Saturday, July 16, 2011

I'm Diabetic and I'm Proud

There is no question that I am very open about my diabetes. As you all can see from my other posts, I have no problem talking about even the most personal feelings I have about the whole thing. It is part of my life now, and it will be for the rest of my life. Well, unless they find a cure which "may be in the future" as I have read so many times. Hope...false hope, but it doesn't even matter. I have to live with it and I have decided that it is ok, and I might as well embrace it. Some people, I have noticed, are extremely private about the matter. To me, just like a personality trait, it is part of who I am. It is part of how my body works. Why hide it?

I had a comment from someone a few posts back replying to my problem with getting low blood sugars at work. He explained that he doesn't tell anyone about it that doesn't have to know (i.e. only very close friends and close relatives). No one knew about his condition at work or anywhere else and he was extremely proud. I suppose to each his own, right? Well, that may be, but hiding it from so many people can be  awfully dangerous. What if something happened? I imagine, if this person is so intent on hiding the matter, that he does not wear any sort of identification card. (I don't either, for that matter, but one day I will.) If he ever got so low that someone had to call 911, what would the person say to the paramedics? What would happen. Goodness knows that I don't even want to think about it. Nothing has happened to him in the 50 some-odd years that he has had diabetes, but that is what I call living on the edge. At least, I seem to think so. Once again--to each his own.

Now, I am not saying that I just bring it up to everybody I meet. That would be more like starving for attention. "Hi, nice to meet you. I'm Mary and I have Diabetes! Wanna talk about it?" I do think it is important to tell people, especially coworkers, that you have it. If it get's really busy at work and it is time for lunch, someone needs to know that once I take my insulin, I gotta eat. You know what I mean? I don't care if they are sick of the "whole diabetes thing" that some unfortunate individuals call it. That is just how it is. Go ahead, roll your eyes. It doesn't bother me one bit.

I don't just talk about it for safety precautions, though. Today, I felt a bit shaky, so I grabbed a mini juice box (15g of carbs per juice box, by the way. Perfect!) The customer I was taking care of noticed and asked if I had diabetes. We began talking about it, and three others joined in. They talked about people they knew with it, and best of all, they asked a lot of questions. They understood Type 2, as many more people do, but getting to teach them how Type 1 works was actually exciting for me and they were very interested in learning. I cleared up many of their misconceptions and misunderstandings. It was honestly a great conversation.

So many people in this world don't get it. I just read an article yesterday, as many of you did, by this guy Wendall and his opposing of and ice cream social for Diabetic children (Read it here, if you are interested.) He was so ignorant about the entire subject matter that he really should not be writing about it at all. There are so many more people out there that really need to understand the disease and how it differs from Type 2 Diabetes. I wish diet and exercise were the answer. Truly, I do. It is the answer to leading a healthy life, yes, but it won't cure me, sorry.

In closing, I would like to ask you a few questions. Are you private about your Diabetes? Do you feel that certain people just need to know? Or are you completely open about it? Let me know! Thanks for reading!


  1. I am definitely on the "private side" when it comes to my T1D. I work in the health policy field and "diabetes" as a topic is mentioned often. I just don't want to be the person everyone looks at when it's mentioned, especially because it's often mentioned in the context of obesity or poor health. In addition, I worry it will affect my ability to get another job in the future if too many people know, either because people will see it as a weakness or because I'm so expensive to insure. Finally, I just don't want it to be the thing that people always think about when they are with me. That all said, I have finally (after working at the same place for 7 yrs) started to tell a couple of close coworkers about my D. I've avoided emergencies at work until now, but have had a few close calls. I know I'm pushing my luck.

  2. I'm open about it. My friends know, my co-workers know, most of my customers know because they've asked about my pump. When more people know, I feel safer. I usually wear a leather bracelet that says I'm diabetic and in my phone I have a note under the ICE contacts and personal info saying that I am a Type 1 and that I am on an insulin pump and to call my husband in case of emergency.

    I don't think I could handle being diabetic all alone. The DOC, my friends and my husband are crucial to my good health. I keep my husband 100% involved in my day to day health. He knows when I'm high, low or whatever. A few of my close friends ask about my health, just so they know how I'm feeling, how to time meals when I'm visiting, whatever. It's just a part of life.

  3. Hi Mary. I think this is the 4th comment I've posted tonight. Love your topics. To answer your question, I am pretty open with my diabetes. Since I was diagnosed as a teenager, and kids can be cruel, I wasn't so open about it when I was younger, and I rebelled a lot. Now that I'm older and wiser, I realize the importance of having people around me know that I have diabetes. Of course, there are times when, like applying for a job, or when I recently applied to a very difficult nursing school, when I did not mention it. Unfortunately, there is still discrimination out there that we need to be aware of. But, once I start a job or make new friends and we go out to eat, I will have to test my bloodsugar or bolus on my pump, and I may have a low bloodsugar, so I will tell at least one person. I find that most people are curious and helpful. I also wear a medic alert bracelet. I've always worn one since I was diagnosed. I hope you will think seriously about getting one. It's really important because you might have a low and no one will be around to speak for you. Or, you could be in an accident and if the paramedics and docs don't know you are diabetic, the will immediately start an IV with glucose in it. ~Michele

  4. I really don't care who knows about my diabetes. But then I'm lucky, and have never had any negative experiences with it. When I was teaching, my bosses freely made the necessary accommodations for it, and when I had a low in class, I just told my students (high school) about it, and they just relaxed and chatted until I was ready to resume the lesson.

    All my friends know about it too. Which is a good thing, because last year, I went into a coma, and if they hadn't come looking for me after I didn't show up for a picnic, I would have died. I'm sure it was the knowledge that I had diabetes that prompted them to take action -- otherwise, they might have just figured I'd forgotten.

    I wasn't wearing an ID, which resulted in improper treatment in the hospital, but I've learned my lesson, and wear it, even though it bugs me. (Gotta get one of those cloth ones that don't dangle).

    So, yeah, I definitely advocate openness. If I hadn't been open, you wouldn't have had the questionable pleasure of reading my little note! LOL!!