I Have Diabetes

The True Life  episode I choose to watch was “I Have Diabetes.” This episode followed around three people suffering from diabetes all with different lifestyles. Kristyn is a female who works eighty hours a week trying to get out of debt and be able to buy a new insulin pump. Matt is in his sophomore year of college not letting his diabetes hold him back from the ultimate college experience. Jen is nineteen years old and pregnant risking her babies well being with her poor health habits. I believe that there are many different types of narratives that were documented in this episode.

Matt’s main concern is risking his life experiences in return for good health, similar to chaos narrative. Chaos narrative includes social suffering and frustration. Towards the end of the episode he tries to change his ways and go a night out with his friends and not drink. After falling into peer pressure he begins to drink heavily making up for lost time. I understand that Matt wants to have a normal college experience but he mentioned he drinks 4-5 times a week. It is easy to have an unforgettable college experience without putting your life in danger almost nightly.

Jen loves eating fast food and cannot seem to break this habit. Quest narrative gives you the opportunity to improve yourself, which is crucial for the health of her baby. Once the baby is born she vows to improve her life so she can provide the best life for her son. However, she is greeted at the hospital doors on her way out with McDonald’s chicken nuggets.

Kristyn is dealing with her diabetes to the best of her ability just suffering with financial issues.

I think the illness narrative allows the people suffering from their disease, their families, and their friends to better understand what they are going through and how they can help them. One of the listeners (family members and friends) jobs is to set an example on how to live with the illness. Jen and Matt surrounded themselves with people who encouraged bad eating and drinking habits. The person suffering from the illness is supposed to adjust to their disease and take part in a new lifestyle.

Karim, Taz. “Lecture 4.1 Experiencing Illness”.  Michigan State University, 13:50.  http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp204-us14/week-4-lecture-1/

Karim, Taz. “Lecture 4.2 Narrative Illnesses”.  Michigan State University,8:55 . http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp204-us14/week-4-lecture-2/

MTV. “True Life: I Have Diabetes”. MTV, 40:27. Jan 20, 2012.http://www.mtv.com/shows/truelife/true-life-i-have-diabetes/1677596/playlist/#id=1677596


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Mary Normand says:

    I chose to comment on Danielle’s post “I Have Diabetes,” because I find Type 1 diabetes to be a very interesting illness for a young person to live with. I watched a video on a young girl named Dominique living with Type 1 Diabetes. Dominique is using an experimental drug for people who have just began suffering from Type 1 diabetes to try to combat her diabetes. Dominique’s story is very different from the stories you talked about in your post from the True Life episode. Dominique is a busy girl who sometimes is not perfect at checking her blood glucose and eating, but she is trying very hard because she is hopeful that this experimental drug will work. Since she has not had diabetes for very long, Dominique seems to be frustrated with the amount of needles she has to use and is not quite used to having this disease. Although she is not quite used to it, she is not putting herself in danger like the people in the True Life episode you watched.
    I think culture and family influenced the people in the True Life episode you watched because they were in denial they were sick and they just wanted to be normal kids. Dominique has accepted that she isn’t normal although she is very frustrated with diabetes. Although her diabetes isn’t as serious as it will be, I feel she has more support than the people in the True Life episode does. She is not being greeted by chicken nuggets or being peer pressured to drink, she is being put in experimental drug therapies.

    Bracken, Kassie. “Living With: Type 1 Diabetes.” New York Times. Accessed July 27, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/video/health/1194832631064/living-with-type-1-diabetes.html.

    “Living With: Type 1 Diabetes

  2. AnnMarie Maniaci says:

    I chose to comment on your post because I have family members who suffer from the illness, so I think it is interesting to learn about not only the symptoms of the disease, but also the stigmas placed upon it. The illness narrative I read belonged to 37 year old man, Scott, who was diagnosed with Type II diabetes after realizing he could no longer care for his 4 year old son without falling asleep. He began to develop other symptoms as well, such as thrush on his tongue. His story is different from the episode of True Life you described in a number of ways. For one, he is much older than the people in the episode. Also, he seems determined to fix his problem, because he cut carbs almost completely out of his diet. This probably had a lot to do with the fact that he is a stay at home dad, and he couldn’t properly care for his child because he would be falling asleep at inopportune times. He knew he was putting not just his own safety at risk, but also his son’s, therefore having a lot of motivation to get help and to start eating healthy. If he fell asleep while driving, the consequences could easily be fatal.


    Lester, Scott. “The Global Diabetes Community.” Accessed July 27, 2014. http://www.diabetes.co.uk/real-life-stories/scot-lester.html.

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