There is a question/joke we tell in our family when we talk about lousy choices, which immediately came to mind when asked what other chronic health condition I would take on in place of my Type 1 diabetes.
Don’t ever ask a four-year-old:
“Do you want an ice cream cone or to never see your parents again?”
Because, well… mmmm….ice cream.
Today’s prompt for Diabetes Blog Week 2013 is such a loaded question and I’m not a four-year-old (at least not chronologically): If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes?
A chronic illness is defined as a debilitating medical condition that can interfere with an individual’s way of living a normal life brought about by different symptoms and effects lasting for longer than a short period of time. There are no shortage of them and they run the gamut from “I can probably live with that without too much of an issue” to “Get the bucket list out and start checking stuff off”. Some are transmitted, others are non-communicable. Doesn’t really matter how you get one. Once you’ve got it, you’re stuck with it.
I quickly put whole categories of chronic illnesses to the side:
- Does it cause physical pain? (Colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.) Off the list.
- Does it mess with the nervous system? (Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, etc.) No way.
- Does it impact breathing? (I’m scared of not being able to breathe, along with spiders and being stuck in an elevator listening to Zamfir. COPD, Asthma, etc.) Move along.
Doesn’t leave much for me to choose from. And I’ll just steer clear from the organ failure and cancers and HIV/AIDS avenues, thank you.
But here’s where the four-year-old ice cream cone question comes into this. I wouldn’t trade my disease. (I’d like to have it cured, but not traded.) I can control my diabetes. I’m in charge. If I want to run high all the time and run the risk of complications, it’s my choice. Yes, there are serious issues to deal with on a daily basis and it’s not a disease I would wish on anyone. But…I have three cousins who have MS (we are the auto-immune disorder family in a big way). They don’t have a choice in how they feel from one day to the next. I have known peers who had Huntington’s and aplastic anemia who were taken early from this life without an opportunity to fight. I’ve seen the other options.
So, if I had a choice of an ice cream cone or to never see my parents again (diabetes or another chronic illness), I’ll pass. *
There’s a part two to this prompt today: And while we’re considering other chronic conditions, do you think your participation in the DOC has affected how you treat friends and acquaintances with other medical conditions?
Nope, it hasn’t. My heart breaks the same for all medical conditions. My voice is available for all my friends and acquaintances with other conditions. I donate to other medical condition causes, because I know how much it means to want a cure.
*So, if forced to choose a chronic illness to switch, it would be periodontal disease. (Yes, it’s a chronic illness. Says so on the Internet and you know how the Internet never lies.) The pics are kind of gross, but if you keep up a regimen of proper oral hygiene and dental appointments, then you can keep most of the bone/tooth loss at bay. (Of course, you know that diabetes are very prone to having this already, which I do. I have already had the deep scale cleanings for periodontal disease, so I know I could handle it. Now, can I have my ice cream cone?)