Don’t Tell Me How My Diabetes Affects Me

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0

I like to think that I am fairly tolerant of people asking me questions about my diabetes. From “What’s that thing on your arm?” to “What do glucose tablets taste like?”, I’ve heard quite the gamut of queries from friends and strangers alike over the years. More often than not, I try to provide honest and thoughtful answers to these questions and field follow-ups with patience.

I don’t respond well, though, when someone TELLS me something about my diabetes rather than ASKING me. It’s one thing if you’re telling me something that you know to be factually correct about diabetes as a whole, but it’s completely different if you’re telling me something about my diabetes as it pertains to me alone. And when I say “I don’t respond well” to that, I mean to say I keep smiling on the surface, but on the inside, I’m seething.

It’s been awhile since I’ve dealt with annoying assertions of this nature; unfortunately, this past week I had to grin and bear through two incidents in which I was being told what I should and should not do. (Note that I chose to not specify when and where each comment occurred, for my privacy and the privacy of others!)

Scenario One: At an undisclosed location, I’m helping myself to dinner. I add a cookie to my plate. A person in the vicinity says, “You shouldn’t be having that!”

This is a classic case of what you should never say to a person with diabetes. Most T1Ds will tell people that we can eat whatever we like, as long as we do so in moderation and remember to bolus for it accordingly. I was a little taken aback to hear this remark considering this person has known me since birth; therefore, they should realize I know how to take care of my diabetes by now. Initially, I was annoyed with this comment, but I decided to be graceful about it and say, “Yes, I can have that—I can eat whatever I like, within reason,” before exiting the room.

Scenario Two: At an undisclosed location, I’m cold, so I wrap myself in a blanket. A person in the vicinity says to someone else close by, “Molly has poor circulation because of her diabetes. That’s why she’s always cold.”

In the 18.5 years that I’ve had diabetes, I’ve never had someone tell me that it’s the reason why I get cold from time to time…just like anybody else might, whether or not they have a chronic illness. This comment really bothered me because I’ve had plenty of conversations with the individual about my diabetes, and I’ve never once linked it to my body temperature. Last time I checked, my circulation is perfectly normal. No doctor has ever told me that it’s poor. Plus, with air conditioners being put on full blast all summer long, I think it would be natural to get a little cold after sitting inside all day long without exposure to the sun’s warmth. I wish I had said something to put this person in their place, but wanting to avoid confrontation, I forced a smile and changed the subject.

In both of these situations, I probably wouldn’t have felt irritated if these comments were phrased at questions. Believe it or not, there’s a huge difference between telling me that my diabetes affects my circulation and asking me whether it does. Regardless of how diabetes-related remarks, queries, jokes, and references are phrased, though, I’ll still try hard to handle them with poise and a smile. I may internalize my frustration at the time of a bothersome statement, but it’s there and it does get to me.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0

Comments (5)

  1. When I get annoyed by the stupidity of others I turn into a smart alec. Well, really Ia m sort of a smart alec anyway, so I guess it comes naturally.

    I referred your article to the TUDiabetes.org blog page for the week of August 8, 2016.

  2. Bryan Johannes at

    Love reading your stuff. Keep up the good work.

  3. Dennis Dacey at

    Well said Molly; during the 60 years that I’ve been managing my diabetes I’ve had many people telling me what I should be doing and what I shouldn’t eat or do. [I say “managing diabetes” because T1D has a mind of its own and can not be controlled]

    My response often is, “… oh really, is that how you take care of YOUR diabetes?”. The common reply I usually hear is, “… well no. but …”

  4. Earl Prinsloo at

    This is a great article Molly. Very relevant to what we face as T1 Diabetics. The worst for me is when people tell me I shouldn’t test my blood glucose THAT often, that I should totally cut carbs out of my diet, that this is reversible and I shouldn’t take my insulin and solely control my blood glucose with diet and exercise. I just smile and feel sorry for them and their blissful ignorance 🙂

  5. Molly at

    Thank you very much for the comments, everyone 🙂

Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

***The opinions and views expressed in this blog belong to the individual contributor and not to ASweetLife or its editors. All information contained on this blog is intended for informational purposes only. The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.