Many of us share lots of aspects of our diabetes lives online for the world to see. What are some of the aspects of diabetes that you choose to keep private from the internet? Or from your family and friends? Why is it important to keep it to yourself? (This is not an attempt to get you out of your comfort zone. There is no need to elaborate or tell personal stories related to these aspects. Simply let us know what kinds of stories we will never hear you tell, and why you won’t tell them.)
One thing I don’t talk about is not really because I want to keep it private, but rather because I do not want to spend my time and energy discussing a topic that is not particularly relevant to our family, while it matters a great deal to others. So, here goes…
There is a debate in the DOC (diabetes online community) about the term “diabetic”. Some people are very passionate about it. They say that it carries a lot of negative stigma and feel that calling someone diabetic is akin to negatively labeling them. They argue that a person is more than their illness and should not be labeled as their illness. They prefer a term “Person With Diabetes” (or PWD).
I agree that no one should be labeled by their illness, or by anything, for that matter. I also agree that people should be addressed in the way they prefer. And I rather like PWD acronym – it comes it handy. But here is where my – and my T1D’s opinion – differs. We are completely fine with the word “diabetic”. I feel it is no more labeling than calling my daughter a student. Or a girl. Or a stinker. (OK, she may object to stinker, so I’ll back off that one.) She is all of those and some more. There is not a single word that defines her, nor does she define herself by any single word or label. She has diabetes and she is diabetic. (She also has celiac but for some reason I don’t hear anyone say “I am celiac” as they would say “I am diabetic”. Why is that?)
I noticed that I started defaulting to the term PWD when referring to/addressing people who have diabetes, until I know if they have a preference. I think it’s a sensible and respectful thing to do. That being said, I will not further weigh in on the debate because it has little relevance to us. In meantime, feel free to call my daughter diabetic. Just don’t call her a stinker – leave it up to me 😉