The questions are usually well-intentioned, asked by people who care because they love you or care because they are genuinely interested in learning more about diabetes. Sure, sometimes there’s the rogue comment from the self-anointed diabetes expert who, despite not knowing squat about diabetes, thinks they could cure you with a bowl of okra and cinnamon stew, but that kind of feedback is hopefully not the norm.
But what do you do when the questions and comments are being served to you on the regular? For the moments when you feel equipped for some on-the-fly advocacy, you can engage with that person and give them a little diabetes 411. And that’s always a good feeling.
There can be times when you’re too burnt out to stand on the diabetes advocacy platform, though. Some comments are just exhausting to address.
And for those times, the power of a well-placed gif can make all the difference.
“How is your diabetes going today?”
Such a huge question, and how many details does the person want? Could be a long conversation.
Diabetes is going. It’s handled, Olivia Pope-style. I’ve got my community, my healthcare team, and my methods of managing. Thanks for checking in, though.
“Is your diabetes under control?”
The cat’s eyes both roll in different directions because this question does not even begin to acknowledge the complicated connotation of the word “controlled.”
“Is that a beeper?”
This insulin pump? Is totally a beeper. I just sent a “123” to my pancreas.
“I saw a Reader’s Digest article about reversing diabetes using dandelion root. You should try that.”
There is not a food in the world that can cure diabetes. You can shop until your fur falls off, but you still won’t find a cure. We’ve written about that before. We wish there was a quick fix to jumpstart our pancreases, but at the moment, we’re managing with good food decisions and the medication as prescribed by our medical teams.
“You just need to avoid carbs to cure your diabetes.”
You … you mean the secret has been right here the whole time? Sure, the team at A Sweet Life feels that low carb diets are the best way to manage diabetes, but low carb diets do not cure diabetes. Nothing quite does that, yet. See above.
“My mom’s cat had diabetes.”
This cat gif is a perfect response for that question. I mean purrfect.
“Oh my god, your legs are going to be cut off!”
Who says that to someone?! Opening up a conversation like that is not the best way to break the ice. “Hey, nice new car you have there DID YOU KNOW that car accidents kill 1.3 million people every year?” Yes, we know the risks related to diabetes. And it’s much kinder to assume that people are working to mitigate those risks instead of highlighting ways that diabetes may have an extra impact on our lives.
“At least it’s not [insert other health condition here].”
C’mon … don’t compare diseases. It’s not a contest as to who has “suffered more” or traveled a tougher road. Living with any kind of health condition is a specialized experience and is different for every single person. So no, don’t tell me “at least it’s not …” or “be thankful you don’t have …” I know what I’m grateful for, and what bugs me. I’m doing my best to make sense of this particular issue without adding any additional psychosocial burden, thank you very much.
And this is why we tell our personal diabetes stories … because every single voice matters.