You Say Tomato, I Say To-mah-to: Being “Against” Diabetes.
I have had quite a bit of fun writing my debate posts that I’ve decided to make it an actual category on my blog called “You Say Tomato, I Say To-mah-to.” All about all the different things we discuss in the world. For the most part they will probably be diabetes-related but who knows? It could get crazy!
Last week, on DiabetesMine, Amy posted this image to illustrate the new Diabetes Advocacy Program that David and Manny have created. The image didn’t actually belong to the program, it was just something she found (I believe the image is actually part of an American Diabetes Association program but I haven’t actually verified that). Anyway, Ellen, who is pretty much Mom to the Internet and one of the pre-eminent diabetes advocates of all time (I like her, can you tell?), wrote on Twitter, “So am I the only one who doesn’t like the idea of taking a stand AGAINST diabetes? It doesn’t sound like support to me.” She linked to this post, and a great debate ensued on Twitter (this happened on Feb. 17 if you want to scroll through anyone’s archives).
I told Ellen (and others who joined in) that I was against diabetes. I certainly wasn’t for diabetes, and the logical conclusion (in my head) was that I am against it. I am against it, I said, in that I don’t like it and I don’t want anyone to have it, which is why I am working so hard to find a cure.
Ellen also tweeted, “I think there’s a difference between being against it and being up against it.”
Around this time, Kelly K – who could rival just about anyone in the “making lemonade out of lemons” department – chimed in, saying, “Im not about hating diabetes because I refuse to hate myself. I can open a magazine and do that. Do I dislike it intensely at times? Yes I do. BUt Im not going to hate anything that is a part of me.” She then linked to this blog post that she wrote about not hating diabetes. She also tweeted, “I dont want another person to be diagnosed either- trust me.I cant hate diabetes,because I dont want 2lose ownership of MY D.”
Of course, that comment immediately made me think of Mr. Scott Strumello, a staunch supporter of NOT making diabetes “your diabetes.” You can find his dissertation here.
Now, I realize I’m giving you a lot of reading material, but that’s only because I want to present first-person narratives and not my own abridged version of someone else’s words.
But the original point of the whole conversation was whether or not someone can be “against” diabetes while living with it. To this I say, yes, I am against diabetes. However, I am not against myself and this is because I am not diabetes. I am Allison, a person, not a disease. And while I may hate or be against diabetes, I do not hate people with diabetes. I do not hate that millions of people are victims of their own immune system, I do not hate millions of people who are victims of slow research, lack of funds, misdirected priorities or a faulty treatment protocol (to use Scott’s words), and I do not hate people who are victims of society, genetics, the economy or any of the other dozen “reasons” or “causes” for type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
I will say that I do not, for the most part, hate diabetes. I try to have as little emotional reaction to my diabetes as I can. When my blood sugar is high or low, I am momentarily frustrated or embarrassed, but I adapt to the situation as best as I can with the tools I am given and then I move on. Sometimes I complain as a release for frustration, but I do not dwell, I do not worry, because seriously, “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27) I know not all of you are Christian, but was Jesus right or what? Who has ever lowered their blood sugar but worrying? Not I.
What I take from being “against” diabetes is that I actively work to eradicate its existence on the planet. I understand that diabetes is a destructive presence for many people, and while I may have gleaned many positive effects in my own life, this is not the case for all people. I will also say that diabetes has had a negative impact in my life, and will continue to until it no longer exists. If I wasn’t against diabetes, then I wouldn’t care what happens. Being against diabetes is what drives my desire to find a cure. Supporting people with diabetes and their mission for greater health is what makes me so passionate against diabetes existing, because curing diabetes will help people live even healthier lives. Not that you can’t do it now, but it’s harder. Life is hard enough.
When I see the phrase “take a stand against diabetes” I do not see this as being unsupportive of the person with diabetes. I see it as supporting the person with diabetes because I am helping them by working towards a cure. Of course I support people with diabetes, and I would hope that in your actions against diabetes, you are acting in the interests of people who have it. It’s like being against cancer or AIDS. I am not unsupportive of treatments for a woman with breast cancer or the emotional struggles she has gone through, but I damn well hate the cancer she has!
Taking a stand against diabetes is not meant to convey support for people with diabetes, in my opinion, and depending on the aims of the person using that phrase, I may suggest hiring a new copywriter. Saying you are against diabetes is not necessarily the appropriate tone for all situations and I can see how that would lead to frustration or a misunderstanding. But if the aim is to cure diabetes and prevent it from ever affecting another person on this planet, then yes, I think being against diabetes is a perfectly acceptable phrase to use.
What do you think? Is saying you are against diabetes too strong?