Figuring out the key

Holiday celebrations mean time with extended family that we only see a few times a year for many of us. This past weekend was no different for me. My brother married into a large but close extended family, so for the past ten or so years we have spent most holidays with them.

4 year old Darth skills
Another member of the extended family is diabetic (Type 2) and has been for about as long as I have known him. Like I said, that’s been about 10 years. Having another diabetic ‘in the house’ has been great for my diet soda supply and low carb food options at family functions.
burgers on the grill
This year, there were a few new people at the party, as there had been a recent marriage. As we socialized over appetizers, the topic turned to diabetes as I got my pump out to account for the chips and dip. There was a brief debate on the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 and if a Type 2 becomes a Type 1 if they begin to take insulin (NO!) but that is not what this post is about.
As I was explaining the different between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes I ended up using the tried-and-true analogy of insulin as the key that unlocks the cell door to let the glucose in for energy. It’s a very basic explanation and one I first heard that analogy while lying in my hospital bed the day after my diagnosis.
I told him that my body doesn’t have any keys left and his keys are rusty or just don’t fit into the locks very well. The medicine I take is ‘keys’ and the medicine he takes is… and at this point he interrupts me and says ‘WD-40’. 🙂
Close enough!
boys + fire
What he said next really surprised me. He thanked me for explaining the basics of diabetes to him and said that was the first time anyone had done that since his diagnosis.
I know it shouldn’t but this just boggles my mind. How can someone have quality medical coverage and decent access to doctors – as I know he does – and in 10 years have never had anyone explain the basics of your disease to you?!


  • It is just not right. How can you manage it without knowing the basics of what has malfunctioned? There should be a standard of care that upon diagnosis of any type of diabetes, that there’s a basic physiology lesson (to parents if a child is too young, of course) – what happens in a “normal” body vs what happens in a body with diabetes – explaining the differences between T1 and T2 along the way.

    Not everyone is curious enough to ASK, but should we have to ASK? No.

  • It’s so common! So many T2’s just see their GP and never get educated. It’s so scary. And since T2s are a majority of the D population, it makes it that much harder to educate people about diabetes.

  • If it wasn’t for the internet, I would not have had much help. Most MD’s just don’t have the knowledge necessary to explain diabetes other than the diagnosis. They don’t have the people skills, or won’t work with the other specialists to do what is necessary to assist the newly diagnosed. Very few understand the nutrition side and other than what they learn from the high pressure salespeople, don’t often know what to prescribe. Just my take!

  • Thanks for the feedback guys! Like I said in my post “I know it shouldn’t” but I am so surprised how little care/information people get – even with great insurance!

    I was talking to the CDE at my endo’s office and she was saying that they don’t let her do everything she can (she was inserting an iPro for me).

    There has to be a better way!!

  • I have a large extended family… while also includes a lot of T2 (diabetic genes -_- ) … and a lot of them had d for prob about 10-20 years… and some of them really know nuts about the basics of diabetes… to a lot of them… its just take meds… don’t take sweets and i’m all good… sigh…

    this shouldn’t be the case!!

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