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Things I Wouldn't Say, If I Were You.

The past few weeks have taken me out of my normal element and tossed me into a potluck of people.  Not all of these people had diabetes.  Actually, I think it's fairer to say that many of these people didn't have a clue what diabetes is all about - especially not type 1 diabetes.

For some of these people, I felt a lot of empathy.  Some knew that diabetes is a serious disease but admitted to not having a strong knowledge base about the condition and it's nuances.  I talked to these people and we learned together; they learned about the specifics of diabetes and I learned to never take my bubble for granted.

But then there were the others.  The ones who run their mouths without thinking. And I don't mean in that "Oh, they don't understand the DETAILS of what it's like!" I don't have an unrealistic expectation that people will know as much about diabetes as we do.  I just mean that there are certain social graces that appear to be missing when it comes to diabetes.  For some reason, and this is only from my perspective, it seems that diabetes is constantly viewed as "not that bad."  Again, not looking for a pity party, but diabetes is not the common cold. It's not just "taking a pill" or "just take your shot and you're fine." It's not "simple" or "easy" or "better this than (insert other disease)." 

It's what we live with every day.

And it sure as hell is not my fault.

And when I tell you I have it, your first reaction CANNOT be:

"Oh.  My cousin died from that at the age of 47.  He just didn't take care of himself."

NO.  I'm sorry.  That is an unacceptable answer.  I'm sitting here, right in front of you, thirty years old and cusping on 23 years with type 1 diabetes, looking healthy and happy and always surprising people when I tell them I have a chronic disease.  NO, you don't get to respond immediately to my "Well, I have type 1 diabetes, actually," with a story about someone's demise.  I wouldn't say that, if I were you.  You aren't helping.  You aren't even polite.

"But Kerri, not everyone understands.  Not everyone knows what to say."

Come on.  I'm not stupid.  If I said, "Well, I have breast cancer, actually," the response wouldn't be this knee-jerk of blame.  It's a disease, and whether you understand anything about it or not, why would you immediately tell someone that it's going to kill them?  Isn't there something socially inept about someone who responds that way? 

The answer is yes.  And I'm tired of explaining myself to these people. 

If something happens to me as a result of this disease, no one gets to tsk tsk and shake their head, murmuring, "She just didn't take care of herself." Diabetes-related complications are not my fault.  They are the result of diabetes.  My blood sugars are high and low at times because I have diabetes, not because I'm doing everything wrong.  We all work very diligently to compensate for our busted pancreases, and I will not - not even for a second - allow someone to wipe away my life's efforts with a shake of their head and whispered blame.

So you.  The person who wants to ask me about diabetes and then counters with horror stories.  I'm quickly running out of grace.  My response to you remains the same as it has always been.

"I'm sorry about your cousin (or uncle, grandparent, college roommate, coworker, person you read about on CNN, cat) and I'm sorry for your loss.  That must have been hard on your family.  But I think it's best for me to focus on being alive. Alive and well. Don't you agree?"

People need to be a little more CHILL.

Comments

Good post Kerri! Although I test, count, and pump almost instictively, it takes someone else pointing out how much work it is to be diabetic. I'm often told when someone sees me testing, or sees my pump hanging from my belt, "you sure don't look like a diabetic." I always repond back, "what exactly does a diabetic look like." I usually get some strange looks from that question. The answer I always give is that we look just like normal people only better. Keep up the good work and God bless.

Well put!!!
Just wait until you are pregnant with diabetes. People think that is license to say things to your face about your diabetes and what you are doing to a child.
You wonder where people learn these awful behaviors.

I Totally agree.

Great post Kerri.

GREAT post. i recently met someone who asked what my omnipod was. i explained what it was, and that i was type 1, and she responded with: "oh diabetes. my dad has that. he has the really bad version, and he just keeps on eating what he wants and doesn't take care of himself."

err?

People just don't get it. I get so upset because like you said, it is not my fault.

I hate the "you'd better take care of yourself" as if I am not taking care of myself. What they do not understand is that you can do it all "right" and still end up "wrong."

good post Kerri.

amazing post! nothing annoys me more than peoples reactions when asked about my daughters diabetes and the horror stories, lets stay positive people or just dont say anything at all!!!

Great Post,
Thats why only 2 People in my office (out of 20) know I`m a diabetic, and I have been there since 2004,

Good Job Kerri...

It's a shame there isn't any funding for common sense in the health care reform bill(s). Seems like there's a lot of that lacking these days.

if ya smelllllllllllllll....

lol

You always know how to put things so well Kerri! :)

Great post Kerri, and I'm sorry you were on the receiving end of some really thoughtless responses.

People just don't think. I have had friends who were pregnant and the stories of what people (some complete strangers) would say to them were unreal. I have friends who ride motorcycles--same thing. There's always one person in the crowd that has a friend who works in the ER, blah, blah.

Bottom line: no matter the situation, it is NEVER appropriate to respond to someone with what amounts to a worst-case scenario.

Pregnant women don't want to hear about preemies or the NICU, cyclists don't want to hear about ER horror stories, and so on. This *should* be common sense. The problem with common sense is that it isn't all that common.

People just don't *think.*

Well said. I agree whole heartedly. There is a desperate need to educate the public about this disease. Even some healthcare professionals make some appallingly ignorant comments about type 1 sometimes. We need to educate people!

I may have mentioned this one too many times, but many people who have only been exposed to Type 2 diabetes don't see the wild swings that are part-and-parcel of Type 1. (As an example: if I overeat the wrong stuff, I will rarely *hit* 200. My "crashes" rarely dip below 80, and I don't have that same tiny life-death-or-unconsciousness window if I don't get that glucose tab or glass or orange juice right now.)

In short, what most people see of diabetes is the "milder, gentler" diabetes that sneaks up on you over time, that is often better managed with stentorian self-discipline than with high technoogy, and at whose management most people fall short due to "moral lapses" that make us human, rather than ancient Roman icons.

They don't see the Joker, waiting until everything is calm and stable, waiting to throw a random "300" fasting with craploads of insulin on board, only to crash to "50" in an hour and not come up until you've mainlined glucose tabs until you're ready to choke... and then throw some other random number at you with a bunch of ketones for an encore. I can't imagine what "sweaters" would feel like on one's teeth, and the only time I've seen sheets drenched in sweat has been when (hey, look at the shiny pretty!)...

In some ways, things will going to get worse in that respect as T1s live longer, fuller lives, and T2 appears increasingly earlier in life. (I've mentioned that one of my first reactions was that "I can't have diabetes; I'm only 42, and (NIDDM/T2) is an old person's disease"?) More and more people are going to confuse the "moral lapses" of less-than-stentorian and pre-Alzheimer's T2s with the Joker and the PuppetMaster pulling T1 strings when you least expect it.

On the other hand, the more and more folks are coming up with both types of diabetes (and I still think calling both T1 and T2 "diabetes" confuses the issue even more!), the more society as a whole will learn what is and is not realistic for each of us -- and hopefully adjust their social attitudes appropriately.

The first time I met my now mother-in-law was at a birthday party where cake was served. I actually didn't have any (which wasn't necessarily b/c I'm diabetic), however she made the following comment: "Oh, you're so good. My friend had diabetes and had her arms and legs amputated b/c she didn't take care of herself." Nice first meeting, huh? Needless to say, it has been interesting few years of continuous education.

That kind of comment gets on my last frayed nerve. I need to put some time into perfecting my response to it. You'd think after all these years, I'd have a better response than a wide-eyed stutter. I've always tried not to be rude, but since they weren't trying as earnestly to do the same, I really should get over my fear of stepping on their toes considering they stepped on my supposedly rotting, ready-to-be-amputated toes.

I totally agree. Why do people feel the need to bring up the worst case scenerio instead of saying something positive like, "I hope you're doing well" or "That must be tough, but you look great." I like that boost of self-confidence! Not the, "Wow, you're probably going to die soon" attitude. Sheesh. I suppose that people do think that diabetes has so much to do with what *you* do that scare tactics will somehow completely prevent complications.

However, I do disagree a bit that diabetes complications are only the fault of the diabetes. There are some people (just some, not all) who don't do anything to take care of their diabetes and their health and they do get complications. Like my grandfather. He really didn't do anything about his diabetes. Yes, he ate cookies and drank OJ, but unlike us, he didn't take insulin or monitor his blood sugar. He did nothing and died from it. I may die from it, but it certainly won't be from doing nothing. There's a difference.

One more thing...

I think the next time someone responds to the statement "Oh, I have type 1 diabetes" with a "My grandmother/aunt/friend/ex-boyfriend's-sister-in-law's-aunt died from diabetes because she was bad" I shall respond in kind with a resounding: "So?"

My favorite thing is seeing people who HAVE diabetes and say "I can't work. I have 'the sugar'."
(That's a southern term!).
Those people are usually shocked when I tell them I am diabetic and I work a full-time job. And they are even more shocked when I tell them I'm on an insulin pump and their next reply is "Oh, you must have that really BAD kind."...but yet I work. hmmm....

absoloutly our focus to stay well and try and stay healthy is that an oxymoron ? I dont know . I just know most ppl will never understand diabetes . The best we can hope for is to educate them and hope for the best .

In my almost 23 years of t1 I have heard all of these statements and it drives me mad! Great post, you put what I feel into words.

Kerri, you took the words right out of my mouth! We were at a bridal shower the other day for some friends of David's and somebody there commented on my new OmniPod. They said, that I must have diabetes "really bad" if I have to be on a pump. That followed by, "I bet your daughter will have diabetes because you have it." Because these are people we are acquaintances with, I tried to explain. They simply didn't get it. I wish there was a better way, but unfortunately I don't see how that will be accomplished.

Also, like another commenter (or 2) have suggested, just wait 'till you're pregnant. The moronic comments will just keep coming. Especially if you're having something like a piece of cake or ice cream.

Thank you for sharing that.

My best practice is to ALWAYS try to say something uplifting be it to a chronic person or anyone who is alive.

Ignorance is ignorance.

People say stupid things all of the time-for me its race.

Like "Oh you dont look black" - like what I should have a bone in my nose and a spear?

We have to learn tolerance for all-and it is wonderful posts like this one that remind ALL of us to THINK before we speak and if you don't have the words - shut it and simply give someone a hug!

Wonderful, Kerri.

I agree also to what Elizabeth and others are saying about pregnancy - the comments really have seemed to get worse since I've been pregnant. Everybody gets that horrible steel magnolias look on their face and HAS to ask if my baby will have diabetes, too. As if that thought won't keep me up all night! I give them the standard stats about how there's no reason to think that, but still. Or they ask if I'm "allowed" to be pregnant (um, too late now, so why would you dare insinuate that??) or isn't it nice that diabetes goes into remission during pregnancy so I don't have to deal with it (wtf?). I've been very private with the pregnancy so far because I'm just sick of hearing it.

Great post, Kerri, as always.

touche!

And thank you for the reminder - I need to not allow MYSELF to "wipe away my life's efforts with a shake of [my] head and whispered blame."

Great post. You took the words right out of my mouth with this post. I'm sick of hearing people make these types of comments to myself and even worse in front of my 9 yr. old daughter who has type 1 diabetes.

Kerri,
I think you "hit the nail on the head" with this one. After 21 years of having D myself, I am tired of people's responses and uninformed ideas of diabetes as well. If only there was a way to educate them... but then again, they probably wouldn't listen anyway. Only diabetics or direct family of diabetics (moms, dads, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, children, etc) really know what we're going through. The term that irks me the most is not when you "have the bad one", but when you are referred to as the "severe diabetic" because you're on a pump or shots and test more than once a day.
And I have to completely agree with Cara's post. I am from the south too and I've seen what she's talking about with people being out on disability for having "the sugar". I do not believe that having "the sugar" is a disability and it irritates me when I hear of people drawing a check each month because of it. They have no desire to take the lemons they've been dealt in life and make lemonade.

Very nice and relevant posting! I think one reason people without diabetes feel entitled to "blame" the patient instead of this disease is because we have allowed diabetes to be depicted as a minor inconvenience and the media have not been reprimanded for their failure to depict diabetes a serious disease. A big reason is because the disease is invisible to the naked eye.

In 2004, Deb Butterfield eloquently wrote http://web.archive.org/web/20040506092428/http://www.insulinfreetimes.org/itimesv600.htm :

"Diabetes has long been a disease of blame and shame with accusations of non-compliance, mismanagement, and 'cheating' on diets. Diabetic complications have served as a line of demarcation between those who are proud to speak out and those who hide. People who are doing well with diabetes, who are congratulated and respected for their ability to control their disease, become the faces that peer out of the pages of articles, advertisements and diabetes education brochures.

By showing the world only the happy face, and not the tragic disease beneath, we are endorsing the prevailing philosophy of tolerating, rather than curing, diabetes."

A Canadian woman named Deanna Stewart Gaston wrote http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/Spa/4750/intro.htm a decade ago:

"Instead of spending 165 million dollars on a study to 'prove' that better control reduces complications, research money needs to focus more on finding a cure.

After all, if we could always maintain good control, it would be similar to not being a diabetic, so, of course, it would reduce complications. But #1- it is virtually impossible to always maintain good control and #2- as the study says, it reduces, not eliminates complications.

Instead of blaming diabetics themselves for their problems, (well, if he/she had stayed on their diet they wouldn't have these problems), let's start blaming this deadly and debilitating disease."

As we discussed at the Roche meeting in Indy a while back, part of the problem is that patients with diabetes have allowed diabetes to be defined by others, not us. We really do need a senior government official to be designated as a diabetes "guru", but I believe that person cannot be yet another doctor or medical professional, but that person must actually live with diabetes themselves. That has a profound impact on the policy suggestions that are typically made by those who have absolutely NO firsthand knowledge of what it is actually like to try and comply with the regimen of injections, restrictions and above all else, the uncertainty that is expected of the diabetic population on a daily basis.

That was a kick-as.... blog! I thought you were going to explode with frustration.

My motto is: "If they ask, I will educate."

If they are going to make unrelated, negative comments (my Mom's dog has diabetes and she has to give it shots) I will nod and walk away. OR! if I want to be nice like you were. Good Job! I would ask:

Have you ever thought what your life would be if you or your child had diabetes? (or some other disease)

I am sure that you will be able to deal with it. You would quickly learn and be able to understand the many consequences of the disease. Remember if you have any questions. Just call me and I will educate you.

I agree, when you put it that way, it sounds really rude.

My dad has type 2 diabetes, and while he hasn't died of it, he really DOESN'T take care of himself. (And if you happen to come over my way to post a comment at my blog, please don't mention this fact because he reads the blog and my nagging does no good so what's the point starting it??). So, whenever I hear "diabetes" I think of my dad, and how he's probably going to get even sicker because of his failure to take care of himself. I'm probably going to lose him prematurely because he doesn't take care of himself. My kids are going to lose their Grandpa, earlier than they have to, and it breaks my heart.

While I would hope that I have more tact than to have said this to you, or anyone else, I can imagine myself saying something like, "My dad has type 2, I wish I could encourage him to take better care of himself..." or "That's got to be really hard for you, I know it's hard for my dad to take care of his type 2, and he's ended up in the hospital more than once as a result..."

I'm not blaming you for any complications you might one day have, I AM blaming him for his complications. Mainly I'm trying to relate to you on the only level I can with diabetes - because his diabetes is my only experience with it.

That said, I'll be more careful about how I try to relate in the future. And if I was one of the people at BlogHer who said something stupid, I'm sorry (I was the liveblogger for the Patient Bloggers session).

Amen, Sister!

I liked your analogy to breast cancer, you are so right that people wouldn't whisper any blame in that case, why is our case any different?

Great post Kerri, thanks!

I've only had T1 for about a year, but sadly it did not take me long to encounter all of these sentiments/reactions from people. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt and reply as kindly as I can, but sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) it's just too much to handle.

Hear, hear!

I couldn't agree with you more!! Thank you for posting this. Believe it or not, the only thing worse than hearing horror stories about people with Diabetes, is having that being told to you by ANOTHER person with Type 1 Diabetes. Talk about a downer. Yes, there is something socially inept about someone who responds in that way. I love all of the comments about people who are busting their butts to make it in this world despite having this disease. They are living "with" Diabetes, not "for" it. That's positive.

Much better than my automatic response (which would've started with an f, and ended with a you), would've been.

I realize it's just ignorance and stereotypes, and I'm not an angry person at all (and I'd probably start apologizing after saying it.) But after almost 37 years working my butt off trying to take care of myself, but suffering from complications anyway, anybody who tries to make light of or blame me for diabetes (or tell me I'm gonna die)? I cannot be blamed for what my mouth would say. It'd be an autonomic response.

As a new parent of a Type 1 daughter, who is 6, frankly, I am appalled at what the general public says to me and says to her, in front of her. (Maybe they think the diabetes also made her deaf?)

So far, I have had people tell me she's not gonna live to see 30, not gonna survive without amputation, kidney disease and going blind. One person actually told my daughter that she was 'so so sorry that she would eventually lose her sight.' Can you imagine saying that to anyone, let alone a 6 YEAR OLD GIRL. My God.

I haven't perfected any response yet, right now I am lucky I don't burst into tears.

Thank you for sharing Kerri and I am sorry for all the comments you have gotten throughout the many years of being diabetic.

Hi Kerri
I am a big fan of your blog, I read it nealry every day and was really pleased to read this post as it echoes many of my thoughts. I just wanted to share two incidents from work this week.

On discussing in a meeting how hungry I was yesterday after a 5 hour drive in which I didn't have time to stop for lunch. "cathy that is ridiculous how irresponsible and dangerous of you" well I am on a pump, I tested regularly and skipping lunch is not a problem, I was complaining purely about my hunger.

Other end of the spectrum - today a colleague sharing a long journey with me said"I know you are diabetic, when do you need your injection I'm not squeamish so don't worry just do waht you have to"
showed so much tolerance and thoughtfulness, and I was touched by this!

:( Oh. frustrating. And yes, very rude.

Fantastic post, all so right. Thank you particularly for the line " My blood sugars are high and low at times because I have diabetes, not because I'm doing everything wrong. " I hate that when I say I'm too high or too low the response is often 'well, what did you do wrong', sometime it just happens!!

I don't have diabetes but RA and have heard the exact same thing...my blah, blah, blah died of that. Uhm, yeah...about 50 years ago when they didn't have the kind of treatment we didn't now. Let's compare apples to oranges.

Personally, my favorite is...your only 39...your to young to have RA.

Do you get stuff like this. My reply, "yeah, I've had it since I was 2."

Usually, manages to stop them in their tracks.

Sing it, sister! I seriously cannot believe the dumb things people say...it's unbelievable how many people tell my 9-year-old son their relative lost a limb when they hear he has diabetes. A couple people even asked when he'll outgrow diabetes. (I always say, "When they find a cure...") Unfortunately, there's no cure for stupid.

Amen!!!

Every diabetic in the world has had encounters like this. Thank you Kerri for saying it better then I ever could!

Thank you, Kerri. I think you're a real voice and I love reading your posts.

Talk about ignorance: When I was first diagnosed at 16, my pastor took me aside and told me that I could "will away" my Type 1 diabetes if I prayed and fasted enough!

I truly wish I'd had the wherewithall to ask him if he thought he could also "will away" his colostomy bag with the same methods!

Thanks from another mom of a now young adult with type 1 diabetes. Would you like to submit this to the NYTIMES? I think even those who think they are educated and savvy - need to read what you wrote.

I would like to say, but wouldn't, "Well then, I guess I'd better live it up since I only have 13 years to live!"

Amen! awesome post Kerri......we stir up enough guilt all on our own, we don't need it from others.....

Bravo!!!! Great Post!!!!

I don't mind them telling me about the relative who had the complications- what I mind is the blame part.
Not just because they have no clue what "taking care of himself" would look like, but also because NOBODY, and certainly not me, is going to manage to stay on top of diabetes every week for 2000 weeks.

But I feel like we in the diabetes community don't talk about and shun people with complications too much, and I want to hear more about complications. I'd rather that it wasn't uninformed relatives giving me the stories, but I still want to hear more about complications.

Dearest Kerri,

You know I adore you, but breast cancer was a bad example. Having both diabetes and having had breast cancer, I've dealt with stupid comments from both, including blaming the person w/ cancer because they used certain products, ate certain things, DIDN'T eat certain things etc. etc.. And then there's the heart wrenching "Oh, my (insert person here) died from that" comment that reminds us that we're certainly not immortal.

The WORST was from someone we knew while standing in a checkout line smuggly saying "I don't know which is worse, the disease or the fear." What, fear of dying or having a terminal illness? F-witt!

I just wanted to point out that idiots making stupid comments is common to a lot of chronic illnesses, and sadly follow very common themes between illnesses. It needs to be stamped out, like it's an illness unto itself. I think we should call this 'new' illness Stupid Comment Syndrome.

Maybe we could come up with a pack of card to hand out to people with SCS to tell them they have just proven themselves to have poor social graces and need to atone for their social sin by donating to the research of any of our particular diseases. Hmm, bit like a social police ticket....

Anyway, just venting a bit as I too think these idiots need a swift kick in the rear.


Gaelyne / FlitterbyG

I didn't know that people with breast cancer have experienced the same kind of ignorance. From my perspective (on the outside, of course), breast cancer is viewed as a serious disease and never as "Oh, you'll be fine." I'm tired of diabetes (T1 in particular) being tossed into that "you'll be fine" pool.

But there seems to be blame across the board for any kind of illness. As though we are supposed to be infallible, or at the very least, capable of keeping our bodies free of any illness. :p

Thank you, Gaelyne, for your perspective. I would love to create a card for SCS. :)

Like Heather said, too bad there's no cure for "stupid." :)

Thank you.
I have liver disease. Pretty bad. Haven't drank in my life - I'm 22 and I got it when I was 5. I once had a NURSE asked me why I drank so much that I would get a liver this bad. Huh?! Completely caught me off guard. Then there's the "Oh my aunt had a transplant. You know, it was sad she died a month later." Oh gee thanks. Sometimes people need to think a little harder before they talk. :(

Kerri,
Great post. I run into similar reactions to videos on the J&J you tube channel, particularly about disease states like obesity. People who are basically ignorant assume obesity is something caused by a lack of self-control. If people did even a minimum of research they would learn that its causes are multi-determined. There are similar reactions to those with addiction problems. It's not so simple as "self-control" but many people don't particularly appreciate nuance.

Love you, love your posting. You seem to so often take the words right from my brain and put them down in such a better way than I can. I get the same response from people when I tell them about my 3 year old with diabetes. Even right after she was diagnosed...clueless, clueless people.

I was thinking the other day that I need to pop an e-mail to the coordinator local ADA fundraising walk. Last year our local senator, who's grandfather was diabetic, gave the opening speech. Instead of it being uplifting, he talked about how his grandfather didn't have the advantage of the advances of today. And proceeded to tell us about lost limbs.

I'm sorry, but my newly diagnosed child was in the audience, along with many other affected children. Don't try to garner sympathy from us about his lost limbs. Don't talk of gore. Don't frighten the children!

Yes, I understand that we may face diabetes-related complications. But my daughter is only five and has enough to deal with. She doesn't need to be burdened with those possibilities.

And I also don't like it when my daughter tells an adult she's diabetic and exclaim, "Oh! I'm SO sorry. That's too bad." I know they don't know how to react, but that's not very helpful. She doesn't need pity.

(If I sound angry, maybe it's because I just dropped her off for her very first day of kindergarten and the school district failed to tell the temporary nurse--yes 1 nurse for 11 schools--that there are two diabetic children at this school who need her at 11:35. But that's a whole other diatribe!)

And I loved the "no cure for stupid" comment above. Good one, Heather!

Right on, Kerri! I once had an opthamologist tell me that diabetes could kill me if I didn't take care of myself like 'a lot of young kids my age'. Ha! What did he think I was doing at his office! Needless to say, that was my first and last appointment with him.

Great post!

Ah yes, people with no filter. My all-star comment was when I was pregnant and my (very kind, I'm sure well-intentioned) neighbor said "oh, so is it going to be like "Steel Magnolias". Yes, thank you. I got pregnant so I could go into kidney failure and die. Hmmmm.

When I commented before I TOTALLY forgot what my dentist said a few weeks ago - oh you have diabetes I'm so sorry my dad has that and is really poorly. Eat lots of fruit and you will be fine though.
Excuse me - this is a man with medical training

Speak it sista!!! Couldn't have said it better! My favorite one after I told this woman I was diabetic, shocked she responded, "YOU'RE STILL ALIVE? WOW, YOU'RE LUCKY!" I just got back from a week at Diabetes Training Camp (for very active diabetics/triathletes) and they touched on this subject, "sometimes you teach, sometimes you ignore, its up to you." Its a small bit of empowerment yes, but at least it calms the anger. Love your blogs!

I came across something last night that this reminded me of. My first assignment for grad school (in the health field) was to take a "real age" test and find out what my real age is.

At the end of the test, it told me that I didn't have to live in pain (because I listed chronic pain/headaches on the questionnaire) and that I should treat my headaches, like, you know, I love them so much that I wouldn't treat them. I'm sorry, but I was appalled. I hate when people imply that haven't done enough for myself or worse, that I'm making it up.

What do we need to do to get credibility? And why can't people be KIND enough to care about us and not about whether we're sick enough for their standards?

Love it Kerri.

And I'll totally "third" the "wait until you are pregnant...." comment....

I had a nurse ask me, after my son {10lbs 11oz} was born, "Well, you did know that type 1 diabetics have big babies didn't you? You should have kept your blood sugar under better control." I wanted to scream! Um, yes I did - my A1c was great throughout my pregnancy, but I think you ought to know that my husband was 10lbs, my Dad was 10lbs and my Grandpa was 13lbs - diabetes or not, I'm destined for bigger babies! I'm already prepping for the comments when my daughter arrives in a couple of weeks....

Some days I feel like I need a whole stack of SCS cards to pass out... if you make them, I totally want some. :)

I hear you!! My mother in law thinks that you can get over it, like the common cold!!! I am type 2, and have taken control. in 1yr. 5mths. since my diagnosis, I have slowly lost about 20kgs., I was trying before anyway.. and I am averaging a 6.5 ... not bad, huh? I always carry glucose pills, (dusty things), and take my meds (850mg. Metformin, 3X a day). I am concerned what could happen in the future, but continue to try to be positive.... With type I, it's never your "fault", but try with type II...it's 'always" your fault. I no longer even tell people that I have diabetes, and if I need to test, go into the restroom... sad commentary.
Keep up the educating! You're doing great!

Kerri this is an AWESOME post. You should try to get it in a magazine! Or in print somehwere. Not that your blog isn't wonderful - I've referred many people to it - but of course there is the "it isn't true unless its in print" mindset.

I think this would fair well in Diabetes Forecast which is laid out at many endocrinologist's offices and read by many diabetics and those non diabetics in healthcare alike!

It starts with the healthcare community I think. Changing the way the community sees this disease will lead to changing the way the general public sees it.

More personal note - I've lived with those comments my entire life with diabetes. You opened my eyes to see that it is NOT okay to live with those comments and the blame that comes with it from them and myself. Thank you.

I totally agree. Thanks for posting this.
You know what's funny? Some of the most judgmental comments I've ever gotten about my T1 have come from fellow T1's. I hope this is not common because these are the people who should already be educated!

I've heard those lines for 21 years, holy crap, thanks for articulating my unknown irritation with them all of these years!

What a great post Kerri. Thank you!

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