Dblog week: Language and diabetes

Click for the Language and Diabetes - Wednesday 5/18 Link List.There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I'm willing to bet we've all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don't care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let's explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.
Today was a busy, busy day but a truly wonderful day, despite causing the alarm to go off at work when I got there before anyone else had arrived. Whoops! I spent most of the day at a PRSA Professional Development Day conference. My PRSA people are equivalent to my diabetes people. They create a happy, safe place for me. Today those worlds collided when one of my favorite #dsma friends came to town to attend the conference. YAY! It was great to spend the day with here even though most of the day was spent listening and learning rather than chatting and giggling. 

Since my day was so busy (and yes, I'm about to curl up and work from home while cheering the Thunder on to a victory), this blog won't be much but it will mean a lot to me. 

When I think of diabetes and language I don't think about if we should say "person with diabetes" versus "diabetic". I actually think of the power of words others have said to me about diabetes. I blogged about it shortly after it happened. 

I've shared it several times. I'm over it but I still think it is important to use as a lesson. A lesson of there are incredibly stupid, ignorant people in our society. A lesson of how if we believe we are advocates we should never stop trying to educate people about diabetes. A lesson we should never be ashamed or our diabetes. A lesson we should think of what we say. Prior to attending MasterLab in 2015 I felt there was a disconnect between people who have the various types of diabetes. I still believe that. Rather than uniting under the large umbrella of diabetes and fighting together to secure better care, we are not speaking with each other and fighting our own battles. The power we would have if we held our own unique "personalities" under the same umbrella would be world and life changing. 

With all of that said, here is what I wrote several years. When you read it think of the bigger picture of what you say and the impact it can have, even if those weren't your intentions. We become so irate when people make jokes about diabetes but how often do we joke about the battles other people have? 

From April 2014: http://mischievouskristin.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-pain-of-pretending-to-laugh.html 


  1. I usually refer to myself as a diabetic. But I think my attitude may be generational. After all I was first identified as a diabetic and thought nothing of it. Of course I also thought Pluto was a planet, go figure

    I referred your blog to the TUDiabetes blog page for the week of May 16, 2016.

  2. It is the hardest and often most painful things that stick with us the longest, and give us the best lessons.

  3. Yes, I agree...I don't care what word is used to describe me but the most hurtful words have come from others talking about diabetes.


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