« Pump Battery FAIL. | Main | The Friday Six: Stuff on my Twitter. »

Stereotypes: We Haz Them.

I'm sorry, can you speak directly into this and let me know what ignorance you're spewing?A member of the Diabetes UK outreach group sent me their video about "setting the record straight," featuring a young girl with type 1 diabetes who is being bullied by her peers.  They taunt her, telling her she brought this on herself and that she is contagious.  She turns to the camera and asserts the facts about type 1.

And I agree with this.  My diabetes isn't contagious.  It isn't because I ate too many candy bars as a kid or because I had a weight problem or because a black cat carrying red balloons crossed my path on a Tuesday evening. But how often do I turn to the camera ... I mean, person, and set them straight with a well-articulated and poised onslaught of accurate information?

I am not a doctor and I can't spin you a tale of the precise physiological aspects of how diabetes works, but I do know that there's a pile of stererotypes. Though blogging, my job at dLife, and just simply sitting on the subway, I come across plenty examples:

  • "Diabetes is from eating too much sugar."
  • If you wear a pump, it means you diabetes is "really bad."
  • "You can't eat sugar."
  • "You can't eat carbs."  
  • (You can't eat anything, it seems.)
  • "Diabetics shouldn't have kids."
  • "Aren't you supposed to exercise when you're low?"
  • "Diabetes is contagious and you can get it through sharing needles."
  • "People with diabetes are unclean."
  • "Diabetics are the reason for increased healthcare costs."
  • Kids with type 1 diabetes can eventually outgrow their disease.
  • "Diabetes is cured by taking insulin shots."
  • "People with type 2 diabetes gave it to themselves."
  • "All diabetics are overweight."
  • "Diabetes isn't a big deal."
  • "Did you used to be fat?"
  • "No one wants to date or marry a person with diabetes."
  • Diabetes can be cured by taking this pill, this chocolate shake (!), this raw food diet, this crap supplement.
  • CGMs and pumps are a closed-loop system and by wearing one, I don't even have to manage my diabetes anymore.
  • "You're grown up now, so your mother doesn't have to worry about your diabetes anymore."

And the list goes on and on and on ... for miles.  I can't even list all the ones I've heard over the last 20+ years because they vary in shapes, sizes, and levels of ignorance.

Chris and I talk about this sometimes, about how much the "average" person doesn't know about diabetes.  About how I get offended at times when people talk about diabetes like it's something not worth worrying about or how people who end up with complications are at fault for their body's failure.

"Not everyone understands, Kerri."

"I know, but I really wish they did.  And I know that's unreasonable because plenty of people have much better things to do than care about a disease.  But I cannot stand when diabetes is made out to be something that I 'asked for' or something I manage so easily with the push of a button on this pump, right?  Do we look to healthy?  Do we not look healthy enough?  I think this is a serious disease and the stereotypes make me nuts sometimes."

After a beat:

"Good thing I'm not bitter, right?" 

We laugh, but the song remains the same.  People don't have a clue sometimes.  Sara is writing about itGeorge is Tweeting about it.  And I've touched up it here at SUM, too.

I want to know what kind of stereotypes you guys hear about.  Do you bother to correct people?  Do you write letters to let companies know that their marketing campaigns are painful to watch?  Do you make efforts to ignore the misinformation or do you work to correct it when and where you can?  Or are you practicing your apathetic "pfffft!" and moving on without giving it much thought? 

Comments

Ug. I am SO with you (and Sara and G-Money) on this, and it really frustrates me too.

Above all the incorrect things I hear from people when I mention my Diabetes, the ones that are a real head scratcher are the ones that come from people with an immediate relative with Diabetes. And they still don't know what they are talking about.

I was playing golf with a coworker recently and he told me that his father-in-law has Diabetes and they have to clean out the pantry of snacks before he shows up.

Really? REALLY?

I heard most of these comments and they really get to me. The worst are people who actually believe and tell me that it's my fault that Tristan has diabetes. That I caused his diabetes because when I was pregnant, I ate to much refine sugar!

I tried to correct them but they are so stupid that they don't understand. It's very frustrating and I guess a good thing that they hide behind the internet to make those comments!! LOL :)

So right on. I don't get offended I get downright fracking pissed off everytime I hear some ignorant statement about diabetes. And I can't let it go unanswered. I have to educate that person or group. My wife always tells me to leave it alone. But I won't. So add one more to the list.

"People with diabetes are always angry".

I have a little more empathy, since I didn't have a clue 2 years ago, BUT my family's comments get to me the worst.

My MOM is still telling me, that if I just ate 6 small meals a day, I wouldn't have to take insulin. She also compares me to her friend who has type 2, and takes metformin. But the killer was the time, she said she thought I must LIKE poking my fingers, since I do it so often.

I absolutely correct people. I was only diagnosed 6 years ago at the age of 23, and I had a huge learning curve. As I learn more, I teach others. My wife has been really good about understanding, learning, and educating others as well.

I think we all get frustrated with the mis-informed or mis-directed. But the way I look at it, politicians and even our education system causes us to sway our views and thoughts. And it is 'our' responsibility to ensure that others are put into the right direction on the topic of diabetes. Maybe this is just my new found optimism, but it does help me get through the days, weeks, and months. :)

Oh my goodness the stereotypes frustrate me to no end.

And it's not just "everyday" people. As George tweeted the other day about a nurse who assumed what he had because of how he looked.

WHAT?!

Really? Seriously? That's where you want to go?

I've heard it all. Most days I "try" to educate. Some days I ignore, others I not. Sometimes I walk away, lost causes are everywhere.

Hey - "You shouldn't eat that." -- Uh, Neither should You! So what was your point? You think you know What? Hmmm. Right. Thought so. Mosey on now please while I take my cure of insulin for this delish mini cupcake.

(O M G sugar!)

Sheesh people. Let us Live would ya?! We don't judge You!!!

Oh and a couple more:

Diabetes does NOT discriminate, why do you?

Oh crap, I lost my rant-rage, it seems to have escaped me.
Oh well.

Back to educating.

Thanks for the great post Kerri.
Now on you go with your D life and other things. ;-)

Chris - Well... maybe that's because the father-in-law has self-control issues, rather than because of the diabetes, and they've been asked to keep temptation out of his reach with "diabetes" as the excuse because it sounds more urgent than "because he shouldn't be snacking"?

Yeah, I try to give people a lot of wiggle room, here... I held a lot of those stereotypes as truths until my daughter was diagnosed as a type-1. Unless it touches your day-to-day life, it's not something you pay much attention to, and everything you know comes second-hand through the media, and it never occurs to you to research it. Why would you, when you've got a thousand other more compelling things to consider?

When I run into the stereotypes now, I tend to judge them based on whether I would've believed them before my daughter's diagnosis and my subsequent forceful education -- and I try to re-educate people gently, with a, "Oh, that's one of those things almost everyone gets wrong because of the way the media shows it, but actually..." (I've found people accept being corrected much better if you can let them blame their ignorance on something else -- the Evil Media is a useful tool, there.)

The most shocking and confusing comment was when I let people know at my work place that I am diabetic. I work with mostly African Americans. They acted like they didn't beleive me. They said that diabetes is a black person disease! Even my well educated boss thought this. I didn't really even know how to respond.

My response depends on what it is and what my state of mind is. Sometimes I try to explain, sometimes I don't. I try to gauge whether or not my efforts will make a difference though, and if I think someone is up for a little lesson, most often, I'll gladly dole out as much info as I can.

I try to remind myself how little I know about just about every other disease though. It's pretty unrealistic to expect people who really have no incentive to know about diabetes to have their facts straight. It's aggravating when people who don't know act like they know though.

People are idiots regarding diabetes stereotypes!

I remember the time in the park when you were only about 8 years old and that group of "goofy" young boys were taunting you. They said that you had AIDS because you use the needles they see on the news.

You chased those damn boys around the pond ready to give them a thrashing for sure. You were so angry. Then you came home to me and cried...really hard because it hurt so much. Irrational perhaps, as they were only young boys, but I sure wanted to find them and educate them and teach them not to be ignorant. (And then contact their parents so that they would get what they had coming to them). It was that "mother bear" thing going on full steam!! Don't you dare hurt my child...I don't care how old you are.

There will always be ignorant people in this world (big and small). Educate whenever you get the chance.

Here's my list of can't stand to hear:
If you are doing everything right your control should be perfect.

I toggle back and forth between speaking up and not. Part of it comes from being told at DX (35 years ago @ 14) that it "could be worse and I should feel lucky" aka....don't complain or grieve, etc. Why does D have to be compare to other situations.....can't it simply be a difficult disease in and of itself?

My other pet peeve...going to a funeral of someone with diabetes and listening to people comment on how he/she (deceased) didn't take care of themselves...tsk, tsk. Hello!!! Nine of the top 10 causes of death in US can be linked to lifestyle.

I've also noticed if I place a friend with diabetes on the church prayer list...that person comes off the list much faster than others.

Then there was the time I was headed out on a walk, needed some quick acting carbs so stopped by local store (very small town) When the lady behind the counter noticed what I was buying she gave me a lecture on why I shouldn't be eating Lifesavers. She was obese and I had NEVER seen her out getting any physical activity in the miles and miles I have walked around this town. I came close to choking her.

Good post and thanks for the chance to vent a little. NO ONE else gets it!!!!!!

I usually try to educate, but come away more often than not feeling like it did not even register with the person. As others have said, it is harder to take with family members and friends because you just expect them to "get it" more. I had a new one the other day. A friend bought us a cake for our anniversary and told me she chose carrot cake so that I could eat it. It was a very well intended gesture, but since I have shared quite a bit about my D with this friend, also very disappointing. So I guess that's another one...if it has a vegetable in it, it must be OK.

I'm all for speaking up and speaking out. A 'friend' was very dismissive when I told her A had been diagnosed with T1 diabetes. "Oh he'll be fine with a few shots of insulin - its not that big a deal" I informed her that without the correct treatment he could die and the regular blood testing, carb counting, meal planning was not because I had nothing else to do. It is a big deal and will remain so (until one day, who knows......)

Thankfully I have a good group of friends that understand me and don't question my care.
But then there are the 'others', like the one from my post, that just get under my skin.

I am only 1/4 Italian, but I think the 1/4 is all in my temper because I have very little self-control in my responses to stupid people.

I have to say I'm honestly SHOCKED at the one about working out when low. Obviously that person has never witnessed someone low or else they wouldn't say such an asinine thing. As still fairly new to this game and not the best student, I still struggle with fact vs fiction when it comes to my Type 2. I guess the most common response I get is "Really? You don't look overweight?" That and I still have to convince my husband that just because it magically appeared one day doesn't mean it's going to magically disappear if I just eat right and exercise. My doctor told me I stand a good chance of becoming insulin dependent as I age just due to genetics and how my body functions -- and my baby son stands a chance of becoming Type 1 for the same reasons.

Thanks for bringing this up, and talking about Type 2 as well. :)

I don't know if I would call them stereotypes or just misconceptions. Sure, "diabetics are unclean" is an insane and negative bias, but the confusion over what a person with T1D vs a person with T2D can make even medical experts' heads spin!
I started dating a guy with T1D and am bewildered by how much there is to remember! I only wish I could make life easier for him!
I was happy to have a few misconceptions dispelled, such as the thing with carbs, because I am a vegetarian, and carbs are a huge part of my diet, and I love to cook!
It's all about learning, and most of us don't need to learn EVERYTHING before it touches us.
The one thing I wish more books/articles mentioned (cus I researched like a mad woman when I met him) is that sexual activity can lower your blood glucose. That would have been nice to know for both of us BEFORE going to the ER twice.

My friends, on planning a girls night out: "We should get Chinese food, because all that rice is good for your diabetes." WTF???

Personally, I will happily volunteer to be on the chocolate-shake-that-cures-diabetes research team ; ) Maybe ice cream will work too, if I just eat enough of it...

I've never heard the "unclean" one, but I have heard a ton.

My personal favorite misconception is that I can't drink beer.

Or that I can't have children.

And once! A guy at a bar walked up to me and told me it was a fashion faux pas to wear my cell phone as an accessory. It was my pump, of course. He's lucky he survived.

I hate stereotypes in general. But this just pisses me off.

This is why we must educate as much as sometimes we just want to eliminate! (case in point: my lame nurse from yesterday)

Thank you for writing about this Kerri! My daughter was just diagnosed in January. She is 6. I dearly love your blog. I imagine my daughter at your age when I read it, hope that's ok :0)

As a parent of a small child with Type 1, I have heard so far - 'that's from eating too many sweets/cookies/candy' - 'she'll outgrow it' - 'does she have the bad kind with the shots? - and many, many more. I never knew people lacked such basic knowledge about Type 1. I am doing my best to remain calm, but most of the time, people are making the comments as if my daughter cannot hear, they say things right in front of her about how 'bad' it is, how many years does she have... can you believe it? Maybe they think Type 1 also left her deaf, I don't know.

I wished there was more that ADA and JDRF were doing on the airwaves and TV to combat the stereotypes, much like the ad you mentioned. They are in need of a serious campaign blitz.

Thanks for your blog Kerri, it means a lot to me as a parent of a little girl with Type 1.

Penny

my favorite one is when i tell people i'm low and they immediately say, "omg you need a shot!" or when i say i'm shaking and they imitate a seizure. real mature!

the other one is that people say i'm "too young" to have diabetes (which obviously doesn't discriminate by age)-- they're stuck in the whole "diabetics are middle-aged and overweight" mentality and don't have a clue about type 1. i've learned that since type 1 isn't the majority of what people see, they're not really aware of it, so you have to educate and make it clear that the two kinds are different.

I think stereotypes exist everywhere and the only reason we can see how wrong the diabetes ones are is because we know better.

The diabetes ones don't annoy me anymore than the others, which means it depends on how grumpy I am that day. :)

I have to say, I usually only say "WTF" at comments like that from...other diabetics. I guess I must think they should know better, but that's probably not fair.

I remember when Colin was diagnosed at 2, he had gone from 20 to 15 pounds in 2 weeks- he looked really thin and small. We went to a restaurant and he ordered a diet coke and sugar free syrup. The waitress told me that i should re-think his choices for him because apparently all of the artificial sweeteners were stunting his growth. I told her thanks but that I was pretty sure it was the fact that he had lost 1/4 of his body weight due to his recent type one diabetes dignosis, but that I would run her theory by his endocrinologist and get back to her.

I know she was just ignorant, but I dont think you should EVER tell someone how to raise their kids, you know?

I don't get a lot of it to my face, and when I do it's usually questioning rather than accusatory, so I can say things like "Well, that's a common misconception and let me explain why..." Although apparently my husband has been approached by several coworkers and friends on separate occasions who ask him why he's letting his wife drink alcohol when she's diabetic. He gets more annoyed about it than I do.

My favorite is when I'm out at a bar with friends and someone sees my pump and asks mockingly if it is a pager and then when I inform them that I am a diabetic and it is an insulin pump they say wait aren't you not allowed to drink? So they insult me because they don't know about pumps and diabetes and then they try to tell me I'm doing something wrong.

Nice one Kerri. I have heard loads but the one that gets to me the most is that because I don't have enough faith therefore I am not letting God heal me. Everyone I tell that I am a T1, tell me that I will get better when am older or they ask 'which type is it the bad one?' But what really gets under my skin is but you don't even look sick, you must be pretending! That one was from my boss who thought that I was cutting off work whereas I was going for my diabetes clinic. Although my parents aren't any better. The other day my mum told me to suck it up coz its not that bad. And that I'm too old to be asking my folks to help me out from time to time...and if I took better care and had more blood sugar control it wouldn't cost so much...you see on this side of the pond we don't get any medical cover, even basic medical cover once you are diagnosed as a diabetic, so your family must help out. She's a real gem my mum. Then one time I had gone on a few dates with a guy and I decided to tell him that I was diabetic and he turned almost green and asked if I was contagious and whether he might have caught it from me...needless to say that was the end of that.

I could go on forever but what I have decided is that I have to try and educate people rather than get angry. So I'm doing a documentary about T1 diabetes that will be aired on our national television here in Kenya. I think that sometimes though people can be very ignorant and down right insensitive! Note to self...next time someone tells you 'but you don't look sick at all..' I swear I won't punch them in the throat!

This was a wonderful post and I just forwarded it to my daughter (the DIABETIC) to read. That's the label I hate, she is STILL a woman, who just happens to have diabetes. They don't say the HEART for someone who has heart disease. I think labeling the DIABETIC is so limiting!!
Thanks for including that "You're grown up now, so your mother doesn't have to worry about your diabetes anymore."
We will still worry when you all are 90 and have 12 kids!!

I try to educate people whenever they ask about it, or notice me using my pump. The first thing I do is explain the difference between type 1 and type 2, because that's HUGE. It's hard to communicate everything about diabetes in random conversations, of course, so I probably tend to downplay it a lot, but anyone who's spent a regular amount of time with me knows it's a giant pain in the ass. :)

The thing I don't get is why people think my pump tells me my blood glucose when I told them it's an INSULIN pump. I tend to check the time on my pump (that's one of the things I like about diabetes, too) and people ALWAYS ask me how my blood sugar is when they seem me do that. If only it were that easy, friends!

I absolutely love it when your Mom posts about "little Kerri". I hope you thrashed quite a few ignorant children! Thanks Mom! Keep doing what you're doing Mrs Kerri, cuz each post means one less ignorant person.

one of the biggest that I hear (as the mom of a child with type 1) "Is he really able to do THAT?" meaning, play this sport, or run this hard, or ride a bike, or dive into the pool, or whatever it is that he happens to be doing which apparently doesn't look like something a SICK person should be doing. Sometimes I will say "well, I guess so, because he's doing it.." or if I'm feeling particularly snarky I will exclaim, in mock horror, as if they've just told me some valuable advice "Oh MY GOSH!! I never thought about it!!!!"

Before he had D..I didn't know anything about it. But I also didn't talk about it as if I did. I don't mind the people who say something like "so, that means he can't eat sugar right?" and then after the explanation they "get it" and that's it. It's the ones who say the same tired things over and over and never bother to actually hear the corrections. They're the worst.

I had outpatient surgery a few years ago and the doctor was discussing my case with the resident in front of me. He said, and I quote, "The nice thing about diabetics is, they usually have neuropathy, so they don't need pain meds after surgery." I was shocked. Being a nurse AND a diabetic, I had to correct him! I excused him and said to the resident, "Actually, I don't have ANY neuropathy and I DO feel pain. It's a dangerous assumption to make that all diabetic patients are the same." I felt so great!

Wow...looks like you've hit a nerve, Kerri! We, like many of those above, have experienced diabetes ignorance. Recently, it really broke my heart for C. A friend's bday party had come and gone. The mom saw me at school and said how she wished that C could have joined in the fun but thought it best not to invite her because of all the sugar in the cake and ice cream. I wanted to punch her. We do what we can to educate people w/out being annoying about it. But that hurt so badly :( I, of course, gritted my teeth and told her that her assumption was wrong and hoped, for C's sake, she hadn't spread this false info around. Grrrrr!

The worst stereotype I encountered was last fall's well-woman exam. The doctor, who I'd seen a couple times before, saw diabetes and asked where my pump was. I was like, uhhh.... She was all, "you are type 1, right?" And I was like, uhhh...

(Sorry for the 90's slang)

I can't possibly say enough on this topic....it certainly is one that hits close to home as the mom of a T1 daughter. There are SO many misconceptions out there. But the thing that I think disturbs me most is that my co-workers (all nurses) have thrown some real doozies at me. Admittedly I wasn't aware of all the nitty gritty involved with D before she was diagnosed as we weren't taught ALL about it in nursing school, but I certainly didn't go around spreading misinformation either. Like many others the decision to educate or ignore is based on my mood at the time and whether or not I think it will make any difference. Fortunately, I do think my co-workers have learned a great deal over the past 3 years.

And I just have to send you some ((((HUGS)))) Kerri for dealing with those awful boys! I dread the day that C has to deal with that (she's only 5 now). So far she's only been "teased" about bringing a cell phone to school....and that's bad enough for now cause it draws attention to the fact that she's "different" than the other kids at school.

I was on a trip last weekend and I was picking out some chocolates at my husband's family's pharmacy and my mother-in-law said, 'You can't have that, can you?!' And my husband said, 'Yeah, she can.' She gave that look of skepticism, but I didn't feel like going into it. She's known me for 10 years and has seen me eat sugar and yet she still makes that comment. Drives me crazy. Plus, they're a family of pharmacists!

Even if I wasn't supposed to have candy, I'm 32 years old and should be able to make decisions without someone standing there questioning it as though I'm a child. I think that's the part that annoys me the most.

I guess it's not so much people not knowing because like a few others said, it's hard to know everything about it when it hasn't touched you personally, but it's that people feel they have a right to say something as if they do know about it. I wouldn’t question someone’s decision who had a different disease that I didn’t know about it. I guess because so many people have Type 2 now, people feel they DO know about it. It’s definitely frustrating.

Thanks for this post. It's good to hear from, and be able to vent to, people who know how frustrating it gets.

I think the comment I got that made me the most mad was when I was expecting my son and the nurse working with me asked how long I have had diabetes. I told her and she responded with "wow, your life must be horrible". Hmmmm, need a lesson in bedside manner there?

In my 18 years with T1, I feel like I've heard it all. And I don't have a problem with people not being completely informed about my disease. What really frosts my cookies is that they feel justified is spouting their crap to me like it's fact. Like those 5 minute news articles they've seen on Discovery Health has taught them all they need to know and that THEY can now preach to ME about how to manage my diabetes. Don't freaking do that to me!?! I don't preach at people even when I AM knowledgeable about the subject, let alone when I don't know anything about it. It's the self-rightous ones that pull this stuff that irks me.

On top of that, what drives me nuts is listening to my coworkers (NURSES!!) talk about who they know with diabetes. And (for example) they will justify calling people noncompliant by saying that when they confronted them about eating something "bad" they just said "it's okay, I'll just bolus for that." Implying that this was stupid and reckless . . .but that's how EVERYONE is "allowed" to eat anything, they either make their own insulin or they bolus for it. What's the d@mn difference as long the person with diabetes is being conscientious about it?

I feel like most people who are bold enough to think that they are sufficiently educated to spew this crap at someone who actually lives with the disease probably aren't willing to be educated to the contrary. And it's frustrating because I worry that when I do try to educate someone that they will assume that I'm just trying to justify bad behavior and not like I could actually be telling the truth. I prefer to educate but I worry that these folks won't believe me, so in the end it depends on my mood. Anyway, sorry for the rant . . . I could go on and on about this. Thanks for the post, Kerri.

Kerri you have touched on a great topic here.

I was diagnosed with T1 @ 21, so I was lucky enough to miss out having to deal with the ignorance of my peers and the associated bu***it that go along with that.

You only have to search Diabetes within Twitter to follow all the stereotypical comments such as "I'm starting at a candy bar and I'm sooo gonna get Diabetes"

Their appears to be no distinct division between the types of diabetes and feel that is the where the ignorance is developed from.

Kids grow up watching older members of their family develop diabetes (type 2) they happen to be overweight and so their only understanding of the condition is type2.

I guess we all have to join together to educate people as we live our lives.

Keep up the great work Kerri

Mike in Spain, (oops and eating a packet of chips - high carb) :-)

Next month it will be 33 years with type 1 diabetes. I was dx in 1976 and in 8th grade. I had a teacher who found out that I was dx with type 1. She said to me : Why do you want to live ? THere are enough people in this world that have diabetes we dont need another one.

This hits a nerve today after I read an ignorant statement about Judge Sotomayor "injecting insulin into the back of her hand". Hello, we are not IV drug users people!

Also, when I tell people that I have Type I AND have 2 kids there have been comments such as, "Oh, that's not fair to them. Won't they get it?". Hopefully, no, but thanks for commenting.


I was diagnosed at 27 about 7 months ago, and for two weeks I thought I had T2. Knowing just about zero about diabetes, I was mentally punishing myself for "not enough trips to the gym" and "too much ice cream," even thought I weighed in at 108. I even went through an entire diabetes education class diagnosed as a T2, until a VERY cool nurse/diabetes educator took me aside and told me to get a second opinion from an endocrinologist. She was the same one who trained me on my shots a few days later. Anyway, I still get mad when I think about my doctors not telling me the whole T1 vs. T2 story at the beginning.

Here are my recent "favorites":
- Do you have the bad kind?
- Aren't you too old for the kid kind?
- But you're skinny!
- Have you seen "Steel Magnolias"?
- Does that mean you can't have kids?


I also hate when people give me tons of sugar free candy that has so much sugar alcohol (and tastes terrible) I would need to spend a substantial time in the bathroom.

I went to an ophthalmologist for my yearly vision check-up. I told him I had type 1 diabetes, and he said, "Were you ever fat?"

the med assistant at my GP's office asked to see my pump when she read in my file that I have one. SHe took it in her hands and said "Wow! Its amazing something so small does all the work for you now!" I said "It doesn't check my sugar or exercise or even automatically dose, you know. It only replaces injections of insulin." She said "no.. they are supposed to do it all.." When I insisted she was incorrect she just shook her head like *I* didn't know about my diabetes.

WTF!!! A medical assistant!!!

Very excellent post Kerri! Have heard many of the comments you've written down - along with others. I don't know - maybe because of having diabetes most of my life - comments like that don't really get me that angry. I mean, yes, it's annoying to hear people say these things - and when I have spoken up - well - I feel I've done my best in educating them - and like you - I hold no medical degree - I just have diabetes - live with it since this diabetes is pretty well all I've known all my life. The good thing is there is so much more info out there in our "cyberworld" that - not just with what you and I blog about - which is hopefully making people more informed as to what they "chose" to believe is a definition of diabetes.

Oh a humourist side of things - I often (and I'm giggling type this out) - I've been told many times that "I don't look like a diabetic". This is why I now like to use the term of "DDD" (dare devil, demented, diabetic - or that's what it stands for at present) - for people who don't believe I am a diabetic. I slowly pull aside my hair (and pray that it's clean ) - and attempt to show them the "DDD" tattoo in my scalp - which of course doesn't exist - but it does make them reconsider their comment . I'm evil aren't I????

I actually am still working on having another tattoo on my body (have one that was done previously after undergoing mastectomy). I'd like one signifying my having diabetes - which to some people who have heard me say that I'm thinking of having this artwork signifying this think I'm nuts. Again, I point back to the "DDD" - what else can I say - it's a free world out there to express ourselves (with taste mind you)!!

Have a good weekend everyone!

The statements I always got was "But you don't look fat at all!", "Oh, you're SEVERE diabetic"(because I'm on a pump), and "Aren't you a little too young for that?". I used to get really mad, but now, I just explain that there are two types and that type 1 is usually found in the young and type 2 is generally (but not always) found in the older and that treatment differs from person to person. There is no line between an OK diabetic and severe, its all in how you take care of yourself with it.
Growing up and going through school, the only statement that stands out to me is when we were playing "The Oregon Trail" on the computer and a classmate said "I'll bet S will die first because she has di-abetes... get it? Die-abetes?" I ran from the room crying.
I think it would be great if we could come up with a diverse diabetes commercial. One that showed several different people of different races, ages, and backgrounds all saying "I have diabetes" and a statement that diabetes can effect anyone - it doesn't pick and choose. Since everyone gets they're info from tv (mainly with the medical supply commercials for people on medicare), maybe it could make a difference to show them another side of diabetes.

In a similar vein, but slightly different direction... I was watching ABC news with Charles Gibson tonight. I was glad to see diabetes getting prime time coverage, but completely shocked by the following. They ran a 60 second story (hey that's a long time for ABC news) which claimed there was a NEW test to detect diabetes. This test was called (drum roll please) A1C.
I don't know what planet these people at ABC news are from. I've had diabetes for 30 years and A1C has been around at least that long.

DI-A-BEE-TUS

I don't know...I love hearing people pronounce it this way.

Oh, and "I got the sugar."

I heard that all the time when I was an ER nurse.

I know it's kind of OT, but this post made me think of those two things!!!

People actually think that because I take insulin, my diabetes is really badly controlled... -.-

Actually... I forgot to mention, I'm type 1, diagnosed at 5 years old and I'm now 25, no complications :) Yay!

Ack, I just read this on Sonia Sotomayor's wikipedia page, type one since she was eight, by the way "She continues to take daily insulin injections, but her diabetes is considered to be well-controlled, with her A1C levels consistently less than 6.5."

She continues to take insulin BUT her diabetes is considered to be well-controlled. As if she could stop taking insulin! As if because she does continue it may indicate uncontrolled diabetes! Ahhhhh!

I'm late to the party, and only recently diagnosed, and still getting used to the idea that I'm 45 and Type 1 (I used to own a Type III - maybe that's foreshadowing).

What I can't stand are the well-meaning folks who want to act like I've got a death sentence. "You've got diabetes? Oh, my - I'm so sorry." Heck, we're all going to die eventually. And I'm not sorry - I'm glad that I found out what the problem was. Now I know that drinking a couple gallons of water a day, and peeing like the proverbial racehorse was a problem. Besides - I lost about 40 pounds in about two months. I discovered the ultimate diet aid.

My best friend was cool about it - didn't really say much, had a couple questions and that was it.

A co-worker had all sorts of questions, and the worried that I thought he was prying. I don't mind answering what I can, here are my pens, this is my meter, this is fast acting, this is slow, etc, etc.

A lady in the same office building commented that I was looking good with the weight that I lost, and asked how I did it. When I told her I had been diagnosed with T1DM, she took it in stride - her husband was a T1DM as well.

I can't stand the sad, puppy-dog eyes, and the almost automatic assumption that I am going to simply explode before their eyes. It's not going to happen. And with any luck, I'll quit these stupid cigarettes soon, and pretty quickly, I'll be in better shape than most of those that are pitying me. I'm looking forward to that. :)

I have a three and a half year old that has had diabetes for six months. Everywhere we go I get calls with people asking me what they should buy for food, or saying they opted out of the smores for the bonfire just for Caleb! And anyone who knows anyone with diabetes has to tell me how they have it really bad! I get tired of explaining everything to everyone and sometimes am kind of short with them. At the same time I want to educate EVERYONE with the facts so maybe my son won't hear all these hurtful or offensive comments throughout his life! Frusterating but happy to know it's not just all my friends and family who don't have a clue!

I would like to thank all of you for your sincere comments, indepth suggestions and deep insight. I am married to a wonderful woman with Type 1, who uses a pump, and every bit of information and understanding I can get helps me support her that much more. THANK YOU!

Post a comment

(All comments are moderated. Thanks for your patience!)