If you have found this blog, saying Welcome does not really seem appropriate. I know you wish you weren't surfing the internet for diabetes. I felt the same.

A big part of me wishes I were not writing about diabetes, nor did I anticipate to become so opinionated or informed on the subject, but it happened. In 2010, my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

It wasn't really part of the plan… Correction - it was not part of the plan, but it happened. It is not always easy, but I think we are all doing okay, and I hope we continue to do so.

Why the Middle East? I happen to live in Dubai. I don't think that living in the Middle East makes mine or my son's diabetic experience any more unique or challenging than it does elsewhere in the developed world.

I hope you stick around, or read something you like. Feel free to comment and join the conversation, subscribe or follow this blog by liking the Facebook page Diapoint.

Please note: This blog does not give medical advice. I am opinionated, and I share my experiences, but the first rule of diabetes is to follow up with your doctor and/or nurse educator about your care, diagnosis or medication. If you do not have a medical practitioner that is helping you find your way through this crazy world, then do not give up until you find the right one.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Language & Diabetes - Diabetes Blog Week Day 3

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.

I have been fortunate enough to live abroad for almost 20 years now. The first place I lived during this time offered many unique cultural experiences, including a language barrier. English was not as commonly used as it is here in Dubai, so I got to learn another language. It also made me realize that communication is more than just words, and often words are just well, words.

It is not always easy to get your point across in a language that is not your own - especially in the beginning. It is incredibly challenging and frustrating at times. Diabetes is no different. 

Diabetes is like a language, and not everyone speaks it. If there are small phrases used, or questions asked, I am not too bothered. Those people do not speak the language and are completely foreign to the life we live.

I think the general public that does not understand, or has not lived with diabetes or <insert disease> will probably not get it until they have been there. And while sometimes it requires a deep breath, for the most part I remember there are nuances within a language. This is not to disregard the power of words. I just think that once you realize the power of words or phrases in a a language, you reach a new level of fluency.

My diabetic language threshold is crossed when those who do not speak diabetic try to write verbal essays to me. Things like challenging me because they believe I am afraid of homeopathy, and they can cure my son with meditation, or they ask me if my Type 2 cat got diabetes from my son. (Yes, someone did). It is those imposing opinions and poorly written arguments with no backing that are sometimes the challenging ones. 

In these cases I am okay to demystify the myth. I still try to remain calm and kind. Sometimes I am very direct about the consequences of diabetes, but I still try to use a kind tone. I have found this very effective in many cases. Or at least I felt good about it.

Perhaps to those essay writers, my responses are still just words. This is why I believe that no matter how much you educate, or change terms or rename the disease, there will still be a larger population that cannot speak the language. They do not want to learn it, nor do they need to.

A beautiful Japanese menu, which I unfortunately cannot read!


  1. OMGosh I cannot believe someone asked you if your cat got Type 2 from your Type 1 son. What a question!

    I agree with you that a kind tone can go a long way in educating those who don't know any better.

  2. Ashleigh..I talk about this in some of my presentations sometimes. you should hear the gasp by the audience.. It is on my list of "things people say".. the cat question is so "good" its the best for last comment...