Reactions to Diabetes

When to tell, what to say, and how to handle peoples reactions


By Travis Grubbs

travis_grubb_profile_page_90x90 I am peculiar about my diabetes. I tend to go "both ways" when telling others about my condition. Some times I say that I have diabetes, and some times I say that I am a diabetic. I realize that there is some "dispute" regarding the use of the term diabetic to describe one's condition. A few months ago this issue was brought up in a forum posted at TuDiabetes. The postings revealed some strong feelings about the use of the terms "person with diabetes" versus "diabetic." For me the solution is simple - call yourself by whichever term, or terms, you prefer, and whenever you like.

I freely talk about my diabetes, and even agreed to wear a medical I.D. bracelet on a belt loop (I don't like wearing things on my wrists). However, I don't like testing my blood sugar when others are watching me. I can test in public, etc., but I just do not like being watched. I also do not like non-medical personnel asking me about my blood sugar readings (especially right after testing). This procedure and information is personal to me. I leave my logbook on the kitchen table so that any one (like my wife or some nosey burglar) wanting to know my numbers can review my logbook at their leisure. Just don't ask me to disclose a particular reading. Yes, I agree, I am strange.

To add to my strangeness, I like to judge the reaction of others when I reveal my diabetes. I am amused when they look alarmed or uncomfortable. It's like they are expecting me to display some sort of visible symptom like suddenly turn purple or break out in boils. I recently assured some one that I was not contagious based on their reaction to my disclosing that I was type 2 (another term of choice). Yes, I agree, I can be a real smart butt.

My wife and I were at a party where alcohol was being served. Since alcohol, diabetes, and I, do not agree on a common definition for "moderation", it is best that I stopped consuming alcohol when I was diagnosed with type 2. At this event I brought a six pack of O'Doul's Dark (non-alcohol) Beer. As the evening progressed I heard a woman in the kitchen exclaim: "Who brought the O'Doul's?!" The response was in a more hushed tone: "That belongs to Travis. He can't drink anymore, he has diabetes." This was followed by "Oh…."

I try not to be offended when some one gives me a sympathetic look when they learn of my condition, because I am just as guilty of giving the same sympathetic look when parents tell me that their child is type 1. Children (and dogs) are my weak spot, and they should not be subjected to chronic conditions. I also feel for the parents having to confront their child's condition, battle the insurance company for their child's medical treatment, supplies, etc. On more than one occasion I have been brought to tears while reading, on blogs, social networking sites, etc., a parent's account of dealing with their child's condition.

I enjoy meeting others that have diabetes. I appreciate the smile that I receive when I respond, "But you look so normal", when some one reveals to me that they have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. I find that such smiles are encouraging and understanding. Only one sharing a common bond can respond in such a manner.

Read more of Travis Grubbs' Turn the Page columns here.

dLife's Daily Living columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team to find out what will work best for you.


Last Modified Date: May 15, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

More on this Topic

No items are associated with this tag

Sign up for FREE dLife Newsletters

dLife Membership is FREE! Get exclusive access, free recipes, newsletters, savings, and much more! FPO

You are subscribed!
You are subscribed!
You are subscribed!
2341 Views 0 comments
by Brenda Bell
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...
  • Watch dLifeTV online now!

    Click here for more info