Definition of "worse":
comparative of bad or of ill
1: of more inferior quality, value, or condition
2a : more unfavorable, difficult, unpleasant, or painful
b : more faulty, unsuitable, or incorrect
c : less skillful or efficient
3: bad, evil, or corrupt in a greater degree : more reprehensible
4: being in poorer health : sicker
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If this would have happened years ago, I might have agreed with her. I might have said, "Yes, it is. It's so much worse." I would have said that because I was naive.
I have this friend at work; we've known each other for four years now. She knows I have type 1 diabetes, and though I've tried to explain the gist of what that means (and why it's different than "the diabetes two" that her uncle has), I can always feel that she's still not quite certain. She tries, though - she does. She understands when I have to turn down the offer of going for a smoothie mid-afternoon, or when I decide to stay at my desk instead of going for a quick walk. She's aware that I wear a pump and a CGM. She knows about my second life as a diabetes advocate, and where I'm going when I take a few days off of work. (My work situation is weird. Even my boss didn't know I went to Florida two weeks ago, but that's mostly because he didn't ask.)
There have been a few times where she's caught me off-guard, because it turns out she was actually listening as I babbled on about All Things Diabetes. Then again, she sometimes jumbles up the logic, too. It's a mixed bag.
Earlier this week, she told me that she had been talking with - well, I actually can't remember now. With someone who had people with diabetes in their family. "You know what they told me, and I was going to ask you about?", she said. "They told me that diabetes one (I've tried to correct her phrasing here many times, to no avail) is a lot worse than two. Is that right?"
Years ago, when I had so little knowledge of what type 2 diabetes actually was (and I'm still very much learning, btw), I can assure you I would have agreed with her. I would have agreed because like so many other people who don't take the time to learn about something before they form an opinion about it, I had assumptions: that type 2 only happened to overweight people; that type 2 was something to be blamed for developing; that those people "had a choice", where I had not.
In short, I was an idiot.
The diabetes online community, and the storytellers within it who share their lives with type 2 diabetes, have helped me understand the other 95%. It's not a matter or better or worse - it's just different. One is metabolic; one is autoimmune. One has a rapid onset; one creeps up on you like a cruel fog. Type 2 can appear in young, healthy, athletic adults and children - and it isn't always someone's fault.
As much as the two types may be different, they are also so much the same. No matter your "type", the list of possible complications read the same. We all require lifestyle changes after diagnosis. We all have to check our blood sugars. We all deal with the emotional impact of our diseases; the sterotypes; the marathon of self-care.
When you look at the true definition of "worse", it's not as easy to attribute that word to one side or the other. No type of diabetes is "the good kind". I continue to learn that diabetes, in any form, is a hard-fought battle with odds that are rarely in one's favor. No one asks for this.
When my friend asked me that question, I had to pause for a second.
"No, not really. They're both worse."