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Cult of Personality

Short & Nutra-Sweet

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 Blog Entries
The Great Debate - Mar 27
The Great Debate that I am referring to is the one about testing and injecting/pumping in public places.  Through the years I have seen various reactions to my ...
Cult of Personality - Mar 16
Anna you have set me to thinking about the connection between diabetes and personality.  I would love to hear from other T-1s out there on their views about how diabetes ...
Perfectionism - Mar 13
Perfectionism, noun; A propensity for being displeased with anything that is not perfect or does not meet extremely high standards.  American Heritage Dictionary.    ...
Spring Fever - Mar 07
March came in like a lamb here in Michigan.  In one day, most of the winter snow is gone.  Yesterday, Friday, the weather was as clear and sunny as the Great Lakes ...
A New Study - Mar 05
First I would like to say that I am thrilled with the responses to my entries on this website.  It is so easy to feel alone with Type I.  And yet, there are so ...
Posted: Mar 16, 2009 13:06
  • Cult of Personality

    Anna you have set me to thinking about the connection between diabetes and personality.  I would love to hear from other T-1s out there on their views about how diabetes has effected their personality.  I do believe there is a connection.

    For me, the first 15-20 years or so of diabetes, I spent a great deal of time and energy attempting to prove to myself and others that I could do anything that a non-diabetic could do.  As a result, I spent these years in denial of my disease and its effects.  I guess the best I can say about those years is that I survived it and in one piece.  But, how I survived it is still a mystery.

    I left home at the age of 15.  Between the ages of 15 and 20, I lived where I could, with relatives, friends or even sharing rent with other displaced teenagers.  I traveled around the US and did my fair share of hitch-hiking.  I saw and experienced life in a way that was both exciting and frightening.  And during this whole adventure, I kept up with my denial of diabetes.  Many people that knew me during this period would have laughed it you told them I was a T-1.  How much of this denial was caused by the disease itself or maybe by the era of women's liberation or by my own stubborn nature, I will most likely never know.  I do know, that as a result of these experiences, my personality was altered.

    By age 20 I earned my high school diploma and was accepted at a state univerity.  I was one of the oldest dorm dwellers that first two years and gained many lasting friendships.  I decided that since I survived to age 20 without trying, I would try the next 20 years and see what happened.  After 15-20 years as a diabetic and I was just beginning to accept that it is real.  And this acceptance did aid in my personal developement.  I graduated with a teaching degree, got married, worked in many different arenas and went back to school and received a MA in Counseling.

    So, I made it to 40, still in one piece and I thought it must be time to try even harder as a T-1 and become as healthy as I could be.  It is diffeniatly a work in progress.  It is a true balancing act to be chronically ill and not be consumed by the ilness(es).  For about the last 6 years or so, I have been traveling (mostly by train) back and forth to The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.  Mayo has added much to my health and wellbeing.  So far they have saved my eyesite (as a motorcyclist this is important as there is no such thing as a "seeing eye hog.") and they have helped me to regain awareness of blood sugar highs and lows.  I consider Mayo the "One-Stop-Shopping" experience for the chronically ill.  Where I live in Michigan, if I am to take care of all my medical needs, I would have to travel all over the state and see as many as 15 or so doctors.  But at Mayo I can do it all in one place and get the best medical care that is available.  My illness is an expensive hobby, but the end results are proving to be worth all the time and money.

    What has all this to do with diabetes and personality?  For one, I am a real character!  I am unique and different and fun and funny and deep and soulful and resiliant and resourceful and intelligent.  Can I prove that diabetes is the cause and effect?  I doubt it, but in my heart I know that I would not be who I am as a person without the experiences given to me as a result of my disease.

    Happy Trails,

    jwd T-1 since 1963


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  • By: dorisjdickson: Mar, 19, 2009 09:23 AM

    Hi JWD,

    Regarding your question about how T1 has affected patient personalities ... I would have to say my personality has affected my diabetes care.  In general, it is not the other way around.

    I am a mathematically inclined, anal, analytical person and was born that way.  I tend to be in control.  I tend to teach.  I also have a big mouth.  Diabetes did not make me that way, though a blood sugar of 55 is likely to make me less verbally inhibited.  Tough toodles!

    Since I realized a long time ago that if I did not take care of my diabetes there would be no me, my choices have normally been geared around diabetes first.  This has meant making choices such as paying for medical insurance and diabetes care costs first.  That has meant not putting myself in situations where I can not get to food, insulin, testing, or healthcare in an efficient manner (so choices not personality).  That has meant telling people I don't care if my need for food inconveniences them.  It has meant not keeping acquaintances/friends who don't feel my care is important.  That has meant not making choices such as not drinking, doing drugs or smoking. 

    Since traveling by plane has gotten increasing inconvenient (and I currently can't afford it anyway), I haven't gone out of my way to travel.  Again, if I can't easily get juice or food when I need it ...  Or, for example, since fried food causes insulin resistance I choose to avoid it.  This probably means neither of these things is all that important to me.

    My personality also enables me to do the most with a buck and to actually do it.  So ... however, I get the most out of my insurance copay I do.  I am not shy about working with a physician to get the most out of a script or telling them I'm not taking a med because it is unhealty or ridiculously expensive.  I am not shy about learning what an insurers game is and working it to get what I need. 

    I am not shy about hiring or firing physicians.  I am not shy about telling them what I want and/or need.  I am not shy about telling them that I demand a certain standard of care. After all I am the paying customer and my own best advocate.  They are not Gods and do not always make choices that are in my best interest - they may be in their best legal interest but they do nothing for my health.  And they don't always have the answers.  So my anal retentive, pushy nature is useful in finding answers EVEN if they conflict with an individual doctor or group of doctors.

    So ... has diabetes affected my personality?  Probably not.  It has affected choices I have made and likely positively affected my overall health.  But I am who I am and that was developed in the 12 years I spent as a child before diagnosis.

    Doris J. Dickson

    By: FatCatAnna: Mar, 16, 2009 16:52 PM

    Awesome post!!!!  If your shoulder ever stops you from typing out a long post - call me up - I'll come over to your house and type out your dictation!!!  I love your bit about the Mayo being your "One-Stop-Shopping" (almost sounds like Walmart <lol>).  I am wondering if up here in Canada we have such a place for diabetics to go to.  Probably it's in Toronto - where Dr. Best/Banting reside - you know the dudes who discovered our elexir of life.  I'll have to look into that - as I wouldn't mind having a place to go to for all my health issues.  I've basically been a "take care of yerself" type of gal with this disease - and just seek doctors when I need advise/help - since I don't handle the scalpel as well as they do for some of the surgeries I've had over the years.

    Psst, the bikes are hopefully coming out this week. Need a new battery for one of them (just got a crazy quote for one - so Canadian Tire will probably be where I'm heading off to later).  I'm wanting to get out there and feel the wind on my face - it may freeze in place with the cooler weather - but it'll be a smile of content. Oh - the comment on the seeing eye hog - that's a good one - I almost made my infusion set pop out from laughing so hard!!!


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