Yesterday the Type 1 Diabetes community said goodbye to Mary Tyler Moore. The New York Times talks about Moore as a “feminist icon” in her role on the Mary Tyler Moore show and NPR discusses her comedy and wit. America knew Mary Tyler Moore for all of these things, along with her beauty and charm, but many may not know that she did it all while managing Type 1 Diabetes. In fact, she was diagnosed in her early 30’s, shortly before the Mary Tyler Moore Show first aired. In her book, Growing Up Again, she details her journey with Type 1 Diabetes from diagnosis, to becoming a champion and funder for diabetes research. I found the book approachable and inspiring, and recommend it especially for those diagnosed in late teens or early adulthood. I want to offer a quote from Chapter 3, because it resonates with the pain I felt when I was diagnosed so clearly:
“Spontaneity is one of the first of life’s pleasures that’s lost when diabetes appears. Everything must be thought out carefully before doing almost anything. No one likes to give up any sort of freedom, but when dealing with diabetes, there are some things one must accept. This and other matters fall under the heading of control. If you don’t control diabetes, it will control you.”
In this quote I think we see the Mary Tyler Moore spirit that viewers loved her for; the feisty, playful nature, coupled with the acceptance of a life-changing condition. And yet, despite all that careful thinking, Moore did so much in her lifetime, including advocating for others living with T1D, as covered by USA Today.
I’m moved by her story because she’s celebrated as a woman who accomplished so much, and yet all the while she had the full-time job of diabetes to attend to behind the scenes. I’m so grateful that Mary Tyler Moore decided to share this part of herself, her diabetes story, with the world, and give her inspiration to our T1D community.
Moore, T. M. (2009). Growing Up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.
Painter, K. (2017, January 25). Mary Tyler Moore was a role model for others with type 1 diabetes. USA Today, News. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/01/25/mary-tyler-moore-type-1-diabetes/97058152/
Baker, J. (2017, January 25). She turned the world on with her smile: Mary Tyler Moore dies at 80. NPR: All Things Considered. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/01/25/461947952/she-turned-the-world-on-with-her-smile-mary-tyler-moore-dies-at-80
Heffernan, V. (2017, January 25). Mary Tyler Moore, who incarnated the modern woman on TV, dies at 80. The New York Times, Television. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/arts/television/mary-tyler-moore-dead.html?_r=1