Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I Have a Bone About Tone

Today's #DBlogWeek prompt: There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I'm willing to bet we've all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don't care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let's explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.

I'll be honest, I don't really get heartburn over words. You can call me a Type 1 Diabetic, person with Diabetes, girl with weird bionic pump site stuck on her arm, space nerd, diver-betic, mission control's token busted pancreas girl - whatever. I AM all of those things, proudly. The thing that gets under my skin is tone.

It started when I was newly diagnosed. My mom (bless her heart) just had this tone, no...it was more like a tone..."Did you test? What was your number? Do you need to change your site? When was the last time you changed your lancet?" I grew to loathe those starkly direct questions. It's like I was being punished or persecuted for a disease that wasn't even my fault, and one I was trying my hardest to control even if the numbers didn't always paint that picture. [Side note, I love you mom, I really do...I absolutely know deep down you had the best intentions, you were just doing your job.]

After I was out on my own the questions changed slightly, but the tone was still present "Can you eat [insert sugary dessert here]? Is that good for you? Do you need orange juice? Who else in your family has diabetes?" Then there are the nails on a chalkboard statements, "My grandpa died from diabetes. My uncle had his foot amputated. My sister is going blind from diabetes. You must have the 'bad' diabetes. But you're not fat." Ugh, ugh, and ughhhhhhh. Just stahhhpppp! I don't need to hear these things, like, at all. I didn't do something bad to get this disease, I don't want constant reminders that it will probably kill me, and I don't want to keep doling out sympathy for some distant relative of yours that experienced something terrible because of diabetes. Sorry, I'm normally a sympathetic person, but this stuff just wears on a person.

I want to live my life free from the judgment associated with having Diabetes. I want to answer 'normal' life questions, free from a judgmental tone. Maybe something like, "How is your new little girl doing? How do you like being a mom? Can you pass the siracha?"

Answers: She is doing amazing! Being a mom is super crazy, but I love it! And no, no more siracha!
_____________________________________________________

Find more Wednesday #DBlogWeek posts here