Monday, 24 February 2014

To Have Diabetes Or To Be Diabetic?

After hosting the Our Diabetes tweet chat last Tuesday, another conversation caught my eye:

"Thoughts on the word diabetic?"

As sad as this might be, I've spent a lot of time thinking about this. 

To be a person with diabetes. To be a person who has diabetes. To be diabetic. To be a diabetic. 

So many variations, and so many opinions about which is preferred.

I personally use all interchangeably. I can't say if it's a conscious decision or not, but in pondering this, I've come to the conclusion that it very much depends on the context of the conversation and who I'm engaging in conversation with.

When I'm with people I don't know very well, I say "I have diabetes" but when I'm with my family and other people I'm close to, I'll use the word "diabetic", and I think this is because I know my family and closest friends are well aware of the fact that there is more to my life than living with this chronic condition. But to those I don't know, I don't want to be remembered for that reason, as, like my family and friends know, there is so much more to me.

The way I see it, whether I use the phrase "I have diabetes/I'm a person with diabetes" or go the with adjectival form "I'm diabetic", the fact of the matter is the same: my pancreas still doesn't produce any insulin.  However, I'm sensitive to other people's personal preferences, and I understand why saying "diabetic" is disliked. 

For me, however, "diabetic" is just fine.

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