Upsetting Things People Say About Diabetes

By Richard157 Latest Reply 2013-05-30 18:10:15 -0500
Started 2013-03-27 21:31:27 -0500

I was diagnosed in 1945, when I was 6, and there was so little awareness of diabetes then. None of our relatives and friends had heard of it. When I was in my 30's two doctors told me I would not live past my 40's. When I told a few friends what the doctors had said, one of them said that my parents must not have taken good care of me while I was very young. At least they did not blame me, they blamed my parents. Now I am 73, have been type 1 for 67 years, and I have very good diabetes health. My parents took very good care of me. That is why I made it through my childhood.

I did not know about the possible complications that we can face until I was an adult. My parents did not want me to go to college.They thought my diabetes would make it impossible for me to do well enough there, and that I would fail. They refused to pay any part of my college expenses. I got a job and worked my way through college, and graduated with honors. My parents were proud of me. That meant as much to me as my college degree!

Do any of you remember things you were told or that you experienced that were very upsetting?

72 replies

cizzy21 2013-05-30 18:10:15 -0500 Report

Oh, the things people have said to me!!! " If you took better care of yourself, maybe you wouldn't have brittle diabetes." "your diabetes is your problem and your responsibility, not mine! (from my sister!) I could go on and on, but unless a friend or family member also has diabetes, they just don't want to hear about it.

sNerTs1 2013-04-10 10:05:46 -0500 Report

Ignorance is Bliss? That's what crosses my mind when I hear off handed remarks. So the next step for me is usually … To help teach others that as much as "weight" issues are a culprit with this disease so much more of it is hereditary, that tall/short, skinny/fat, hairy/bald, rich/poor, old and young are affected by it. This disease does not show prejudice!

It's not whether you take care of your body, your mind, or what nots, its if you have it in your genes.

One of my many mottos is this ~ To learn is to understand, to understand is to accept, to accept is to love.

carebear6 2013-04-10 01:55:51 -0500 Report

I am moved by your experiences and the fact that you coped with your condition so brilliantly at a time when so little was known. You should be very proud of your achievements.
My 19 y son was diagnosed with t1 last year. He is finding things very difficult. Perhaps overwhelmed and in denial. He's trying to cope but very privately. He hasn't been to college since being diagnosed and will not let me discuss anything with him. He seems lost and alone and rarely goes out because of his anxiety.
I so desperately want to help him but he hides away. I'd love him to meet someone who could help.

Richard157 2013-04-10 08:57:35 -0500 Report

I know there are many people diagnosed with t1 at all ages, from youth to senior citizens. At any age it is very difficult to accept being a diabetic, and meeting the challenges needed to have good control. It seems that young children have an easier time adjusting than teens and older adults. I know it was relatively easy for me at six years of age. Some people need to see counselors with this problem.
Others fall in line after attending support group meetings, or befriending one or more other type 1 diabetics and sharing problems and ways of coping. Fellow t1's of approximately the same age are ideal. There are many diabetes websites online, and on Facebook. There are even a few teen type 1 groups on Facebook. That might be a good place to start.

carebear6 2013-04-10 10:16:20 -0500 Report

Thank you Richard,
Our dilemma is that he seems to be in denial and doesn't want to discuss anything saying that its his diabetes and that he's doing well when we know that he's depressed hardly leaving his room, getting up late in the afternoon eating throughout the night and always feeling exhausted. What he really needs is structured support in an environment that he trusts.
I don't know if he's connecting with other t1 online but I suspect he's not and doesn't want to appear different. He's got low self esteem and doesn't want to speak to anyone.

Gwen214 2013-04-02 22:41:25 -0500 Report

I lost some friends while in high school, back in 88-91. They didn't understand it. I didn't understand it. Some friends thought I was contagious, and some were just afraid.

Nana_anna 2013-04-02 12:40:33 -0500 Report

Diabetes doesn't stop life. In fact, it should give those who have it a wake up call. It tends to make people think that its a bad disease. But if its controlled you can have a good life. I can't understand allot of the reasons behind people's motives. But I am glad that you pressed on and were able to work your way through college. My family knows I am a diabetic, but that's it. My son says absulutely no sugar mom! My husband worries constantly. For myself, I have to say, sadly, no to allot of the foods that I love. Its just not worth it anymore to continue to mess around with wrong foods. Let other's know to, that always helps.

Lentyl 2013-04-02 09:44:20 -0500 Report

Thanks James. That explains it. We got rid of TV about 10 years ago so I'm not aware of programming. I don't miss TV at all. We were paying for something that we never used so we saw little point in keeping it. Lentyl

rebby7101 2013-04-01 16:26:21 -0500 Report

My in-laws are the people who seem to be the least sensitive. Not all, just a few. My brother-in-law has made comments such as "Well I knew someone who didn't have to take insulin so you must not take care of yourself". I'm type 1… ugh. Or they get upset when I do not go to family gatherings when someone is sick… so frustrating!

J Kate
J Kate 2013-04-01 15:33:49 -0500 Report

The one that took the cake for me was talking with some neighbors about Diabetic Connect and what a great website it is. One lady piped up and said "No thank you! I take care of my body." I thought about how hard diabetes is to live with and how much "care" is needed. Just when I think people can't be less uneducated they go and raise the bar.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-04-02 10:01:49 -0500 Report

J Kate, people can say stupid things. They don't realize they could be at risk and when they get it their tunes change. I don't find diabetes as being hard to live with. I look at it in a way as being a blessing because it is causing me to make healthier food choices. Something I never did before being diagnosed. .

I agree people these days seem to be less educated and these people always raise the bar proving this. It is so easy to educate yourself these days.

GrammieMags 2013-04-05 16:58:12 -0500 Report

I 'took' care of my body. But, following the general guide lines was messing me up, there are enough of the 'good' foods that my body does not process well: milk, beans, ginger, oats. Taking 'care' of myself makes me ill!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-04-06 15:48:45 -0500 Report

Grammie, I am allergic to a lot of fruits, nuts and veggies. I know I can't have these items and at restarants, I always have to ask what is in the foods I order. It became routine to me and I eat nothing I know is going to make me sick.

jayabee52 2013-04-05 20:33:37 -0500 Report

Taking care of oneself should NOT make one ill, Mags! Note those things which cause that and avoid them. I would expect it is just those few things which do it? If so avoud them and load up on healthy and low carb items which you can tolerate!


GrammieMags 2013-04-05 20:53:15 -0500 Report

I know! My post was supposed to be saying just that! Quite a few of the foods that help diabetics control blood sugar and/or help healthy hearts make me ill! Following the main stream way of 'taking care of yourself" hurts me.

An aquaintance offered me her condolences when she heard I was diabetic. She said that it took ten years to learn what not to eat and what to eat. I replied that I have spent the last ten years doing that!

graciepoo 2013-04-01 16:39:04 -0500 Report

Thanks Gary, JKate, diabetes hasn't been a roller coater in my life. I'm still puzzled how some people (friend & relative of mine) can be in such denial. MY GOD , OUR HEAL IS IMPORTANT IF YOU WANT TO CONTINUE LIVING !!! I thank the Good LOrd everyday I wake up, especially if I know I haven't eaten healthy the day before, yet I struggle !! Keep me in your thoughts and Prayers PLEASE!!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-04-02 09:38:26 -0500 Report

gracie good point. If people live in denial about diabetes, denial is a big part of their lives. What else are they in denial about? Makes me wonder.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-03-30 09:43:41 -0500 Report


As I read about your experiences, I was reminded of how far we have come in understanding chronic conditions, with diabetes one of the best examples. I was also reminded of the insensitivity that results from lack of knowledge, and how limitations can be placed on someone else, for their "own good."

You are a great role model!


MrsCDogg 2013-03-29 20:39:34 -0500 Report

When I was first diagnosed I was explaining what I had learned to a male co-worker (who was an LPN) and supposedly at least semi-educated. He cut me off and said…Yea I know all about it. Want a cookie? Until then I thought he was a friend after that hurtful little comment I thought otherwise of him.

KG66 2013-03-29 13:55:48 -0500 Report

I've heard quite a few! I was 17 when I was diagnosed almost 2 years ago. My Doctors advised me not to consume alcohol until I had my numbers under control and of course until I was old enough. Of course it was my senior year in Highschool and Everyone wanted me to party and drink but when I said I couldn't because I was still getting my diabetes under control my one friend said "I think if I was diabetic I would just go kill myself." My face fell and I ran out of the classroom crying. I was still very new to everything and that made me feel terrible. She apologized but I still never forget it.

Miss_Teal 2013-03-29 11:03:08 -0500 Report

I am newly diagnosed but recently heard from a family member that is ignorant - You did this to yourself. I'm sure it's referring to my 20 pound weight gain. aaaa yes and NO I have it in both sides of my family gene pool

Set apart
Set apart 2013-03-29 05:54:37 -0500 Report

Oh and when diagnosed some people would say, "you probably had to lose a lot of weight." or "I thought you took care of yourself.". It is what it is, like Joyce says it can only bother you if you allow it! I also finished my last semester in my Masters Program upon diagnosis, graduating with honors, as I learned to live with my new friend, the big D!

tabby9146 2013-04-02 09:28:38 -0500 Report

Joyce is right! Fortunately I have had very very few stupid comments. if I ever get any in the future, I will not let them bother me, I might set them straight first ,and then just let it roll off my back.

Gwen214 2013-04-02 22:44:36 -0500 Report

Seriously, you can't set people straight, unless they 're diagnose. They won't listen. I'd just let it go.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-04-01 14:09:01 -0500 Report

Set I don't understand why people let what others say bother them. It is like a cell phone if someone is screaming at you on the phone, it has an end call button, hang up. People are always going to say things to you that you don't like, how you react is based on the kind of person you are. Sometimes people say things they don't mean to say or they simply don't know what to say. Not everything said to you should be taken as a personal attack.

I am happy that you finished your Masters. Doing that is hard enough without adding diabetes to the mix.

tinkerbell54 2013-04-01 14:22:18 -0500 Report

well lets not let words bother U. because it will effect Ur blood sugar/ My husband say words are farts they us pass away in cloudy of gas. Tinkerbell54

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-04-01 19:02:03 -0500 Report

I love what your husband said. He is correct and if you let words bother you, it will effect your blood sugar and it also give other control over you and your emotions. Remember the saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me". Another good one is "it isn't what you are called, its what you answer to". Words should roll off you like water on a ducks back.

Lentyl 2013-04-01 20:42:37 -0500 Report

Words can harm. Choose your battles has become my mantra. If people are unkind enough then it isn't necessary to continue with them. There are many in the ocean who are wonderful people - many of them are right here.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-04-01 21:33:12 -0500 Report

Words can only harm you if you allow them to do so. If someone says you are diabetic because you didn't take care of yourself, and you know it isn't the truth why get offended or upset. I don't turn my back on people simply because I think they are unkind. I turn away from people who constantly seek approval and sympathy, are codependent and are drama queens. These people drain your energy. The person you think is unkind and have turned away from could be the person who will help you when no one else will. If you are the only one who thinks someone is unkind and no one else does, the problem is with you, not them. People are people and they are going to use the right to free speech.

Judge Judy said she can't understand why adults these days seem to want to be coddled. It seems as though people are so thin skinned and the least little thing someone says upsets them. The problem is they have not grown up in life because people are going to say what they want to say. It isn't always a personal attack and often they don't mean to offend. They don't know you are going to be offended. Those that do say things they know will offend you will say these things just to get a reaction out of you. Once you react, they own you because they are going to offend you every time simply to see your reaction.

In my opinion if we as human beings spent more time caring about those who really need help, being neighborly and paying it forward we would be better humans and would not care at all about what someone said to them that wasn't the truth. I get upset when someone tells a lie on me and I will battle that to the bitter end.

jayabee52 2013-04-02 02:56:17 -0500 Report

Judge Judy is a TV program here in the States where this Judith Scheinlen tries civil cases between two people. JJ can say some quite interesting things during the course of a "trial."

tinkerbell54 2013-03-29 06:29:19 -0500 Report

They never said it would it would be easy with diabetes . but I take it one day at time. people who don't diabetes cant tell us its because we are over weight . Some diabetics are not over weight . some people think people with diabetes are lazy not true. I pray some day they will find a cure for Diabetes. So I just keep praying 4 that day. Tinkerbell54

Gwen214 2013-04-02 23:00:39 -0500 Report

You can't generalize people. Not every non-diabetics think people with diabetes are lazy. Most of the general public just don't know. Most don't know there are different types of diabetics. Its human nature to assume things. If you saw a badly behave kid what's the first thing that pops in your head? Oh, that poor kid has bad parents or some one needs to punish that kid. Do you ever think ADHD? Same thing with diabetics, most people learn this information. If people say things, and you know it's not you. Move on. You can't control what people say, but you can control your reaction… Just walk away.

jayabee52 2013-04-02 23:08:49 -0500 Report

actually Gwen, since I have ADHD I do think about the bad behavior may be caused by ADHD. I guess I am kinda clued into that because I have it. (not that I behave badly now, mind you, but I used to).

But you main point is well taken. One can only control oneself.

Gwen214 2013-04-04 19:46:28 -0500 Report

My nephews have ADHD. I'm around them when they're not on medication. And they are all over the place. See, though my point. You're not quite sure unless you have it. Thanks for the correction. :)

tabby9146 2013-04-02 09:32:34 -0500 Report

I am not overweight anymore and it doesn't bother me at all, when people say to me, but you aren't overweight? I just say nope I used to be and go on. I never tell anyone I am diabetic, unless it comes up in a conversaton somehow but I never start the conversation. I do put diabetes awareness things online to my friends at times and try to encourage them to be tested and things like that. everyone that truly knows me know I have never been lazy. but true, there are some who were never overweight to begin with, type2s that is, I personally don't know anyone like that, but I have heard of them.

Lentyl 2013-04-02 09:41:05 -0500 Report

That explains it. I don't have television, my choice several years ago so I don't know about television programmes. Thanks.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-04-01 18:59:40 -0500 Report

Tinker diabetes is hard if you choose to make it that way. I stopped taking it one day at a time the minute I stopped focusing on being diabetic. I used that energy doing other things. Testing and eating better has become routine to me.

The key in life is to bang your own drum and let nothing else bang it for you. If I took diabetes one day at a time, I would be so busy focusing on it, I would not accomplish any of the other things I enjoy doing.

Set apart
Set apart 2013-03-29 05:51:26 -0500 Report

Richard living with T1 for such a short while, individuals like you inspire me to want to do good, and on the days where I feel a little down, I know I can do IT! I am not sure what is harder living without D for 48 years and then struck with T1 at 48 years old. Again, hats off to you and everyone else who does not become a statistic of what can go wrong if you don't take care of your D! I want to be part of your group, living and loving life one day at a time!

Richard157 2013-03-29 08:52:03 -0500 Report

Set apart, that is a wonderful attitude!! When you have your medal, I hope to meet you in Boston during one of the medalist meetings.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-03-28 12:19:51 -0500 Report

I learned back in my 20's not to pay any attention to what people say and not to take it to heart. People say things out of ignorance, fear, because they are angry or simply because they are mean. I actually do not have time to get upset over something someone said. I don't waste time and energy on it.

When you were diagnosed, there wasn't the care available for people as it is now. Your parents weren't able to become as educated about the disease as they are now. You knew what you could do and overcame the obstacle of being educated and living past the ripe old age of 30. My parents didn't pay for my college education. Although my mom knew I was in college she died before I graduated. Dad died before I decided to go back to school. At least you had them there for you when you graduated and they were proud of you and your success. Nothing else should matter then that.

daydreamer630 2013-03-28 08:32:20 -0500 Report

It happens a lot actually. The one that's kind of stung more recently is something my boyfriends dad said. We've been talking about marriage so his dad sat him down and had a long talk about the complications our life would have because of my diabetes. And asked him if he realized I would probably die before I was 30. Seeing as his dad is a nurse and he should know how far treatment has come I would think he'd be a little more optimistic. Is it wrong of me to be hurt so much by this statement?

tabby9146 2013-04-02 09:35:22 -0500 Report

omg, as a nurse he should know better, that is ignorance. I can see where that would bother you, but try to forget it. no it is not wrong to be hurt by that, I hope you set him straight, I sure would have, without yelling, or any harsh words, but I would have said, you are a nurse ,and you should know that I am taking care of myself and as long as I do that, I have the same life span, as anyone else, I ccan live a long and healthy life.

MrsCDogg 2013-03-29 20:42:09 -0500 Report

It's not wrong for you to be hurt. Just remember that all he is doing is assuming things he has no idea about. You know what they say about assumption don't you? They make an ass of u and me.

Richard157 2013-03-28 08:50:27 -0500 Report

Did the father say that while you were there? If so, that is very cruel. It should have been a private discussion between your boyfriend and his dad. Tell your boyfriend to Google the "Joslin Medalist Program". It tells about the many many type 1 diabetics who have lived more than 50 years with diabetes. I have lived 67 years with type 1, and I am very healthy. Some medalists have lived more than 80 years with type 1.

daydreamer630 2013-03-28 09:02:29 -0500 Report

Thankfully it was private. It really upset my boyfriend and I asked him to tell me what was wrong. I will have him look that up. Since that discussion he's worried a lot maybe that would settle a few of his fears! Thanks a bunch.
Its a bit weird but when people say things that I "can't or "won't" be able to do it puts this fire in my eyes and I set out to prove 'em wrong!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-03-28 12:33:22 -0500 Report

Chris Rock at an awards show called out the teacher publicly by name who said he would never amount to anything. He showed her where he was. I personally don't prove anything to anyone but myself. I prove that I can do it. Think about it if someone told you that you couldn't do something, and you were successful, the person who said it doesn't care whether you successful. They will simply raise the hoop and make you jump through it by proving to them you could do something. Be successful for your own well being and forget the stupidity of others. They shouldn't matter to you at all. When people say things like that, I thank them for making me a stronger person. That makes them mad but I really don't care.

I think your boyfriends father simply doesn't want his son to marry you. He used the diabetes scare tactic on his son. If he is a nurse, he knows what he told his son isn't true and his son believed him otherwise he wouldn't be worried about it. This is a prime example of how others can influence someones emotions. If you have not done so, educate your boyfriend and that is one less tool his father will have to use against you until he comes up with something else. If your boyfriend truly loves you and is willing and ready to move the relationship to the next level, he will do so regardless of what his dad is saying, if he leaves you, it wasn't meant to be. The two of you have to be stronger than the opposing party otherwise you are both setting yourselves up for failure and dad will be smiling because he has won. Never let them win. Good luck.

95ncountin 2013-03-29 20:56:31 -0500 Report

I have To agree. The diabetes sounds like an excuse to be against his son's marriage to you, IMHO. It might be a good idea to take a little deeper. Just to be on the safe side.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-04-01 14:39:18 -0500 Report

95, I agree with you. She doesn't know what other conversations he has had with his dad about their relationship. For all she knows, he has always had doubts. On the other hand, his dad may have simply said to his son what his son was afraid to admit to himself. His father may not like her at all and doesn't want her in his family. I agree she should be on the safe side. Diabetes may not have anything to do with his doubts but he is using it as a valid excuse. If it were me, I would end the relationship and move on. If he is letting his dad interfere in the relationship now, imagine what will happen when and if they get married. Sometimes you have to actually read the handwriting on the wall.

byrun 2013-03-28 09:19:40 -0500 Report

Like Richard, you have the next 70+ years to prove the naysayers wrong and I believe you will.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-04-01 14:44:20 -0500 Report

Naysayer are going to be around for all eternity. Why waste you life proving them wrong? Use your life to prove to yourself you can accomplish everything you set out to do and let the naysayers be naysayers. You will never be able to prove anything to them. If I had 70+ years ahead of me, naysayers and proving them wrong would be the last thing on my mind.

We don't have to prove anything to anyone who is negative. In fact we don't have to prove anything to anyone but ourselves. It is like running. You don't start off running a marathon you train and build up stamina and endurance to get to the marathon. In between, you have to prove to yourself that you can get to that point. The naysayers won't care one way or the other if you succeed.

ShellyLargent 2013-03-27 22:35:54 -0500 Report

I was diagnosed on 2001 while 4 months pregnant with our daughter. Tests proved to show that it was not gestational. A few days after our daughter was born, it was discovered that she had a heart murmur, not uncommon for infants. We were sent to a cardio specialist and there it was discovered that she had several holes in her heart, a deformed valve and a slight under-development of her aorta. We were given the news that she would most likely have to under go several surgeries by the time she was 5 yrs old. As if this wasn't upsetting enough to hear, the specialist looks at me and says, "I'm not saying it was caused by your diabetes, but if you were normal, your daughter most likely wouldn't have these issues. I would also recommend not having any more children since your chances are greater that your second or third child may have even more serious health issues than your daughter." We left, me in tears and feeling like the most horrible person on Earth. We did get a second opinion about a week later and that doctor was mortified at what we were told. My daughter is now a perfectly normal 12 yr old. She's never had to have surgery and has never been affected by her heart. The holes and the aorta did eventually heal themselves and as far as the deformed valve (she has 2 flaps instead of the typical 3) it operates at the same level as a normal one!

MrsCDogg 2013-03-29 20:45:33 -0500 Report

Just because they are a so-called healthcare professional doesn't mean they know everything they need to know. I just hate that you got hold of such a horses hind end.

Richard157 2013-03-28 09:03:16 -0500 Report

Shelly, there are a lot of doctors who know very little about diabetes in modern times. They are very ignorant about it. I hope you did not hesitate to have more children, if you wanted to. have two sons and two grand children. All of them are perfectly healthy, and they do not have diabetes.

ShellyLargent 2013-03-28 10:23:46 -0500 Report

We did only have just the one, but not because of that doctor. The pregnancy was very hard on me and we were having financial problems. By the time that we could afford another child, our daughterwas already 5, almost 6, years old and we thought that was too much of a gap in ages.

95ncountin 2013-03-27 21:43:58 -0500 Report

Yes. I still get attitude from my DD that had I made better food choices, I wouldn't have developed T2. Somehow that this is my fault.

I'm sorry you were subjected to those attitudes. You have proven to the world that you may have been affected by T1, but it certainly didn't stop you. Kudos to you.