‘Diabetic’ and what it means to me

According to Webster’s Dictionary:

di·a·bet·ic– adjective \ˌdī-ə-ˈbe-tik\

: affected with diabetes

: caused by diabetes

: suitable for people with diabetes

IMAG2827_1_1And because of this, I have a bone to pick. See, diabetic is an adjective as stated above, however when people say that I’m a “diabetic” it goes a lot deeper and almost feels offensive. Does that make sense? The feeling offensive part, I mean.

For a lot of people, they look at diabetes as a handicap, a disability, something that makes you abnormal. Sure, my pancreas is broken, like Kelly Kunik said on her Facebook status recently, but it doesn’t mean I am. When you say that I’m “diabetic” you’re telling me that that’s all I am.

“You’re a diabetic. You can’t have that.”

Correction: I’m a person with diabetes and I can have whatever I want. Is it good for me? Probably not. But “normal” people shouldn’t be eating it either, regardless of a working pancreas.

Along with that, I cannot stand the last definition “suitable for people with diabetes.” Listen, Webster, there are a lot of things that are suitable for me and of which I am suitable for. Don’t go limiting what I can have and what I can’t. This goes a long way in our daily lives as people who live with diabetes. There’s diabetic cookbooks (really? You mean HEALTHY cookbooks?) and diabetic candy (just say sugar-free because hey, it’s better for your teeth) and diabetic socks ( I mean, anyone can wear those right? What if my mom, who’s not a person with diabetes, thinks they’re warm. Can she not wear them?). I can go on and on and on about this. Don’t go limiting my way of life because you want to market and make money off of me.

The only time I’ve ever found “diabetic” suitable is when someone talks about a “diabetic educator.” I mean, you can also say that we have “diabetic conversations” via #DSMA on Wednesdays. What else? Diabetic comas, diabetic anxiety, diabetic dilemmas, diabetic problems. I mean, the list goes on and on because I use it as an ADJECTIVE not a NOUN people! I’m a Diabetic Grammar Nazi! (I actually like that one.)

Quite honestly, about 15 years ago when my doctors told me I was not normal was the day I said I was. Listen, I have abnormally high BLOOD SUGAR. I, on the other hand, am not abnormal. See the difference?

I would rather be abnormal anyway and all diabetes aside, I still am in other ways. In addition to all of this, I’m a rebel for dismissing anything at the store with “Diabetic” in the title. Why? Because I wasn’t going to limit myself to something that said it was for me. It’s not for me. I know what’s good for me and I can manage to eat things out of a regular “Mexican Cookbook” or “30 Easy Recipe” cookbook. Are you going to tell me to eat less salt? Substitute fake Splenda and Equal for regular granulated sugar? Use Greek yogurt instead of vegetable oil (which is amazing in cakes, by the way)? I’m already five steps ahead of you.

My favorite is when you go to the stores and hear someone say, “This looks good!” Then the other person responds, “It says diet. It’s for diabetics not for you.” Listen, señora, you might want to take the diet one anyway. The biggest difference might be less carbohydrates, less sugar and better for your body– but you know, since you’re normal, have the regular kind instead.

Look, people with diabetes (PWDs) live like everyone should live. We eat in moderation (many of us), we limit our sugar intake (ok, sometimes) and we exercise to get the blood sugars down so we can eat more delicious foods. If you need help in making better nutritional decisions for yourself, see a nutritionist and if you have diabetes, see a diabetic educator so you can learn how to count your carbs.

For the rest of us, leave us alone. You just WISH you had the same will power and discipline we do. If that’s abnormal, so be it.


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