Someone who knows me quite well, knows how much effort I put into each day to be healthy, asked me recently, "Do you consider yourself a brittle diabetic?" I think he could tell by my expression that a follow up would be good so he quickly responded to my empty face with, "You put so much into everything you do and still notice ups and downs with your blood sugar...would you consider that being brittle?"
Without even thinking about the definition of the word, I responded, "Yes." I guess if you are considering the old school word, I do have ups and downs against my will. I give it everything I've got every moment of every day, day after day, knowing there will never be an end to this routine unless a cure comes our way, which is a hope but not a fact. This friend is also a doctor, extremely intelligent but doesn't treat diabetes. I know he meant absolutely no disrespect to me or my disease and he didn't hurt my feelings, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that word really struck a cord with me! This happened almost a week ago and I'm still deliberating about it!
Is it because it's a description versus an official diagnosis? Like "brittle" vs. "Stage 3" kidney disease? I took it upon myself to do a brief survey, reaching out to friends who are type 1, friends who are medical providers and treat type 1 and type 2, friends who love someone with
diabetes, and people that have no connection at all to this disease (other than knowing me). Every person whether connected to diabetes or not, who had no medical background, thought the word is horrible, hurtful, no way to describe any person with diabetes. All with medical background thought nothing of it, even my friend who is type 1 and sees patients with her career, agreed that it's not a nice word but sure enough she sees some that just coast through this damned disease with no issues and consistent great Blood sugars while others, like myself, consider this beyond a full time job, in addition to working a real job and everything else I typically do in a day! Who knew? I almost wish I didn't!
I suppose it really is just semantics but I had to ask my husband the other night, "Do you consider me brittle? As in hard but liable to break or shatter easily?" He immediately went to the noun definition of peanut brittle and looked at me with immense confusion. After I explained what had been going on in my head for several days about the word and he feared saying the wrong thing in my sensitive state, he responded with this: "You bend over
backwards every day to be in control and I see it more than anyone but you...only you can answer that but to me, if you can bend that much and be in tight control, I'm pretty sure you are anything but breakable." Thanks, Eric....that is exactly the response I was hoping for, and I must admit...I think you're right!