DEAR ABBY: "Wants a Life in Virginia" implied that her husband's diabetes had led to irresponsible, irrational, and even violent behavior. While I sympathize with the wife and her family's problems with him, blaming diabetes for his behavior is both a mistake and medically inaccurate. It only adds to the discrimination and stigmatization faced by people with diabetes, as well as those at risk for it.
Unfortunately, it is still a common misconception that diabetes can bring about irrational and reckless behavior. I am president-elect of the Diabetes Association, and we hope you will let your readers know that people with diabetes should not be considered any more likely to be irresponsible, hostile or violent because of their disease. Perpetuating this myth does a great disservice to the entire diabetes community and the millions affected by this disease.
Today, diabetes affects at least 17 million Americans -- almost one out of every 10 adults. It is the nation's fifth-deadliest disease, killing more than 210,000 individuals each year. The majority of people with diabetes work hard to manage their disease and lead active, healthy and productive lives. Every day they balance their food intake with activity and the treatments recommended by their health-care providers. Until a cure is found, they must shoulder the constant obligation of managing their disease. It is one that requires diligence, patience and remarkable will. -- EUGENE J. BARRETT, M.D., PhD.
DEAR DR. BARRETT: Thank you for setting the record straight. Today you have not only educated my millions of readers, you have also taught me an important lesson. Although I did not say that the man's behavior was related to his illness, I'm sorry I didn't challenge the writer's incorrect assumption.
DEAR ABBY: I had a similar problem as "Muddling Through in Minnesota, who was graduating from high school and wasn't sure whom to invite because her mother despises her stepmother.
My parents are also divorced, and so are my favorite aunt and uncle. None of them had spoken for more than 12 years. However, at age 33, I was finally graduating from college, and since it was "my" graduation, I decided to invite them all. I made clear to everyone who else I was inviting so they had the option of declining my invitation.
Guess what? Everyone came! And they brought their new "significant others" with them. Afterward, at the party in my home, they were laughing and talking like old times -- catching up with each other's lives.
A few days later, they called and thanked me for ending the "old and worn out" animosities. -- HAPPY GRADUATE IN VIRGINIA
DEAR HAPPY GRADUATE: You are obviously an important part of these relatives' lives. How wonderful that all of them could be present to celebrate your success. Congratulations on all fronts. I have always said, "When in doubt, invite everyone." Whether or not they choose to attend then becomes THEIR problem.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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