Yesterday, I wrote about a Facebook post that I came across which I felt was powerful and showed the value of social media and support. I shared that post here.
And yet, with one hand, Facebook giveth; and the other it taketh away.
Because then I came across an article about diabetes that make my blood boil. I clicked on the link (which I reluctantly share here) as I stood waiting to board my flight to Brisbane and actually said ‘Oh, for f*ck’s sake’ out loud, impressing the guy in front of me and earning me a dirty look from the woman standing next to me.
The article is actually from the beginning of the year, however, thankfully, I have somehow managed to avoid it for the last 10 months. But yesterday, there it was. Sprouting misinformation about the health condition I live, most reluctantly, alongside.
I only have myself to blame. What did I expect reading the Daily Mail? Certainly not anything resembling decent journalism. And certainly not something based in fact.
The title of the article was the first thing that had me scoffing: ‘I’m scared to go to sleep’: Mother’s 24/7 struggle to keep her daughter alive as they battle form of diabetes that could kill the 15 year-old in minutes.’ (Emphasis all mine.)
Now I am the first person to say that I certainly don’t know everything about diabetes. I’ve never ever claimed to, but I am pretty sure that there is no form of diabetes that can kill someone in 15 minutes. And yet, according to the article, Grace, the fifteen year old in the article, ‘could die within minutes without insulin injections.’
Again, I am no expert. But I know that fifteen minutes without insulin isn’t going to kill me. Or anyone. Even if I ate a whole pavlova washed down with a bottle of full-strength Coke.
But there was the Daily Mail claiming that death would eventuate if there was a quarter of an hour delay in insulin administration. (This bodes most poorly for me and my ‘shit-I-forgot-to-bolus’ days that seem to plague me when there is something more interesting than pinging insulin into my body.)
Apparently, this form of diabetes was caused when …’the disease caused her immune system to eat her own pancreas…’
I understand the need to use language that makes sense to people when it comes to describing what diabetes is all about. But suggesting that diabetes causes our body to ‘eat’ vital organs is the stuff of horror movies, not autoimmune conditions. Surely, the general public can understand the explanation that ‘type 1 diabetes means the pancreas is no longer able to produce insulin’, or something similar that doesn’t suggest some sort of extraterrestrial being has moved in and is feasting on our insides.
I find articles like this frustrating on a number of levels. It is such a melodramatic and false description of type 1 diabetes that it amazes me that anyone could consider this enlightening or educational in any way whatsoever.
This is a perfect example of misreporting of type 1 diabetes, but the voices of OUTRAGE that accompany the potential confusion of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, or the ‘people don’t understand what it is like’ are missing here, instead many are saying that it is a good representation of what it’s really like. And this confuses me greatly.
Because all I see us an article with a lot of incorrect information.
How anyone could consider this article as anything other than disempowering, stigmatising and downright damaging to those of us living with diabetes is beyond me.