Monday, December 3, 2012

Apples and Oranges

I got to know Kate of Sweet Success during the second Diabetes Blog Week.  I felt like we hit it off right from the start and she was one of my Find a Friends during this year’s DBlog Week.  Even thought we were “just on-line friends”, I’ve always felt very close to Kate.  It makes me so so happy when I have the opportunity to meet an on-line friend in person, and Kate has been high on my list of people I still really needed to meet.  I’m in Connecticut and she’s in Arizona, but I always believed we would somehow meet some day and I always told Kate it would happen.  So when she told me she was coming to Connecticut to participate in a panel, I didn’t think twice about letting her know I would drive up to meet her.  We worked out our plans and on Thursday I drove up to her hotel so we could have dinner!

Yay, me and Kate in her hotel lobby!!

I knew I’d be writing a post about the wonderful time we had.  I thought it would be all about  how the on-line friendships we are making in the DOC are real friendships that transcend the boundaries and borders of the internet.  But, of course, that’s been said so many times by so many others (and probably by me as well), so it’s hardly news to anyone.  And then I read Kate’s post about our meet-up, and as I sat there with tears in my eyes I knew exactly what I wanted to write about.  Kate talked about how although Type 1 and Type 2 are both diabetes, with so many of the same issues and treatments, they are also very different in some ways.  I agree and spending time with Kate gave me an even better understanding of this fact.

But do you know what?  I was shaking my head in bewilderment when Kate wrote that she felt like I have a lot more to do to handle T1 than she does for T2.  Because honestly, as we talked Thursday night I couldn’t help but feel how much easier I have things than Kate does.  She told me about her long flight the day before, which happened AFTER a three hour drive to the airport.  And how when she finally arrived at her hotel she was greeted with a high blood sugar.  So what did she do?  She did what she had to - she went down to the fitness center and walked on the treadmill.  I was so impressed - understanding how exhausted she must have been and knowing that when faced with the same situation I would just press the buttons on my pump for a correction bolus and go to sleep.

At dinner we both chose some tasty salads.  I used my phone to look up the carb count for my salad and was taken aback to find it supposedly had 51 grams.  No croutons, no starchy vegetables besides a few carrot shreds, no bread sticks served with it - restaurant dressing aside 51 grams still seemed high to me.  I casually told Kate I’d under bolus quite a bit since I had an hour’s drive home alone and didn’t want to go low.  I said I’d rather end up higher for my drive than lower, and if needed I’d correct back down when I got home.  What I didn’t tell Kate was that I was secretly wondering how many carbs were in her salad, and what it would do to her blood sugar.  I felt guilty that I could correct a high down fairly easily, while she might have to force herself into another late night workout.  Who had it harder that night?  In my opinion, Kate did, hands down!!

Type 1 and Type 2 are both diabetes.  It’s not a contest as to who has it easy - nobody does, T1 and T2 are both hard.  We walk similar paths and deal with similar issues.  But I agree with Kate when she said comparing us is like comparing apples to oranges.  Yes, I’m taking over 100% for my pancreas, while Kate is an executive assistant for hers. She can’t imagine testing 4 times in as many hours like I did on Thursday (although I usually don’t test THAT often, there were a bunch of extenuating factors in play).  I can’t imagine trying to manage on one test strip a day and using diet and exercise as my main treatment options.  Perhaps the grass is always greener on the other side?  Frankly, I don’t think so.  I think the grass is pretty well-worn on both sides of the diabetes fence.

Kate, thank you so much for the lovely post you wrote and the lovely visit we shared.  Thank you so much for the kind words about what I and other T1s do to stay healthy.  And to you and everyone living with Type 2 - I salute you.  I understand a little better the road you walk and the work you do and the struggles you face.  You are all inspiring to me and I admire all of the hard work YOU do to stay healthy.


  1. "I think the grass is pretty well-worn on both sides of the diabetes fence".

    I love that line. And I love Kate!

  2. Karen, I couldn't agree more. I have an in-law recently diagnosed with Type 2, and she thought the same thing about us Type 1s. I think the factor for her was a big fear of "needing insulin", which we all need anyway.

    Anyway, your post is very deja-vuish for me in that regard. Glad you had a good meeting.

  3. I wish I could give you both a huge ginormous hug right now!

  4. Now see what you went and did? You made me cry. :) I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this. I can say without reservation that anyone dealing with diabetes is a rock star in my book. Great post Karen, and thank you!

  5. What a wonderful meet-up! Loved reading about it.

  6. Isn't it funny how differently we look at diabetes? I agree with you. I've often thought we have it easier that most T2s. :) But they both are difficult to live with and can take over your life in so many unfun ways.
    But the fun part? Meeting other people with d. :)

  7. Great perspectives from both of you!

    I agree with Kim - "I think the grass is pretty well-worn on both sides of the diabetes fence" - that's it right there.

  8. When I was in elementary school in Iowa I had a classmate who had recently moved from Georgia. This was not long after a catastrophic hurricane in the Southeast, and I told how scary I found the idea of living through a hurricane as she had. For her, this was no big thing: she was terrified of the tornadoes that aren't uncommon in Iowa. Familiarity brings a certain amount of comfort or something, I guess, even when it bites.

  9. Now I'm curious, did you end up high or were you right to doubt the 51 carb count on the salad?

    1. Excellent questions. We had been walking before dinner, so I bolused for 40 grams but also ate some bread. I was 136 when I started my drive home. I was fine for the drive, but I did need to treat a low after I got home. So yeah, the 51 gram carb count was wrong.

  10. I'm so glad you guys got to meet each other! I'm hoping to meet Kate someday, and can't wait to see you and P again.

    I also love that line about the grass being worn.

  11. I love this post! It really brings light to the similarities and differences between types 1&2. But even more so, it was nice to hear about another DOC friendship made!

    As far as 51g of carbs for a salad, yikes! I'm not sure what was in that thing, but it seems wrong. I'm glad you didn't bolus for the whole thing!


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