Being "Diabetic"


I am very privileged to know lots of people in the diabetes community. I also know a lot of people who aren’t particularly bothered about being called “Diabetic”. I respect their choice on that. However, I am not one of those people. I may have been once when I felt so uncomfortable talking about my diabetes that I felt it was easier and quicker to say “I’m diabetic” rather than say “I have diabetes”.

These days though, the harsh sound of the ‘ic” at the end of the word makes me cringe. It’s like hearing nails scrape across a chalkboard. But I feel the soft “es” at the end of the word diabetes lessens the punch in the guts for me.

The very famous and very talented Kerri Sparling uses the tagline of “Diabetes doesn’t define me but it helps explain me” on her blog Sixuntilme.

I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, former graphic designer, former payroll clerk, I’m Irish… etc. These are all things that define who I am.

I’m not going to give that kind of power to my diabetes.

I have blue eyes, fair sometimes blonde hair, fair skin, lots of freckles and I have type 1 diabetes. These are things that describe me and they are not all that important. What difference does it make if I have blue or purple eyes. Not much.

So for those who know me, I’m not a diabetic. I have diabetes. And for those who don't know me I ask that when you are talking to people with diabetes or about people with diabetes, please be aware that some don't like it. Thanks and appreciate it:-)

Here's what the American Diabetes Association has to say on the use of this term;

There's a reason the American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Forecast, and most scientific journals avoid using the term "diabetic" as a noun: People with the disease are diverse individuals, not a single entity. Some people identify themselves as "diabetics" and find that the term provides a useful narrative framework in which they manage the realities of living with the condition. But not everyone feels that way.

Many people with diabetes see the term as stigmatizing. They advocate that the language used to describe the condition and the person living with the condition be carefully distinguished. Another reason "diabetic" should be scrapped? Defining a group of individuals with a similar disease by their condition may prevent others, including family members and health care providers, from thinking about their experiences and needs as individuals.