Diabetes Carries An Extra Burden OF Shame ( an Interesting point of view )

By jigsaw Latest Reply 2014-06-03 12:48:38 -0500
Started 2014-05-17 06:31:20 -0500

I've seen this subject brought up by some of the members here at times. I have also experienced doctors, that appear to blame those with diabetes for bringing it on themselves. I currently have a very thin doctor that has diabetes, and I don't think this is necessarily his belief.

Whatever the case may be ( Genetics, poor diet, excess weight, or a combination of all ) what do you think? What is your opinion?
Here is the link:

53 replies

Boo65 2014-06-02 06:45:49 -0500 Report

I think we all get so caught up in the diabetic diet, the meds, the exercise, the family history and the "what could I have done differently" that we forget that it is first and foremost a disease of the pancreas. Now, what causes the disease to rear it's ugly little head is anybody's guess. There are probably as many causes as there are diabetics. Until the medical/pharmaceutical community starts to look for a cure rather than the "treat the symptoms" syndrome we are left with various treatment regimes that sometimes work and sometimes do not work.

jigsaw 2014-06-02 17:24:52 -0500 Report

Another reason why it is so important to get well informed, and take an active role in our healthcare!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-06-02 13:50:01 -0500 Report

I don't agree because I didn't get caught up in the diabetic diet, meds, and exercise or the family history. I never once thought what I could have done differently.

My parents were not diabetic and neither were my aunts or uncles on both sides of the family. yes some of my cousins are I are now diabetics which we developed later in life.

I chose not to get caught up in the diet or the meds and exercise because I chose to live healthy once I was diagnosed. I was concerned until I got my blood sugar under control.

My life does not revolve around being diabetic. I know what foods I can and cannot have. I don't feel bad if I eat a cookie because I know one cookie is not going to spike me nor kill me.

I have diabetes, it does not have me. I really don't care how or why I am diabetic, I care about living my life as healthy as I can and I am enjoying my life. I refuse to spend time worrying about can I eat this, can I eat that, how often do I need to exercise, why am I diabetic and not other family members. I spend my time worrying about what I am going to do next that is going to be fun or pleasurable and I have found that because of how I choose to live makes me much happier.

Boo65 2014-06-02 15:35:20 -0500 Report

Joyce I think you missed my point and just read the first line. My point is that diabetes is a disease of the pancreas and has very little to do with my comments in the first line. I also live my life to it's fullest which includes eating healthy and exercise. In fact very little in my life changed after being diagnosed. I was commenting for those that seem to think it an uphill battle.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-06-02 22:03:07 -0500 Report

I read your entire post.. The only thing I disagree with is your opening sentence. You can't clump all diabetics into your statement by saying "I think we all" and then list what you think we all did. This is not true at all.

My comment was based on that sentence because that was the only thing you said that I did not agree with.

I wanted you to know that regardless of what you think the statement is not a true statement. There are diabetics who didn't go through any of what you stated. I am one of them. Like you very little changed in my life when I was diagnosed.

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-06-02 05:22:07 -0500 Report

I don't think that there really is one cut and dry answer. I think that everyone is different. There are so many things found through research that one can point to as the reason for becoming diabetic. But I have seen so many times that those facts don't hold true for everyone. I think that it is luck of the genetic pool draw. Where I am diabetic my brother and sister aren't. My sister smokes to much me and my brother don't etc., etc. Which also holds true to life styles and everything researched. I believe there really is no cut and dry explanation as to why some people are diabetic and some aren't. X amount of people may have similar things in their life but also X amount have different. I know there is an alarming amount of more and more people who are diabetic now days. So I do my best to live, eat and exercise according to what I think will help me. I hope someday they do find a cure for it and all things, Hay I can dream can't I.

jigsaw 2014-06-02 17:17:43 -0500 Report

Bottom line, living our life to the fullest, is the smartest, and best thing we can do! I realize that there can be times where that can seem extremely difficult, but I have yet to meet anyone that got a second chance!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-06-02 22:11:52 -0500 Report

I agree Jigsaw. Living life to the fullest is smart. It can be difficult but I think once you get past those moments you can fall right back into living your life doing things you enjoy.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-06-02 14:14:41 -0500 Report

I agree Trudie. There are so many reasons for becoming diabetes. I think the diabetic who worries about what caused it is wasting time because they may never know the real answer. My parents were not diabetic and neither is my sister. I don't spend time wondering why i am the one with it because even if I ever found out, there isn't one thing I can do about it. One day they may find a cure. One can hope. However, I am not going to worry about that because the cure may or may not come during my lifetime. In the mean time, I am going to live my life as healthy as possible and I intend to enjoy my life.

jigsaw 2014-06-02 17:21:39 -0500 Report

I enjoy the positive attitude, and encouraging strength, that both you and Trudie Ann frequently express. I'm on the same bandwagon, enjoying the ride!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-27 12:12:48 -0500 Report

I never once concerned myself with what caused me to be diabetic. I was asked what was I going to do about being diabetic. I went to the college of self education. I learned all I could learn about keeping myself healthy.

It has never occurred to me to be ashamed of being diabetic or overweight. Even if I did have unhealthy eating habits so what. I now have healthy eating habits and that is what is now important.

Spending time focusing if I am diabetic because of genetics, poor diet and excess weight is a waste of good energy. Even if you do find out, you can't change the fact that you now have diabetes.

Feeling shamed or allowing others to make you feel shame is your choice. I will never feel sorry for myself because of diabetes and I am not going to allow anyone to attempt to make me feel ashamed.. I am never going to explain or apologize to anyone as to why I am diabetic nor am I going to apologize or feel shamed for who or what I am.

In my opinion if people spent more time focusing on being all they can be in life they wouldn't ever have to explain to anyone for who and what they are and they won't allow anyone to make them feel ashamed for what is going on in their lives. Spend time living life instead of focusing on or being concerned about what people say to you or think about you. At the end of the day the only person you are responsible for is yourself, your self worth and your self being.

jigsaw 2014-05-27 12:35:14 -0500 Report

Your words come across with much conviction, strength, and determination, and I agree completely! The idea of being ashamed, has never really entered my mind, when it comes to an illness, or condition.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-27 14:14:40 -0500 Report

Jigsaw in my opinion, people spend way too much time caught up in what others think of them. They hide being diabetic because they fear people will blame them or they are ashamed.

What other people think of you is not half as important as what you think of yourself. You never ever let anyone take your self confidence or you ability to thrive.

People simply cannot go through life dependent upon others to always be there to help them. At some point you are going to have to be responsible for yourself and your actions.

Once you start letting people make you feel shame about your weight, your looks, a medical condition, your level of education, where you live, or even the kind of car you drive, you become controlled by them. Each person has to be strong for yourself, you have to learn to help yourself and you have to learn to speak up for yourself because one day, there might not be anyone there to do these things for you and if you can't help yourself, others will take advantage of that.

jigsaw 2014-05-27 19:46:12 -0500 Report

The idea that you are expressing, really is quite profound! It certainly deserves some serious consideration by most of us. I know a few people personally that were so dependent on another, that their lives fell into complete shambles, when the one they were dependent on was gone.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-27 22:34:27 -0500 Report

Jigsaw, the only person I know I can depend on is myself. I know that not one person on this planet is going to fight for my life as long and hard as I will.

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-06-03 10:56:46 -0500 Report

Actually I know I am not the only person who I can depend on and would fight for me with all their strength. My wonderful husband will !!!
I also know that God answers my prayers. I may not always like the answer, but most of the time He goes above and beyond what I pray for.

jigsaw 2014-06-03 12:48:38 -0500 Report

You are very fortunate to have a dedicated, and loving husband. I have a very loving wife, most of the time! (-;

GabbyPA 2014-05-21 20:33:09 -0500 Report

My dad got it and he grew up on a farm as a kid, served in the army and was not overweight. My mom was kind of the opposite. They both ended up with it, but my dad got it years before my mom did. I have been a mix of good and bad habits, but I think it goes deeper than external conditions. People expect me to be diabetic, I cannot really change that unless they want to learn.

jigsaw 2014-05-22 07:54:06 -0500 Report

I have no doubt that the genetic factor plays a TREMENDOUS role. Sure, we can probably bring on a condition that is lurking in our bodies (genetically speaking ) with poor eating habits, a detrimental lifestyle etc., but I believe it's got to be in our genes to begin with.

Boo65 2014-05-21 13:24:12 -0500 Report

Ya I am damned tired of explaining to people that before I was diagnosed with diabetes I was not obese but since diagnosis and the Canadian doctors mantra of "40 to 60 grams of carbs three times a day" I have become obese. I exercise with weights, I treadmill and I watch what I eat but I can not lose a single pound. But feel ashamed, not on your life will I ever feel ashamed for something such as this. I should have been a little bit more aware of my genetics and hereditary history but that is it. Thanks to sites such as this there is much more awareness of diabetes these days and no one has to go 4 or 5 years without being diagnosed as I did by my first doctor.

jigsaw 2014-05-21 14:51:23 -0500 Report

Well said Boo! Have you found a way to overcome your difficulty in losing weight. If you can determine the underlying reason, it might be a bit easier. Just a thought! If its only too many carbs, then you may have already found a clue.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-20 22:47:34 -0500 Report

Hey jigsaw,

Very good point you raise here. I hear this so often in my work. All to often, individuals living with conditions like diabetes are made to feel as if they were responsible for their condition. It's a shame.

I think other people do that in part because they want to believe that they have control over what happens in life, including avoiding health problems. But life is a whole lot more random than that, things just happen, and we often don't know why.


jigsaw 2014-05-21 15:13:36 -0500 Report

Yes, your words are so true. I actually had an endo that scolded me as if I were an elementary school child, for having diabetes. Fortunately I knew better, and mentally ( internally ) flushed his words. He was an excellent technician however, and did help me in that sense, Eventually, I found the doctor that I mentioned above, that also has diabetes.Not only do I believe that he is an excellent doctor, but he seems to have a sincere understanding of the diabetic condition. How unusual!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-21 22:01:25 -0500 Report

Very interesting. Sometimes I think that when doctors scold, it is out of concern for their patients, and not being able to help them more. But other times, it is just plain mean. Either way, it doesn't help.

There's nothing like working with a doctor who is on the same path, and gets what you are going through.

lorider70 2014-05-20 12:46:44 -0500 Report

Personally I feel a person is pre-disposed to get certain ailments. I had a neighbor that smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day and died of old age at 94. Another guy in our neighborhood died of lung cancer at 55 and never smoked a day in his life; or worked in dusty smoky jobs etc. If you're gonna get it, you're gonna get it. Live and enjoy your life, quit worrying about things you can't control.

jigsaw 2014-05-20 18:37:26 -0500 Report

I agree that one should definitely learn to live and enjoy life as much as possible. Some of us may be pre-disposed to certain maladies, and conditions, but I also believe we can play a major role in the hand we are dealt.

I quit smoking 30 years ago, because I know that it destroys the human body, and kills. Like the 94 year old that you mentioned, I also met an 85 year old lady that smoked two to three packs of cigarettes per day, and looked like she was in her 50s, with good health. She is one exception out of millions, where most got sick, or died prematurely from smoking. I knew another individual that smoked and got emphysema! They had to strap him to his hospital bed while they injected him, because he was struggling for air. Emphysema is caused by smoking. I could go on with many that I met over the years that suffered the consequences caused directly from smoking. I'm sure that I am in reasonably good health today, because of the lifestyle changes that I made. As a matter of fact, I probably wouldn't be here at all if I continued my past ways. On the other hand, my wife smokes and eats junkfood almost everyday. All her medical tests are superb. If I ate the way she does, I know I would be in serious trouble.

So my friend, I hope you see my point. I live, love, and enjoy life! A major part of the reason why, is because I have taken measures to help assure that I can. So far they seem to be working.

MrsCDogg 2014-05-19 12:12:45 -0500 Report

I don't think there is any shame in ANY disease. It doesn't matter how you got it. There are too many people in this world who love to look down their noses at others in order to make themselves feel good.
We are all in this together now matter which type of diabetes you have.

TopazDee 2014-05-17 14:33:19 -0500 Report

I have to hold my hands up and say I do believe my weight plus age and steroids were my trigger for being T2 D I did go on tablets after continuing to loose weight and stopping all but my must have COPD Steroids I am now off all D medication and maintaining an even level BG reading due to way of living. x

jayabee52 2014-05-18 00:14:48 -0500 Report

That is great to hear Dee.!

TopazDee 2014-05-19 06:55:14 -0500 Report

Thanks jaybee trying to loose half my body weight hubby thinks he will feel cheated only having half the woman he married.
Stay Safe xxx

jigsaw 2014-05-19 07:51:43 -0500 Report

Well, if you decide to lose the body weight in spite of your husband feeling cheated, don't worry, I'll take the other half! (-;

jigsaw 2014-05-17 17:37:03 -0500 Report

My compliments, sounds like your doing an excellent job! I know you work hard at it.

TopazDee 2014-05-19 07:02:05 -0500 Report

Thanks hun sadly at moment I get a "must try harder" mark.
I have found I get more negative response to having COPD everyone says its because I smoke but I don't only passively, I did smoke for 15 of my 69 yrs. but for the first 8 years of my life I lived in a village pub, my parents smoked and I have lived with smokers, hubby does not smoke in half of the bungalow now and has cut his smoking in half, I worked behind a sports club bar for yrs. before it was banned in social venues so I get pretty cross.
Stay Safe xxx

Pegsy 2014-05-25 18:35:34 -0500 Report

I so relate to your story. I tell my doctors that I was a second hand smoker for the first 18 years of my life, living with two parents who smoked heavily. I recall being in an enclosed car with them smoking away and me in the back seat, unable to breath!

jigsaw 2014-05-22 08:18:51 -0500 Report

I don't believe we bring on maladies intentionally. People that blame others for their illness, and misfortunes, obviously have not given it much thought.
I hope you can manage your condition well, in spite of any thoughtless negativism that appears. You deserve to enjoy your life as much as you possibly can! Make sure you ingrain that idea, deeply in your heart and mind!!!

robertoj 2014-05-17 12:43:47 -0500 Report

Weight was never a problem and diabetes runs in my family so I feel no shame. However, I have seen nice people shamed to tears in my lifetime. It is shameful of ignorant people to act like that. Even professionals scold as if a lifetime of habits can be easily changed.

jigsaw 2014-05-17 13:07:10 -0500 Report

I could mention some unbelievable stories on this subject, but it's really too sad to bother mentioning. Maybe even a doctor will read this and hence, open his eyes!

Type1Lou 2014-05-17 11:18:43 -0500 Report

I never felt any shame about my diabetes, nor have I received any negative responses from others…I'm lucky I guess…and it might be related to my Type 1 status. (I know you tagged "Type 2" on this discussion but didn't think you'd mind my comment.) Before diagnosis in 1976, I weighed 120 pounds. I lost 13 pounds in 2 weeks time before being diagnosed and started using insulin. In my early diabetic years, I gained some weight and weighed up to 135 but am now back to my 120 pounds and have been been able to maintain it there for the last 10 or so years by following a low-carb diet. I also grew up with a diabetic Dad, so it was a fact of life and something to be dealt with and managed…not something to be hidden and shameful. If any diabetic is doing what they reasonably can to manage their condition, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Dr Attia's talk is indeed powerful!

jigsaw 2014-05-17 13:16:49 -0500 Report

Your efforts and results speak for themselves! I'm with you 100%, and then some. Absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Diseases and conditions can strike anyone at anytime, as seen in the above video. Unfortunately, for Dr. Attia, he found out the hard way! It's also a good thing that he did, especially when it comes to his patients.

All of us experience our own ignorance. It's only when we become aware, and do nothing about it that we are to blame, in my opinion.

Type1Lou 2014-05-17 14:11:36 -0500 Report

It also speaks volumes of Dr Attia's character that he was willing to admit he was wrong. That takes courage. Kudos to him!

tabby9146 2014-05-17 10:15:39 -0500 Report

Interesting. I was only 35 lbs, overweight, all in the midsection and all the years that I was overweight not one doctor ever discussed my weight with me, or told me I needed to lose, though I knew I needed to, they did not remind me about diabetes at all. If my doc had gotten on to me a little, in the years prior, I definitely would have listened and I would have asked for help in losing weight. My OBGYN never said anything either.

jigsaw 2014-05-17 11:18:21 -0500 Report

I suspect that many doctors are oriented towards prescribing medication more then adderessing any underlying situation, that may be helpful. At least you are finding your way regardless.

jayabee52 2014-05-17 09:18:08 -0500 Report

Yes, Jigsaw, I had bought into that line of thinking for a while.

I hold a modified version of it today. As the video accompanying the article pointed out that one can do all the "right" things to try to keep T2 away, but unless one learns how to combat the particular problem (like insulin restistance) one will siip into T2 anyway. That is the factor which deflects the "blame".

However we have behaviors which also promote the development of T2 and for that we do deserve blame. Just prior to my Dx, I worked a security job. I worked 6 days a week on rotating shifts: 2 days, 2 swings, 2 graveyards. I certainly didn't get enough sleep and in that security office they had an arrangement with a local bakery (in Caesar's Palace) that they boxed up all the day old pastries and let us have them. Often I ate my fill. (often one eats more to make up for the lack of sleep). So my behaviors undoubtedly stressed my pancreas (this was over the course of about 1 yr). So when I got to be a Certified nurse aide again and was able to check out my Blood Glucose (BG) levels on a "pee stick" it read 300.

Unfortunately I didn't get myself checked out right away after that. I waited about another year till my wife got medical insurance through her casino work and then I got officially Dx'd.

So I blame myself and my ignorance of T2 for the shape I'm in now, but the blame is not ALL mine.

Some of it was and is other factors like insulin resistance and genetics.

Thanks for starting this discussion

God's best to you and yours


Pegsy 2014-05-25 18:45:38 -0500 Report

I carry shame because I did have some horrible habits that led me to obesity. I discovered for myself that I was diabetic and put myself on a health diet and exercise regimen, believing what I read in books that I could reverse diabetes through lifestyle changes alone. My first glucose reading was 381. After a year of careful dieting and exercising like a maniac I was thinner and healthier but still a diabetic after losing 70 pounds. Talk about shame! I finally saw a doctor, got a proper diagnosis and went on meds. My A1c is down to 6.6 so I'm getting there but still not quite there yet. I've lost a total of 82 pounds with another 10-15 to go. I know I can do it and that is a tremendous sense of accomplishment for me. But I do still feel a great deal of shame that I waited too long and allowed myself to get to such a state before doing anything about it. Now I have to live with that for the rest of my life. Had I never allowed myself to become obese and had I lived a more active lifestyle might I never have become diabetic? I'll never know. There's the rub.

jigsaw 2014-05-17 13:42:54 -0500 Report

I think we all experience a degree of ignorance. After all, we're born with it. Only when we become aware and do nothing about it, then we are to blame. Heck, years ago, I used to drink Coca Cola like it was going out of style! I wouldn't dare do that today.