I am Michelle, the proud coach of the Fabulous and Fit Mamas.
I do pull-ups for fun. I eat kale, and I like it. I love pre 6:00 am workouts. I am a trainer. I am a group fitness instructor. I am a mom. I am a Tough Cookie.
I am a Type 1 diabetic. I am a Type 1 Tough Cookie.
I am angry.
I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at thirty-six-years-old, shortly after my second child was born. As a wife and mom there was no time for denial, there was no time to let the diagnosis “sink in”. I had a household to run and a family to love.
Just to clarify:
No. I did not gain a lot of weight during my pregnancy.
No. I did not eat a lot of carbs and sugar.
Yes. My body stopped producing insulin.
Why? We don’t know. My pregnancy was probably the trigger.
Type 1 diabetes was lying in wait in my body for years.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease.
No. Again, eating sugar did not give me Type 1 diabetes.
I feel guilty that my husband has to be my caregiver at times.
I am determined to show my girls that obstacles are designed for triumph.
I am grateful my parents did not have to take my blood or give me shots.
It’s OK Mom and Dad. I got this.
I am in a class of Elite Tough Cookies: The children and their parents who fight this unpredictable disease with Jedi precision and Superhero grit.
Naturally, I am proud of American Girl’s decision to include Type I diabetes accessories for their dolls. The diabetic accessories represent the daily strength and courage of young diabetics. I am angry about the American Girl diabetic backlash. This event should be a celebration, not a baseless shaming.
Let’s change the dialogue: Insulin is not a substitution for a Life Tool. Insulin is a Life Line. Without insulin Type 1 diabetics die. All the jump roping and tree climbing in the world will not cure Type 1 diabetes. Do diet and exercise help manage Type 1 diabetes? Sometimes. Not every battle can be won with green smoothies and sweat. I still fight. That’s the point. Diabetes is a lifelong (sometimes thankless) fight.
Internet nonsense is no match for diabetics. Diabetes is the ultimate Mean Girl. She laughs at us during sugar lows. She nods her head in disgust during our sugar highs. She gives us the critical once-over at the marks and bruises from our Life Lines. Just like any mean girl diabetes goes after our weakness, our pancreas, our beta cells. Just like any small-minded mean girl, diabetes likes to attack for no reason, or for one that only makes sense to her.
I applaud American Girl for listening to their customers: young ladies who may rule the world one day. We have so much to learn from these brave children. Let’s change our conversations and learn from those who fight everyday.
So please, I implore you to talk about diabetes. Just know what you are talking about. In the meantime, I have Tough Cookies to raise, Fabulous Fit Mamas to coach, and pull-ups to do.