Skip to main content

Recap: Diabetes Etiquette

In case you missed it on Instagram or Facebook

Here are a few essential points of diabetes etiquette in social card format for you to download (right click on mouse) and share with friends and/or family. This is primarily for those managing Type 1 diabetes because it takes a heck of a lot more work than most are aware of.
Editor's Note: If any of these statements or facts offend you, it's because I've simply spoken the truth which you refuse to hear and accept.

1) Unsolicited advice is rarely ever welcomed especially when it comes to managing an exhausting disease such as Type 1 diabetes. So please, keep your thoughts to yourself when it comes to what we can or cannot eat - no, cinnamon won’t help us reverse T1d (not reversible) and cutting back on sugar is such an outdated belief. T1d’s can eat anything any non-diabetic can with proper dosing and timing of insulin and accurate carb counting. 🥟🍤

2) Realize and acknowledge that managing diabetes is a lot of work - a job I didn’t want, don’t get paid for and can’t quit.* There’s so much more to it than just multiple blood sugar checks (pokes), daily injections of insulin (T1ds need insulin to live, no other medication will keep them alive or maintain safe blood sugars), stress factors, growth hormones, and counting carbs. Not to mention the steep learning curve immediately following diagnosis. Seriously, cut us some slack. We deal with enough pricks already. 😓
*Inspiration: 🖥

3) Spare me any diabetes horror stories about anyone you might have known who lost a foot or died from diabetes. I can guarantee it was most likely due to irresponsible and poor management and majority of those unfortunate cases are Type 2 diabetics. My, now, three-year-old, Type 1 diabetic will absolutely NOT have those complications because we are A) managing her T1d carefully, B) educated and continue to educate ourselves - more than someone to suggest such despair, and C) have invested in the best medical care and diabetes technology that money can buy, such as an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM). This is NOT a comment to make when speaking to any type of diabetic at any stage of their diagnosis. It's just plain rude and brutally unsympathetic. Shut your mouth and just buy them a coffee.

4) Offer to join me in making healthier lifestyle choices instead of pressuring me to go out and party or eat cakes and fried fatty foods. It's okay on occasion and in moderation, but not on a weekly basis. Try to keep all the sweets out of my Type 1 diabetic child's direct vision as well, it's already challenging enough to keep her blood sugars stable when she constantly wants to snack. Offer to come out with me to the beach, hiking, or pool. Much appreciated. Feel free to share with family and friends and rephrase it into your own words.

5) This is the bare minimum I must do [for my child] to stay healthy and alive. If you’re ashamed or grossed-out, then educate yourself and turn away. Don’t expect me to make my autoimmune disease more comfortable for you. 💪🏼

6) Try to ask me how you might be helpful. It may not be what or how you expected, but just hearing and knowing you care would mean a lot. For example, grandparents can help check their grandchild’s blood sugars while Mom finishes the dishes, does some laundry, or gets her nails done. 🍽

7) Don’t offer me false reassurances by saying thoughtless things like, “It could be worse - at least you [or your child] doesn’t have cancer.” Don’t be a prick like my moms BF and say this the day after diagnosis. This implies that Type 1 diabetes isn’t as serious as cancer - both are severe conditions in their own way. The main difference is my baby requires insulin by injection and/or pump in order to live for the rest of her life. There still, is no cure or any other form of treatment for her autoimmune disease. 😑
Every day is an opportunity to spread diabetes awareness and educate others who WANT and CARE to learn

8) Try to be a positive influence in my life by surrounding me with healthy options when dining with you and not constantly tempting me or my child with sweets or any type of carbs when her blood sugar is high (over 180 mg/dl). It’ll be beneficial for all of us to live well, exercise, and eat certain foods in moderation. 🍕🍜🍷

9) Friends and family members may not realize this, but constantly questioning or criticizing a T1ds blood sugars is annoying and frustrating. They may mean well, but it’s best not to go about it without a T1ds knowledge like peeking at their Dexcom then shaming them for high or low BGs (just an example). Although this disease is manageable, some days will be harder than others and that’s when they need to be even more understanding and supportive. 👨‍👩‍👧

10) Offer your love and genuine support and if no words come to mind, a hug will be just fine. To learn how to genuinely support a T1d or their parent, read my previous posts and take the initiative to educate yourself about this disease. The more support a T1d has, the greater the chances of him or her succeeding in taking control of their diabetes and minimizes any feelings of isolation and depression. ✊🏼
. . .
*NOTE: Examples given are not to be taken literally. Apply each Diabetes Etiquette card to your life in situations you see fit. Always use good educated judgement for self-care and be kind before commenting on other people’s posts especially when you barely know the person. Share and tag @type1diabetic_life on Instagram. Mahalo and live well.💙
"You Are Not Alone" ATB tribute to Michael Jackson, #diabetesetiquette


Popular posts from this blog

Oahu Trip

I was born and raised on Oahu, HI and am part Native Hawaiian. A lot of people have this common misconception that if you're born in Hawaii, that makes you Hawaiian. However, that simply isn't true. To be Native Hawaiian, is a racial - not a geographical, birthright. Native Hawaiian runs in both my families bloodlines. I just happen to carry more Okinawan and Native American physical traits than the majority of my family members. I have traveled back and forth to Hawaii from Los Angeles many times. Each time I come back to the islands, it feels more like I'm returning "home" than just coming back for a vacation.

Throughout our recent Oahu trip, we met some old friends, shared some laughs, and ate some damn good "ono" (delicious) food. Even though we struggled with toddler tantrums, crazy blood sugars, traffic, and a slight pump malfunction; we still managed to have fun beyond type one. Which is also why I'll try to focus this particular post more o…

About That A1C

What is an A1C test? A1C is shorthand for "HbA1C" or glycated hemoglobin. It is a blood test, usually done by finger prick at modern clinics and hospitals, used to diagnose diabetes and asses how well someone is managing their disease. The A1C value is a number that reflects your average blood glucose (BG) over the course of three months - which is why most patients see their endocrinologist every three months. More importantly, red blood cells typically live over the course of 2-3 months, so the A1C measures the hemoglobin's exposure to glucose over that period. This amount is reflected as a percentage (for mg/dL metrics) or ratio (for mmol/mol metrics). Glucose is a sugar that enters your bloodstream from the foods you eat. In short, the higher your A1C, the more glucose is attached to your red blood cells.

Why is this number important?

It's important to set some guidelines or goals, but the A1C does not paint a whole picture. For example, someone with frequent hyp…

Our Diagnosis Story

Coral was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on Friday, March 11, 2016 at nearly 16 months of age. Three days prior, I had noticed she was very lethargic, peeing heavy diapers, wetting her bed, and super thirsty. I never knew these were classic signs of T1d - nobody ever tells you that! I had emailed her pediatrician Thursday evening with my concerns. Friday at 8:00am PST, Dr. Quensell calls and asks, "Where are you?" I put my fork down and struggled to swallow a bite of sunny-side-up eggs. "Just finishing up breakfast," I replied hesitantly. "I need to see Coral right now," and we hung up the phone. My husband, Weiran, was just about to leave for work with his foot out the door. I told him, "That was Dr. Quensell, it isn't good. You should come with us."

We packed her diaper bag with one change of clothes without knowing what to expect. Dr. Quensell's office at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children was fully scheduled that da…