Tuesday, November 30, 2010


When I was diagnosed in 1992, I had just turned 9. My birthday had been the week before, and my mom had purchased me rodeo tickets to go see Billy Ray Cyrus at the Houston Astrodome (swoooooon). To this day, I blame my diagnosis on the mullet king. Well..not really...but kind of. One of the first things that entered my young mind when I learned of my diagnosis was "Am I going to die like Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias????". My mom quickly assured me that I would, in fact, not die like poor Shelby in the movie (she dies from a failed kidney transplant). But something about this movie has always stuck with me, and many other women i my age bracket. It also set the bar very low as far as putting out correct information to the general public regarding type 1 women procreating. I wish I had a dime for every ignorant person that asked me if having my sons would ruin my kidneys like poor Julia Roberts. Or being asked " I thought type 1s weren't supposed to have babies??", or my personal fave, "Is your baby going to be fat because of your diabetes??". First of all, its non of your effing business....my uterus, my life, butt out. Most people would never dream of asking "normal" pregnant women personal questions about their health status, so why has our society deemed it OK to ask women with diabetes??

Susan Harling Robinson, the woman Shelby's character was based on, was a wonderful pediatric nurse, and her brother, Robert wrote Steel Magnolias as a play in celebration of his sister's life. She also lived with type 1 in a time where only animal insulins were available, home glucose testing was not the norm, and little research had been done regarding type 1 and pregnancy. While the movie portrays his sister in a beautiful light, it also does little for type 1 diabetes awareness and communicating accurate information.

Today, women have technology, education and designer insulins at their disposal. Diabetes related complications, both for the baby and the mother, have been closely linked to hyperglycemia. In a time where analog insulins, insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors are the norm, we are seeing a sharp drop in children being born with congenital abnormalities and complications due to the mother's diabetes. I hate to brag (But SOOOO am), I kept my A1cs in the high 4s-low 5s, and my children are free of any complications from my disease management (their weird quirks are being blamed on their father's genes).

Nothing makes me more sad or hot headed than to meet someone who blatantly does not give a shit about their glucose control, when really, its the unborn baby that suffers :( I have followed many of my type 1 patients (now also very good friends of mine) through their pregnancies, and its tough cookies! But holding a little bundle of perfection in the end is worth every time I cursed at my endocrinologist :)

A special shout out to my lovely, amazing, and wonderful friends that went through infertility and IVF on top of their 'betes. I couldn't have made it through anything without you guys, and I love you more than you will ever know!!! www.IVFconnections.com was our saving grace!

So if you are planning on getting knocked up, do me a favor, meet with your endo and make sure your glucose control is where it needs to be. Or I will hunt you down. Not really...but yes, 'll hurt you...just kidding...no, seriously.


  1. Somehow I missed this post. The first thing MY mother said to me when I was diagnosed was, "Are you not going to be able to have babies like poor Julia Roberts in that movie?" We saw Steel Magnolias together. (I've never seen a more horrifying portrayal of a low blood sugar event.) We both sat there bawling our eyes out, and I wasn't even diagnosed then. The first three questions I asked my nurse when I was diagnosed, "Can I still run? Can I have babies? Will I die like poor Julia Roberts?"

    As for havin' babies, yes, it's a hard road to motherhood; maintaining good sugars, lots of appointments, but so worth it when you see that baby's face for the first time. As I fellow IVFer I loves you back.

  2. The point you make about how Steel Magnolia was made to portray "a different time" is essential. That was a different time, and up until the late 80s and even early 90s (after the DCCT was completed) that mentality of "you shouldn't have kids" was the common theme medical professionals told Type 1 patients. My own mom, diagnosed in 58, was told that and she went against it - successfully. But that's what they were told, and it's not inaccurate to say the child-birth in Steel Magnolia led to Shelby's death - it did in causing her kidneys to fail and therefore where she ended up. Her body couldn't take it. Times are much different, and it's common knowledge and mainstream that women with Type 1 can have successful pregnancies. That old school thought still exists, but it's much less common these days. The reaction scene is one of the most vivid images out there of what it can be like, and that is how it's played out in my own life (beauty parlor setting aside), although many haven't endured that kind of Low experience. Thankfully. Still, I wouldn't say it's an inaccurate portrayal - just applied to some, not all. And nowadays, it's pretty much outdated with all the progress we've made in the D-World.