What do we call this "condition"

By roshy Latest Reply 2011-11-24 04:28:03 -0600
Started 2011-11-08 07:48:26 -0600

OK people of the site, im asking a question what do you call your diabetes??
Ive had type one for nearly eight years and i remember when i was newly diagnosed i hates the teram 'diabetic' I felt like eh no, im a person with diabetes not a diabetes labelled person!!! then over time i didnt mind what people said whether it was the doctors in the hospital or my friends referring to my diabetes!! sure its only a term at the end of the day!!!
Ive talked to others on the site and they referr to it as a disability! i can agree to some level. I believe disability occurs pyhsicaly but emotionally and socially and extremely psychologicaly ! I think we have all had our moments when we felt isolated or discriminated in some form! However diabetes is a discredited disability because our impairment is not immeditaly recognised byt the rest of society!! therefore we deal with the isolation and prejudices alone!!

Ok then theres the big D word!!! DISEASE!!! i think if i was to confirm that i wam living with a disease i would get pretty pesimistic farely fast!!! And lets not forget chronic illnes. !! Degenerative terminal illness!! auto immune defficincy !! ouch!! they sting a little bit more dont they???

And being a type one theres the whole needle poppin, finger pricking aspect!! what am i ? a human pin cushion, a slave to the needle and meter!! a liberal self harmer!! forever dependant on clear juice!! ive recently start pumping so now i referr to myself as half human half machine!!!!!

So when your asked to describe your condition what do you say??
I suppose diabetic needle popper is a simple way of putting it! but does reality set in when you are described with a chronic disease??

Shine a little light on this topic and share some experiences!!
Thanks for reading!!!

80 replies

TrixieRed 2011-11-15 17:14:14 -0600 Report

I was diagnosed about 13 years ago (holy goodness— has it really been that long!?) I believe doctors referred to Diabetes simply as a disease, and I, myself, called it this for many years.

It wasn't until I had to fill out legal documents for health insurance assistance, that I learned to refer to my "disease" as a CHRONIC ILLNESS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronic_illness) Sounds a little less threatening than "DISEASE" but yes, still sounds pretty serious. And, no, I do not really have any problem referring to it as such. It is what it is, and that is just something I have to accept.

JenDF 2011-11-14 08:47:29 -0600 Report

When I'm walking with Step Out, the ADA calls me a Red Stider; when I'm riding the Tour de Cure, the ADA calls me a Red Rider. I call myself a warrior. My six year old daughter calls me a hero. My boys (9 and 10) call me the Diabetes Ninja. And sometimes, my best friend calls me Lady Pokesalot.

On top of fighting type 1 diabetes (you mentioned pricking and poking - I have to test 8+ times a day and inject insulin 4 times a day), I also have Hashimoto's and possibly Addison's (the blood work is still pending). They are all auto-immune diseases. The diabetes took the entire top row of my teeth before I even knew I was diabetic. I was diagnosed with everything during the last 6 months. I did get a little down about it for about 10 seconds, but then I realized I have three beautiful kids to get healthy and be strong for. When we let ourselves take the time to get depressed over it, that's less time that we spend fighting it and working toward a cure.

Diabetes is an endocrine disease, plain and simple. Does it really need a nickname? Probably not. But it DOES need to be talked about - to everyone. Let people say what they will; we cannot control the thought of others.

Caroltoo 2011-11-14 11:12:25 -0600 Report

Thanks for sharing this, JenDF. I applaud your attitude and spirit!!!!! Carol

JenDF 2011-11-15 20:47:15 -0600 Report

I have to say: I think my kids have been great warriors when it some to this fight. How many kids will ask that they only get one piece of candy from each house during trick-or-treating? Their reasoning was "mom can't have it because she's diabetic. If it's not good for her, it's not good for us". They make me so proud.

Mickey/CCHT 2011-11-14 09:01:43 -0600 Report

Wow! You just got slammed! I love your spirit though…you refuse to let this beat you or define you! God Bless you. I'm so glad you are here. The support on this site is awesome. I've learned alot and continue to be inspired by people like you and the other wonderful people here. Blessings, Mickey

nzingha 2011-11-12 11:47:12 -0600 Report

I am Nzingha.. thats my name and i have diabetes .. call it condition, disease, disability,.. whatever.. i just happen to be among the millions with this sickness. Now I have no problems telling people that I have it and i wear an armband that advertises it to anyone who comes close enough because I am not ashamed to say I have it and people need to know in case i pass out in front of them..thnk god have not reached that stage yet… I did not bring this on myself.. its inherited. I got a new boss the other day and he was calling me in my lunch time for some foolishness. I do NOT interrupt my lunch to take calls from anyone except my mother and 2 children and they know they must only call between 1-2pm if there's one. So after lunch I contacted him and did the work. then i sent him a personal e-mail explaining that I must NOT be disturbed bet 1-2pm because etc etc… yep…its as easy as that!

pixsidust 2011-11-11 14:44:47 -0600 Report

Just remember people generally call you by name, not your maladies.
We think about it more because its a way of life… for life…for us
Non diabetics probably do not think of it as much as we think they do
or as much as we would hope that they do.
The real label we have is our names, John, James, Mary, Christy, etc…
Just as we do not call people by their work titles such a Secretary or Accountant… its Mary or John. We can share according to comfort
or not share for the same reason. At least we hopefully have those who love us but no matter what we have each other here…What a relief!

sallicia 2011-11-10 23:55:22 -0600 Report

I have had Type 1 Diabetes for 42 years and type2 Diab tes for the last two years! And It is a Condition and Disabilty! And Because of severe Insulin Reactions I can't Work! I also have Mobilty Problems because of my diabetes! I have to walk with a cane in side and outside I have to use a walker!

nzingha 2011-11-12 11:38:05 -0600 Report

u can have both? oh my God!

sallicia 2011-11-12 11:50:50 -0600 Report

Yes you can have both types of diabetes! That is what my Diabetic Doctor told my parents When I was frist diagnosed! But you have to have Type1 Diabetes as a young person!Although I have a friend in Illinois that got Type1 Diabetes in her thrities! You also have to have a Fanily History of Diabetes in your Family ! And what that means is somenoe in your family had to have Diabetes somewhere along the line. But to become a type2 diabetic your body has to resist insulin! Ahd my body has! I'm not trying to scare you, or anybodyeles! sallicia

GabbyPA 2011-11-11 08:54:21 -0600 Report

How do you go from type 1 to type 2? I have never heard of it going that direction.

sallicia 2011-11-11 10:05:57 -0600 Report

Well you have to be what the Doctors call Insulinn Resistant.

GabbyPA 2011-11-12 08:18:50 -0600 Report

Oh, okay. I thought at that point is where it became "brittle". I guess I have to do some more research on that. Thanks.

sallicia 2011-11-12 10:39:38 -0600 Report

GABBY, That is the point where "brittle" comes in,but the "brittle" also comes in because of the"severe"high" and "low" bloodsugars. And the "high and"low" bloodsugars could kill any type 1 diabetic! sallicia

Nonna2Three 2011-11-10 21:14:34 -0600 Report

I have often seen it referred to as a disease, but in my humble opinion it should be referred to as a condition.

The way I see it a disease can be spread from person to person - a condition applies to a specific person and is not spread through the same manner diseases are spread.

Also. I have no issues saying I am a Diabetic. I also have no issues saying I am a Type 2 Diabetic. I have not yet encountered anyone who was negative in regard to my being T2, but if I ever do I will simply state that I do own a lot of the responsibility for my condition because, as a picky eater, I never ate a healthy balanced diet. I would then take the opportunity to advise them that if there is any family history of Diabetes that they would be well served to research the connection between foods and Diabetes and try to start implementing some Diabetic eating habits as soon as they can to not only hold off developing the condition, but also to make it easier to adapt and live with the condition should they ever develop it.

christelly 2011-11-13 10:55:09 -0600 Report

I agree with you totally. I am a newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic, but am very happy to report that I do NOT have to take meds or insulin. Proper managent and a controlled diet appears to work well for me, as I have lost considerable weight and I do feel ever so much bertter. Personally, I think I was misdiagnosed for years as being hypoglycemic, but what is really cool is that I do not have to give up natural sugar totally!!!! People who think of this as a disease appear to be more negative in their outlook. Diabetes is a favt of life so deal…

medic673b 2011-11-12 21:36:46 -0600 Report

your like an ostrich. Diabetes is a disease and will always be so rather you want to call it one or not

Nonna2Three 2011-11-13 07:07:02 -0600 Report

And apparently you are are like a Pit Bull - let it go, it is MY opinion and I have the right to own it and express it. If you keep coming back to my post and pointing out that my opinion is wrong because it is different than your opinion then I will have to apologize to the Pit Bulls and refer to you as a Troll.

valentine lady
valentine lady 2011-11-10 18:16:56 -0600 Report

You are what you are! A diabetic! Why not call it what it is? I do and usually I'm asked questions concerning diabetes that I would rather answer then let them believe old wives tales and STUFF so and so told them. I educate I guess. I'm certainly not thrilled I'm a diabetic, but I have never been shunned or treated that I'm differant. I believe you deal with the cards your dealt and honestly. Valentine Lady

Caroltoo 2011-11-10 18:31:20 -0600 Report

Valentine Lady:

It's very true that you are what you are. I am a person. I have a condition called diabetes. I take care of it and refuse to let it be me. I am more than a disease.

It's really all a matter of perspectivve and may seem like a play with words, but it feels very empowering to me.

valentine lady
valentine lady 2011-11-11 11:23:41 -0600 Report

Carol: Then what do you refer to your diabetes as? I'm a person too, first and foremost but I don't beat around the bush when someone askes and they do ask. Espically at lunches and dinners. I can't say "I have a condition." That leads to many off the wall thoughts and eventually the question, "What is your condition?" "It's not cancer or something like that is it?" When I first became diabetic I know because I was ashamed to admit I had diabetes. It may seem like a play with words on my part to. But it empowers me to just say it, answer any questions that may come up and get on with it. My way works too. Peggy

Caroltoo 2011-11-11 11:45:38 -0600 Report

I'm very open with telling people that I have diabetes. I talk about it easily and don't feel embarrassed. That has led me into many situations even in the workplace where I've started small informal support groups around the topic of living better with diabetes.

The point I was making here is that as a person, there is so much more to me than just my diabetes. It doesn't define me. I am a mom, grandmother, pastor's wife, and therapist, who loves kids, cats, and walking on the beach, and happens to have diabetes. I take care of my health, but I'm not defined by it.

Like I said, it's really more a matter of focus, of how I see myself and, as a result of that, how other people see me. People see me as a relative, friend, or a professional person, not as a diabetic.

Uncle Lew
Uncle Lew 2011-11-10 16:19:41 -0600 Report

I am a person with a condition. I always say I am diabetic if or when the occasion arises. Other wise who cares. Its nobody’s business but mine. I wear a Medic Alert dog tag rather than a bracelet so not to call attention to my condition. I am not ashamed or embarrassed about having diabetes but I do not want to be labeled by all the ignorant and just plain jackasses out there.
When asked what diabetes is I say it is a condition that causes problems regulating glucose levels in my body. I avoid the word sugar, again because of ignorance and jackassism (if that’s a word and if not, should be). I also avoid using the words disease and chronic. There is just too much that most people do not understand about diabetes and I do want to be bothered with their folklore, old wife’s tales, misconceptions, ignorance and non-sense.
I may sound bitter but I am not. I want to go about living my live as everyone else does and not be bothered with dribble.
I try to amass as much information on diabetes in general and on how it affects me in particular in order to live a life as “normal” as “normal” people do.
Godspeed, Uncle Lew. :)

Mickey/CCHT 2011-11-12 20:57:30 -0600 Report

I have to say that i totally agree with what you are saying. I don't announce it to people, but when it comes out I just state i have diabetes, and then start tallking about all the positive changes i have made.
The ignorant ones promote negativity and false info about D so i try and fight it with being positive and educate when people are willing to listen. Even if it changes one persons perceptions, then that is ok.
Keep on Rockin! Mickey

P.S. I second the vote to make jackassism an offical word!!!!

RebC 2011-11-10 14:07:52 -0600 Report

I don't like calling it a disability. Or a disease. It's just a fact of life. I always refer to myself as insulin dependent diabetic. If they have to ask if I give myself shots, then I'll tell them…usually people just accept it and go on their way, and probably google it later to find out the dirty details. :)

medic673b 2011-11-12 21:38:48 -0600 Report

like it or not its a disease it does not matter rather or not you want to call it one or not. The medical comunity has spoken and it is a disease

locarbarbie 2011-11-10 08:52:05 -0600 Report

Ok…I am going to age myself here!! I have only been diagnosed as Type 2 D for 16 months. When I was younger, the D word was prounounced: die a bee tes. Now, it is prounounced: die a bee teez. So, every time I would speak to someone about the D word, I would find myself stumbling over the correct proununciation. Now I just say that I am diabetic, it rolls off the tongue much easier for me. I don't get all hung up about the fact whether "diabetic" defines me…cuz it kinda does. There is not a day that goes by that I am not researching facts on diabetes, reading blogs or discussions, developing recipes, monitoring my bs, boring my daughter silly with my findings or concerns, etc. This diagnoses has been in a way a blessing in disguse for me. It has forced me to open my eyes to the effect that I have finally quit smoking (14 weeks without a cigarette), lost 34 lbs (still working on losing more, but slow going), and think before I put anything past my lips. I look and feel healthier than I have in a long time.

Mickey/CCHT 2011-11-09 19:07:21 -0600 Report

I'm just a person that has a medical condition called diabetes. I'm not defined by something that i take medication for! Do people with hypertension describe themselves as a potential heartattack? Whatever, I'm just an everyday women trying to make a living and i changed my lifestyle to be healthier!

TsalagiLenape 2011-11-09 14:52:19 -0600 Report

I as well as others call this the Curse. Yet it can be then again it can be dealt with thus I am here trying to learn all the time.

MrsCDogg 2011-11-09 05:47:46 -0600 Report

It is merely another thing which describes me. I have auburn hair, blue eyes, big feet, a warped sense of humor, no tattoos, pierced ears, and I also have diabetes.

GabbyPA 2011-11-09 17:39:34 -0600 Report

Yes, I agree with this thinking 100%! It is part of us, not all of us. It is what makes me, me...but it doesn't own me. I hope that people first see me as a funny gal who is creative and loves the outdoors. I'm sure they see me as other less flattering things as well, but I can dream.

MoeGig 2011-11-08 21:19:57 -0600 Report

I wear a noticeable black wrist band the says "Type 1 Diabetic" in white letters. I guess it's like going to AA meetings where you say "I am an alcoholic"…if you can't do that, then you won't seriously pursue the control you need to manage it.

Uncle Lew
Uncle Lew 2011-11-10 15:45:52 -0600 Report

I se no reason to flaunt that you are have a chronic illness. It is bad enough to be labeled a diabetic let alone telling everyone you are one.

MoeGig 2011-11-11 18:14:16 -0600 Report

Yes, but what if you're semi or totally unconscious…as happens on occasion (rare hopefully), it's nice to let the person know exactly what the problem is. Totally (and respectfully) disagree with your point of view.

Uncle Lew
Uncle Lew 2011-11-12 15:02:16 -0600 Report

That is why I wear a Medi Alert tag which describes my conditions and provides 24/7 phone number that can be callled detailing all my conditions, listing all my medications with dosages and frequency taken, contact person and doctors. Far superior to a black wrist band.

atherosdragon 2011-11-10 21:29:54 -0600 Report

While I don't flaunt my diabetes, I don't try to hide it either. In fact, when I found out that one of my managers didn't know I was diabetic it surprised me. Often, I just take out my meter and my insulin and give my shot right where I am, whether it's in the cereal aisle at the grocery store, at the table at a restaurant, or at my desk at work. My theory is, if it makes you uncomfortable don't look. The fact that I have to do it is inconvenience enough, I'm not about to go make it even more so by hiding in the unsanitary restroom.

Uncle Lew
Uncle Lew 2011-11-12 15:40:21 -0600 Report

I do not hide the fact that I have diabetes and I am not ashamed to have the disease. I too take my meter out and test when I need to. I use insulin pens to be more discrete about taking my insulin where ever and when ever I need to.
I see no need to walk around broadcasting it with a BLACK BAND. I define myself by many other things with diabetes being a very small component of that definition. I do not need to wear a label to announce to the mostly ignorant world that I have diabetes. Read some of the posts from one of our fellow community member saber 22 and the problems he has encountered. Why open yourself the attitudes of the ignorant. There are much better things to do in this life.

nzingha 2011-11-12 18:47:14 -0600 Report

actually my band is an attractive silver bracelet that says I am diabetic and I think its important for people to know, just in case I pass out.. thnk God it hasnt happened yet… but one never knows what will happen with this thing. My diabetes DOES NOT DEFINE ME… but people around me who interact really close need to know.

dietcherry 2011-11-08 21:34:26 -0600 Report

I like that Moe!!

MoeGig 2011-11-08 21:55:13 -0600 Report

Yes, it's a band like the Lance Armstrong yellow band which I'm sure you've seen. I have a black one and a red one…these are my choice of "accessories" when I go out..:>)

jayabee52 2011-11-08 20:24:45 -0600 Report

Howdy Roisin!
I myself prefer to refer to myself as a Person with diabetes. That comes from working in a hospital as a Certified Nurse aide where we were not to refer to a patient as "the gall bladder in bed 2" We were to affirm that they were more than their diagnosis, they were a person.

However if someone calls me a diabetic, I don't come unhinged or try to pointedly correct them. I do, however use my preferred term in speaking about it

For me as a T2 it is a condition that I manage either with a meal plan or with medication (when needed).



medic673b 2011-11-10 21:57:45 -0600 Report

as a paramedic and somebody who has worked in ER's and who has a doctor for an uncle i can assure you it is a disease not a condition having pimples is a condition

sadi23 2011-11-08 22:06:33 -0600 Report

I worked for years in nursing home as well, i get what your saying. I am "just a mess" I don't care what my many diagnoses, I meanly want treatment for all that I have, knowing a diagnose, is how I educate myself to do the very best i can, to live as comfortable and as long as I can…Call me what you want, but help me if you can..God bless you all and thanks for your help…Teri

jayabee52 2011-11-08 22:08:45 -0600 Report

You are most welcome Teri!

sadi23 2011-11-08 23:09:05 -0600 Report

James, I feel very fortunate to call you my friend..I continue to read what you share, and find we have things in common. I loved being a CNA and almost a LPN, but decided to change my career a bit. Your a kind man and a asset to this DC site, as many members are, helping others on this site.

I feel a friendship between us, through our posts. Thank you for being my friend and someone I can say, "I loved working in many Nursing Homes, Alzheimers Unit & Alzheimers Hospital, Mental Hospital and Mental illness Treatment Centers, Developmental Disabilities, Seniors, Mentally Ill, and with the Learning Disabled".

** I am sorry I got off subject, I should of wrote an email if I were to go off subject…I aplogize… "God Bless everyone & he watch over you & yours"… Teri

Mickey/CCHT 2011-11-09 19:04:57 -0600 Report

I agree! James is a wonderful person, as you are as well. We are lucky to have so many wonderful people here. I feel blessed to be a part of this. Blessings to you and yours, Mickey

sadi23 2011-11-09 21:12:17 -0600 Report

Mickey/CCHT Thank you for the kind words…I am on a few different Connect Sites, and DC has daily activity, and wonderful members…I am luck to have such great friends here…Lots of hugs…Teri

jayabee52 2011-11-09 00:30:22 -0600 Report

No apologies necessary Teri! Your reply was appropriate IMO and I am glad to call you "friend" too.

I had started out in a nursing home in Nebraska and after about 9 mos there followed my (then) wife and family to Nevada where she had gotten a teaching position. After I got my paperwork straightened out with NV I hired into a home health agency. I loved the work there. I also for the last couple years hired out to an agency which placed me into Hospitals, Hospices and nursing homes to fill in on weekends. I also enjoyed that. I had twice hoped to start training to become a RN, but each time disturbing events in my life stopped me from starting the program.

And then I was disabled by 3 ministrokes /TIAs in Dec 2005 and as I was attempting to make a comeback into the world of work, disabled again by kidney failure in Nov 2006.

Blessings to you and yours


dietcherry 2011-11-08 17:22:14 -0600 Report

I state that I am diabetic; I prefer it over saying I have diabetes or am a PWD although I know this isnt popular opinion.
To me it just means Ive claimed it, my constant companion, enemy mine—it hasnt claimed me.

Type1Lou 2011-11-08 17:16:30 -0600 Report

I use the term diabetic and readily admit I have diabetes. Either term suits me just fine. Diabetes does not define "Me". I never felt it impeded my career. Yes, I've had to make accommodations in my habits and lifestyle if I want to manage my diabetes and ensure the healthiest life I can possibly have. After more than 35 years as a Type 1, I have the beginnings of some complications (retinopathy and neuropathy) but hope tightening up my control will keep them from progressing any further. It is what it is. How we each CHOOSE to deal with it is up to us.

MEGriff1950 2011-11-08 17:12:47 -0600 Report

We all have many lables attached to us. I am a diabetic, woman, disabled, old, blonde, sister, mother, grandmother, obese, beautiful, Christian, pc addict, alcoholic, and I have been called a lot of things I can't mention here.

GabbyPA 2011-11-08 15:10:41 -0600 Report

I am not one to worry too much on what I call it. I usually say "I have diabetes or I am diabetic" either works for me. My husband broadcasts it more than I do as he cautions the waitress that my tea MUST be unsweetened. LOL.

Being type 2 I don't have the needle popping finger pricking experiences in public as much as you do Roshy, but I have had my moments. So far, no one has fainted or yelled "GROSS". I am sure my day will come.

When I am trying to get my point across in a more serious way I will use the "chronic" word. It's not four letter, but sometimes it feels like it. I usually only bring that out like when your mom used to use your middle name....to make a strong point that you better pay attention. That is reserved for people who say that it is not big deal. I try to make it no big deal, but if I let it go, it will get me.

I have never used the "Person(s) with diabetes" one. That one just feels so politically correct that it makes my head spin. Of course and equal annoying one is when I hear people say "I have a touch of sugar". My Uncle says that about himself and it makes me nuts. Talk about denial. It's like saying you are kind of pregnant.