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A flurry of people gossip about diabetes.

Comments That Require Education

I have never worn my diabetes on my sleeve but lately, well, I guess I have been…literally. Since the hot and humid weather has arrived, my libre sensor now shows. My diabetes now shows. I have been asked questions by quite a few as they had seen the ads for the sensor in tv. It has given me an opportunity to educate about diabetes but it also has given me pause to think about some of the comments made. Not that all the comments were bad, they were typical but somehow surprising when they shouldn’t have been.

“Oh, I didn’t know you were diabetic”

…and? I always wonder if there should be more to that statement. I am very tempted to say, yes I am and walk away, then watch to see what their reaction is. If I’m feeling a bit irritable or annoyed at the statement, I might just try that once. It is, however, a reasonable comment I guess. If you didn’t know me well then true enough, you wouldn’t know I am diabetic. My response is the same. I acknowledge that yes I am. I usually add some explanation which I’m not obliged to but I do like to educate and advocate.

“We had gestational diabetes at the same time but I’m not diabetic now.”

Well, bully for you! I guess I won the lottery. Out of all the negative comments that have been made to me lately, that one makes my head explode. Oh, if only I were a cartoon and you could see what was written in the dialogue bubble over my head. That comment is not only insensitive, but it’s also a dumb comment to make. Not everyone who has gestational diabetes will go on to have type 2. The risk is greater but it not inevitable. Again, time to educate.

“I can’t believe you’re diabetic! You’re so skinny.”

I am of two or three minds with this comment. First, I’m not ‘skinny.’ I am a healthy weight and my BMI is where it should be. Let’s get away from words like that. Skinny is really a fat-shaming word. Let’s talk about healthy instead. Second, even if I were ‘skinny,’ genetics plays a role in type 2 diabetes. Not everyone who lives with type 2 diabetes has weight issues. Time to educate again. Third, I wasn’t always the healthy weight I am now. I was overweight in the past, leaning on obese. I really didn’t appreciate the ‘skinny’ comment because I still worry about my weight. The context here, the person who said it is a kind person, she meant no harm but she did need education.

“I’ve seen those (sensors) on tv. How does it work? You don’t have to poke anymore?”

I actually rather enjoy these comments. I get to openly talk about the positives in the advancement of technology that helps folks with diabetes live healthier. I get to say briefly how I like not having to poke myself 4-5+ times a day. I can educate. I also get to complain a little about how I have to pay out of pocket for them. With the good, comes the bad. I still pay for them because I can. This starts dialogue and advocacy for change so that these sensors are covered by insurance and seen as a better, cheaper way to self-monitor.

And lastly, it wasn’t a comment, it was a look. Standing in line at Walmart, a little guy about 4-5 years old was acting his young age and frustrating his mom a bit. Then there was silence. I turned and realized he was looking at my arm. I knew he wanted to ask me but I’m pretty sure his mom told him not to. Next time, I think I’ll ask him if he has any questions. Let’s educate the young. He was adorable.

I’m sure you have all experienced both good and bad comments when others realize you live with diabetes. Please feel free to share.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Thomas A McAtee Jr. moderator
    3 months ago

    Know what you mean. I have a friend that’s diabetic himself yet he’ll make comments about someone’s weight as well. I’ll just ignore him. He’s in his seventies with so many things wrong with him now.

    I will remind wife that there’s a lot of ‘skinny’ people that are diabetic as well that it runs in family. Hard to accept that by a lot of people.
    I try to explain things to people that has had family members with diabetes and still get ‘deer in headlights’ from them as well.

  • Shelley, TheLongPointGirl moderator author
    2 months ago

    It takes a long time to change how people think. This is a good example of that.

  • Shelley, TheLongPointGirl moderator author
    2 months ago

    I know! People don’t always understand no matter how much we try to explain. But we keep trying. ‍♀️‍♀️

  • Thomas A McAtee Jr. moderator
    2 months ago

    The dietitian I used to see told me that he’s constantly working hard on not becoming diabetic. He’s a ‘pre-diabetic’. Said that it runs in his family as well. He’s skinny as can be and constantly goes to the gym to work out. Yet people find it so hard to believe all the time.

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