Choice in Diabetes Series (Article 2): Respecting People’s Choices in Diabetes

Kelly Kunik is a blogger and advocate from the U.S. who writes about her life with diabetes on Describing herself as a “Diabetes Humorist” Kelly uses her comedic lens to describe her experiences and is passionately spreading the word about living a great life with diabetes. Kelly is active on Twitter (@diabetesalish), Facebook (@diabetesaliciousness), and Instagram (@diabetesalish). 

The opinions presented in this blog post are those of the author and may not represent the opinions of Ascensia Diabetes Care. Ascensia have paid Kelly an honorarium for her services as a contributor to this blog.

Living with diabetes means not seeking out respect and choice from others, and at the same time demanding both.

People with diabetes demand respect from medical professionals, Pharma, insurance companies, coworkers, the media, TSA and everyone else on the planet.

We demand diabetes choice re: healthcare coverage and access to medications to manage our diabetes care, including but not limited to insulin, other injectables, oral treatments and inhalable meds.

We also demand choices re: the tools of diabetes engagement that work best for us as a person with diabetes. The methods we use to administer insulin – MDI (multiple daily injections), inhaling, or administering subcutaneously via pumps or pods, carrying over to blood glucose monitoring instruments including - blood glucose meters and CGMs, and extending to meal plans, exercise, TiR goals, etc.

Our D choices are incredibly personal (while at times being incredibly public), tailored to our own diabetes measurements, including physical, emotional, and financial, while simultaneously including input and approval from HCP and insurance providers.

As PWDs, we’ve come to expect battles with our health insurance, and at times with our healthcare professionals when it comes to our choice of diabetes management and weaponry.

But judgement and disrespect from others within our own community because of different diabetes types, choices and/or management styles?

Yeah, most of us never bargained for that.

Coming together and sharing what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to life with diabetes, honestly, enthusiastically, and with gusto is what makes our community so damn badass.

Fighting and/or shaming other PWDs on social media platforms because of diabetes choices differing from our own, shines a spotlight on the cracks in our foundation.

Wearing an insulin pump doesn’t mean you’re managing your diabetes better than someone who doesn’t. Using BGM and MDI doesn’t mean you should be the victim of stigma or made to feel like you are doing anything wrong.

If you’ve experienced diabetes success with keto, low carb, vegetarian or any other meal program (I refuse to use the word diet in this piece) that’s great.

That doesn’t mean it’s okay to call out others who aren’t following your nutrition plan.

And FTR: Telling a person with diabetes, no matter the type, what they should or shouldn’t eat, rarely goes over well.

Not having diabetes-related complications doesn’t make you a better person with diabetes, than those who do.

Nobody deserves to be reprimanded or made to feel ashamed because they live with complication(s).

Living with Type 1 Diabetes doesn’t elevate you to an elite-level diabetes status over those who are not - we’re not Special-Ops Forces!

If you become defensive when Chris Q. Public judges you or your loved one because of Type 1 - I get it!

With that being said, please remember throwing a whole subset of PWDs under the bus because they live with Type 2 in-order to defend yourself, is equally wrong.

And quite frankly, if you believe someone is less deserving of respect because their diabetes choices and or types are different from yours, then I have two things to say to you:

  1. You’re wrong
  2. There but for the grace of diabetes go I.

Being passionate about your diabetes choices and management style is fantastic! More power to you and ROCK ON.

Passionately disrespecting others on social media and face-to-face re: their diabetes choices, type, etc., is not.

Bottom line: We are all people living with diabetes, members of an elite club that none of us wanted to join. We are in this together.