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[IP] Re: Friends and family

Most of the time I feel pretty lucky about the way that my
family have responded to my having diabetes. The worst
is really that they're somewhat in denial, especially about
the potential for complications. They don't seem to register
what I tell them about my condition, treatment, etc. --
unless it's good ("Guess what? My last HbA1c was 6.2!
That's really good!"); then they're reassured. In a way, it
makes sense that they're in denial. After all, they don't 
have their noses rubbed in it a dozen times a day, like I
do. And I collude by not always telling them when things
are going badly. Why worry them? My husband is really
supportive in a lot of ways, but I don't even always tell him.

My mom used to ask "how is everything?" every time 
I came back from the bathroom after checking my blood 
sugar.  I finally said "You know, sometimes I go to the 
bathroom for the same reasons everyone else does, and I 
really don't like being asked how everything went!"
Especially since she really wants to be told that every-
thing is okay, whether it is or not.

But reading what others here have written makes me
grateful that they never complain about having to make
accomodations for my needs. Frankly, the idea that some
of your friends and family would complain about that just 

As for the issue of hope and expectations:

The problem with saying that "good control will prevent 
complications" is that it's shorthand for "statistically, people 
who maintain good control are more likely to avoid or
delay complications than people who don't." Statistics can't 
tell any individual what will happen to them. Statistics aren't 
promises. They're just evidence for what is *likely* to happen. 
That's really hard to accept. Most of us want some kind of 
promise that if we're "good" everything will work out okay. 
If we do everything "right" and the cards fall the wrong way, 
we're liable to feel lied to or betrayed.

I've been following this thread with a lot of interest because,
as some of you know, I'm working on a booklet for kids
with diabetes. My aim is to make the booklet as positive as
I can without denying the reality of the disease. As you know,
it's a very hard line to walk. One of the issues I'm wrestling 
with is the "will it kill me?" question. How can I deal with 
this honestly without making kids feel like giving up?

I was thinking of saying something like this (keep in mind
the intended audience of 10-14-year-olds):

Q. Will diabetes kill me?
A. Diabetes is not a "death sentence." But it is a serious disease,
and people can die from it. Usually this happens only after many
years -- and it doesn't have to happen. Keeping diabetes under 
control may help you stay healthy as you get older. Good control 
will also help you feel better right now.

This is just to set things up for a discussion of the more tech-
nical issues of checking blood sugar, keeping a log, taking
insulin, etc. Do you think this is an okay start? Is it honest
enough without being too scary?

/Janet Lafler

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