I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes two days before Thanksgiving in 1988, when I was in third grade. I was the only person in my school who had it.
Most people’s reaction was, “Oh, so you cant do _______.” Fill in the blank with anything and everything. 22 years later, I am still surprised when someone says “Are you sure you should have salt on your fries?” or “You can’t have that!”
Broken Pancreas was created to show everyone who doubts it that people with diabetes can do anything and everything someone without diabetes can.
When I was diagnosed and was still in the hospital, my new endocrinologist, Dr. Starkman, said “Ken, you can do anything you want in your life except skydive or scuba dive.” My eight-year-old brain could not figure out why diabetes would stop me from doing those things. He continued with, “Those are the two things I wouldn’t do, so I don’t recommend them to anyone else.” Since then I have been both skydiving and scuba diving.
When people tell me something completely ridiculous about diabetes I try to educate them a little.
The inevitable question always comes up, “So what is diabetes?” I explain, like I did in third grade, “Well, I have a Broken Pancreas. Let me clarify: just part of it doesn’t work. It doesn’t regulate the glucose levels in my blood, so I have to intervene with the help of Insulin.”
It is time to change misconceptions and educate the world about what having diabetes means—and what it doesn’t.