I spent some time Sunday hanging out with a local Girl Scout troop that my friend leads. Some time ago she asked if I would be willing to come and talk about diabetes with them.
“I’ll talk diabetes with anyone – let’s do it”, I told her.
So I jumped into it with both feet. It was exciting and terrifying all at the same time. There’s something so amazing about watching young minds at work. It’s also scary, in that it doesn’t take much of a misstep for them to write you off and shut down.
This particular group of young ladies asked some incredible questions. I was so impressed at their curiosity about diabetes. I guess it makes sense, in that you hear about it almost everywhere. Many of them have friends and family members that live with diabetes, and the girls exposure to them came through in their questions.
Some of these young ladies have seen glucose meters, insulin pumps, and even CGM’s! We talked a lot about why diabetes happens (answer: we don’t know), what diabetes is all about (answer: managing blood sugar levels), why lows and highs are bad (answer: quick death, slow death – in, um, kid friendly terms (?)), and a lot about the social stigmas around diabetes.
Those social stigmas were one of the main points that my friend and I wanted to convey. That nobody living with diabetes “did it to themselves”, and that it’s unfair to judge a person’s lifestyle or health based on their diabetes alone. There’s a LOT more to diabetes than we think, and for those with type 2 there is so much more than weight. Otherwise EVERY person who is overweight would have diabetes! We don’t see that. There is more to it, and the last thing these young ladies need to be worried about is their body image and weight because of diabetes. We talked a lot about balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
All in all, it was an amazing experience for me.
I hope that I made a little bit of difference to the group (and the parents there).