisters was very touching. This week…I challenge you to post a POSITIVE, uplifting comment to another Sister with diabetes…Even if you’re not in the Acceptance stage yet, it never hurts to compliment someone else AND thinking positively about diabetes may get you a little bit closer to Acceptance if you’re not there yet! You can post comments on any of the Blogs (Type 1, Type 2, Student, Pregnancy or this blog) or you can post a commment on the Women's Forum.