Things People Say About Type 1 Diabetes

I know a lot of people who read my blog are friends of my parents or friends on Facebook. For those people I wanted to clear up some confusion. For the people who read my blog that have diabetes or know people with diabetes, this will probably just make you laugh.

The following are things people ask/tell people with Type 1 diabetes that are completely inaccurate and sometimes insensitive. Before I was diagnosed I had no idea about what people with Type 1 diabetes go through, and I am sure I would have asked someone similar questions had I had the opportunity. So its not anyone’s fault that we as Type 1 diabetics get asked stuff like this, but its still annoying.

1) “But you’re not fat!” Type 1 diabetes doesn’t have anything to do with body weight. It is an auto-immune disease in which–for whatever reason– the pancreas does not produce any insulin, and therefore cannot combat rising levels of glucose due to carbohydrates and sugar in the blood.

2) “I know you can’t eat this.” Actually…I have Type 1 diabetes, I can eat pretty much whatever I want. I just have to give myself enough insulin to cover whatever carbs/sugar I’m about to eat. As previously mentioned, Type 1 diabetes doesn’t have anything to do with weight. People with Type 2 can carefully monitor their diets and sometimes minimize or reverse the effects of their diabetes. But those of us with Type 1 will have it forever, unless there is a cure.

3) “You obviously have Type 2 because you were diagnosed when you were 21.” Type 1 diabetes used to be called Juvenile Diabetes, and many people still refer to it as such. However, Type 1 can happen to anyone at any age with out cause or explanation. Mary Tyler Moore, who is one of the world’s most famous Type 1 diabetics, wasn’t diagnosed until her mid-30’s.  Most Type 1’s are diagnosed in childhood as their pancreases stop functioning more quickly. However, I have no good explanation as to why mine decided to give up 20 years later, but it did.

4) “When will it go away.” It won’t. There is not yet a known cure for diabetes.

5) “What did you do that caused it.” Nothing. Diabetes is not preventable and until you have it, there aren’t any signs that you do. (Unless you have a genetic predisposition and view that as a sign.)

6) “That’s gross.” This is in reference to shots, finger pricks, my pump, other people’s pumps etc. Some people have asked me to leave the room they are in while I am checking my sugar, and others have gotten disgusted at the sight of me giving myself a shot. I know other diabetics who have told me similar stories, as well as non-diabetics who have informed me that I am not “gross about my diabetes” unlike other people whom they know. Before I was diagnosed, I probably would have been bothered  by seeing blood from someone else at my dinner table, or watching someone give themselves a shot. However, I feel that it is important that people see what diabetics have to go through, as it promotes awareness. I never check my sugar just on a table at a restaurant. However I will check it with my meter in my lap and my hand under the table, and if someone asks I will show them. I have given myself shots in public as well. When I receive odd looks, I feel that it is important that I don’t run to a bathroom and hide my disease. That being said, I dispose of everything appropriately and use alcohol wipes and hand sanitizer. Once I had a meeting with my teacher about the class I had missed while I was in the hospital immediately following my diagnosis. I was very paranoid of having a low blood sugar at the time, as I had not experienced one yet. When I was in her office, I realized I was having my first one. I asked her to stop speaking as I was sweating and could not concentrate on what she was saying. I told her my sugar was low and I needed to check it. She said “I think it would be best if you did that in the bathroom.” So I stumbled down the hallway and up a flight of stairs and sat in the corner on the floor and checked it. I don’t remember how low it was, I just remember feeling very ashamed and embarrassed of how she had treated me. Diabetes is not gross. Its unfortunate. That teacher was a horrible woman anyway.

Can other diabetics think of any annoying things that they here?? Let me know!


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. DiabeticallyYours
    Mar 19, 2012 @ 15:08:29

    Haha you’re right! That actually made me giggle!


  2. jocelynmchenryarruda
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 16:45:11

    Let’s see…”I thought you were a diabetic?! You can’t eat that! You can’t have that glass of wine!” (just watch me!), “Its not a big deal…I know a lot of people with Type 2…just take that pill!” (Where do I begin…?)


  3. divabetic913
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 18:04:53

    I know! Today I went to the supermarket and they had a special women’s health diabetes issue…so I opened it…everything was about how to prevent diabetes. They should specify one type or the other next time!


  4. lovehatediabetes
    Mar 21, 2012 @ 18:15:26

    Ugh! I definitely agree with this. I used to be so ashamed to have diabetes. I was diagnosed in 9th grade. I used to leave the same class every day to go and check my sugar, and give insulin for my lunch that day. I would never do it at the lunch table with my friends until about 10th grade.
    As far with others, my grandma ALWAYS asks, “so how are your sugars running”? Really drives me crazy. She’s not the only one that says that. It just drives me nuts. I have to wonder why they think it is any of their business. Oh well, at least they care. Or she will say, “sorry I didn’t make anything you could eat for dessert”. Well actually grandma, I can. Every time! ha


    • divabetic913
      Mar 21, 2012 @ 18:37:53

      I know! My dad is always asking “how are your sugars” and its like…what does that even mean? When I was first diagnosed he asked me after every doctor’s appointment if they “were going to be able to completely eradicate it” Finally I blew up at him because I just found it totally insensitive that as my dad he kept asking me that.


      • lovehatediabetes
        Mar 21, 2012 @ 23:57:06

        Yeah, that’s a tough situation. My mom was with me when I was diagnosed, and has helped me and pushed me through it all. She, for the most part, understands what I have to do and what not, but there is so much she doesn’t know. My dad on the other hand, never really talked to me about it. I think he just assumed I would be fine. Not sure if he even knows what it is. Wow, that makes him sound horrible, but it is what it is. We are close, but some things aren’t spoken about. I don’t necessarily think it’s right, but what do ya do!

      • divabetic913
        Mar 22, 2012 @ 00:06:55

        I know what you mean. My boyfriend is the one who sat through my insulin pump training with me. I don’t have to explain anything to him. I say “low” and he hands me sugar. My mom was really there for me as well, but she still doesn’t get the tiny intricacies of it. Like if I say I’m low she asks me if I am wearing my pump or if I need insulin. Or when I complain about issues I have with my pump she asks why I don’t just do shots. My dad…he just does not get it. He just keeps saying “you are going to be cured soon.” And I know thats him comforting himself. And yea, I am optimistic about a cure…but its annoying to hear that when my sugar is high and I am just trying to explain how I feel. That’s why I explain diabetes to anyone who will listen. I tell people everywhere I go. The more people who are understanding the better the awareness is.

      • jocelynmchenryarruda
        Mar 22, 2012 @ 08:21:14

        I can relate…my Mom always means well, but before I pack up and fly out to visit her, she goes grocery shopping…uh oh! The she always always says things such as, “I bought you special whole wheat bread! and whole wheat pasta! You can eat that, right?! Thats ok, right?! And I got eggs!” This kills me every time, lol. (I don’t really eat pasta anyways, but I prefer whole wheat EVERYTHING b/c its better for EVERYONE, lol) I’m also a vegetarian, so this really throws her…she insists on substituting beans for every dish that calls for meat…:-)

  5. divabetic913
    Mar 22, 2012 @ 08:57:44

    Yea, I ate whole wheat b4 my diagnosis/was vegetarian b4 as well. My dad doesn’t eat meat either and my mom was one for a time so they are really good about the veggie bit…With diabetes my dad will like offer me his chocolate cake after we’ve gone out for dinner and I had like pasta or whatever. And when I am like “i really can’t eat all of those carbs right now” he gets miserably depressed. My mom will cook weird experimental stuff assuming that I cannot eat anything. Its like they are on opposite sides of the spectrum. However, my mom did make pudding out of tofu and honey once-which was delicious.


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