Recently we went to a relative’s house and they had a friend over. She was older, maybe in her 60s. Nice lady, but as she was making the tea, and I saw her pouring sugar in the pitcher (instead of the Splenda that was sitting on the counter next to the sugar)… I felt obligated to tell her I was diabetic, after the 3rd time she offered me a glass. I don’t typically just announce it (especially if it could potentially make someone feel bad), but depending on the circumstances, sometimes it’s necessary.
As soon as I told her … she says “Oh, well I’m sure you know this already, but since you have diabetes, you have to be careful taking pain medications. I have a friend who has a niece… ” (you know where this is going, don’t you?) And the jist of the story was the niece took pain meds for something and because she was diabetic, it basically killed her liver and kidneys, to the point of needing transplants.
I’m honestly not sure how much of a connection there is with pain meds and diabetes, I haven’t done the research on that yet … but my point of the story is how common it is for diabetics to encounter people and the first thing they want to tell you is a story of someone who either died, or had something amputated, because of their diabetes. Please don’t do that. We’re all very well aware of the complications from this disease…. and 9 times out of 10, the story they’re telling us is of an elderly person who likely had Type 2 and it was either a long time ago when they did not have the technology available that we have now, or they did not take very good care of themselves.
So if you are one of my non-diabetic friends reading this … I hope that the nugget you’ll take with you is to share a positive story about diabetes. If you encounter someone down the road that lives with it, instead of telling that person a morbid story about an aunt/uncle/grandparent that died from it, or had their foot cut off, you can tell them about your friend, Shannon, who has lived with it for over 20 years, wears an insulin pump and CGM, has had 2 successful pregnancies, and 3 handsome little boys. 🙂