Wednesday, May 18, 2016

2016 Diabetes Blog Week: Language and Diabetes

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.


We have all been hurt by words and we have all hurt others with our words.

Words, and how we use them, are very important.

When I was growing up I was always reminded to say "Please" "Thank You" and "Excuse Me" or whatever other polite phrase was appropriate at the time.  I have raised my daughter to do the same, with a few  At meal times, especially when eating out or at someone's home, she learned to say "I'm not very fond of that" or "It's not my favourite" if there is a dish she didn't like.

Words can do a lot of harm.. and a lot of help.

Hearing someone call you and idiot or incompetent can lead to you doubting your own abilities or second guessing your choices.  However, hearing someone say "ME TOO" can heal so many wounds and remind you that you're not alone.

Labels can be just as bad...if you let them be.
I have diabetes.
I am a person with diabetes.
I am a diabetic.
Let's face it.. no matter how it is said it hurts.  It reminds me that a part of me doesn't work like it originally did.  A part of me broke another part of me.  I now have more check boxes to mark with each new doctor I see.  I see my doctors more often that I see many of my family (talk about things being upside down!).

For the most part, I'm okay with the above statements.  I'm not fond of any of them, but I understand that no matter how it is said the fact is that diabetes is a part of my life forever remains.  I will continue to care for myself and educate those around me and not concern myself too much with wording..until there is a cure.  Then I will INSIST on these words instead:
I HAD diabetes.
I am a person who HAD diabetes.
I WAS diabetic. 
Those are the words I can't wait to hear.


  1. Ahh those are good words indeed Jenn.

    I referred your blog to the TUDiabetes blog page for the week of May 16, 2016.

  2. Yes, I can't wait to say those words either!