Sunday, November 11, 2007

"Of All The Things..."

"Of all the things I ever worried about happening to you, well... I just KNEW diabetes was not one of them."

My mom said it to me again today. She has probably uttered those exact words 25 times or more since I was diagnosed. I'm sure she will say them many more times in the future.

Today those words were sparked by a conversation we have every year.
"What are you bringing to Thanksgiving Dinner this year?"
"I'm not sure...probably my beloved cheesecake, or some kind of dessert", I said.

Every year the family travels out of town to have the holiday with the rest of my family. My Aunt, cousins and their kids are all in attendance. It's been tradition since my grandparents were alive, and we still continue it.
I asked mom what she was cooking, and she answered," I don't know, what can you eat? Aunt V also wants to know if she needs to prepare something special. Do you really think you should bring a dessert? You can't even eat that, can you?"

I was speechless, but not because I was angry or mad. This disease has had a huge impact on my mom as well as me, but I became aware that this holiday will be different. Maybe not bad, but different. Everyone knows. Will they stare? Will they ask questions? Will they pretend they don't know?

When things happen in families, there are always whispered words behind closed doors. I know, because I usually hear about them when they are about me. "Mandy looks too thin, is she eating well? etc..." This time words have taken a weird turn.

I should start out by saying, my mom's denial has actually been much greater than mine. "We just don't have any of that in our family. You're not a kid...that only happens to kids. I've NEVER heard of anyone who takes insulin having to take more than one shot a day. You have always eaten too much candy" She is by definition that ignorant/large part of the population who just doesn't know about the disease. I was like that too, BEFORE. She, for awhile, had me truly questioning my DX. She had me thinking I was a type 2, regardless of my weight, lifestyle or test results.

My Aunt has apparently joined that type 2 bandwagon. "She can't have type 1, surely she can just cut back on her sugar intake." And her best quote (with good intentions I'm sure), "Is insulin really necessary? Don't you think that might be taking it a bit too far. It can't be that serious. She just needs to eat more protein." This was not long after I was released from the hospital after more than a weeks stay.

I love them both, and I know they mean well. After today's conversation, I don't know that I feel comfortable around them anymore, especially at a holiday like Thanksgiving where it's all about the food. Diabetes had not actually crossed my mind in reference to family and the holiday season until my mom brought up making special provisions for me. Now it is filling me with trepidation.

Singled out. Embarrassed. Now, not quite sure what to expect.
"Of All The Things..."

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