Monday, December 29, 2008

Nicole Johnson, Former Miss America and Diabetes Advocate

I normally don't like berating individuals. But, I was at my parents and my mom was showing me this brochure from TCOYD (Taking Control of Your Diabetes). They were going to have a big shindig in Amarillo this year and she thought I might be interested. I was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes so long ago I don't remember the date, but I think it was January, 1980.

The big "whoopee" picture in the middle was of Nicole Johnson's luncheon. You can actually see the brochure here. Let me talk about the good stuff first.

Nicole has taken a lemon and made lemonade. She's written books and she speaks at these conferences to educate people on living with diabetes. More power to her. I got the picture from her website.

But this write up in the brochure irritates the heck out of me. Maybe the writers of the brochure snuck this stuff in without letting her read it. Or perhaps as well as having diabetes she also has drama queen syndrome (DQS).

It starts like this:
Nicole Johnson was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1993. A sophomore in college at the time, she was told she would never have a career, be a mother, or continue with her blossoming interest in pageants.

Now, I was diagnosed in 1980, she was diagnosed in 1993. I was 11, she was 19. No one ever told me never. What the heck? When I was 11 I wanted to be an astronaut. They told me that was unlikely, because the military doesn't accept diabetics, but they expected it to be cured soon. After I talked to the doctors for a while I started reading (they didn't have easily accessible Internet back in 1980). But, I read about how the pancreas works, what they think causes diabetes, how I was going to have to eat differently, how to count meal exchanges, what happens when you get too much insulin, what happens when you get too little and how I can expect to live a normal healthy life.

Never have a career? Get over yourself. I mean really. Never be a mother? It's true that pregnancy causes strain on the kidneys and diabetics have to be careful of things like that. But, who would tell someone that? You can adopt. And I'm sure with the right care and modern science, it's not as big as risk as it once was. Not be in pageants? You must be joking. Is she just fear mongering to sell tickets? Or did she leave out some important details? The wording implies that it's because she has diabetes. If I had read this kind of crap when I was diagnosed, I would have harpooned someone.

I'm sure she hopes millions of children diagnosed with Type I Diabetes will read her new book, "Living With Diabetes", but I hope they read my blog first. Maybe since she's so happy to write and share with the world she should interview and write a book about someone that is almost 92 years old and was diagnosed when they were 9. They'd probably have a happier outlook and have some really useful tips.

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