Today, Nov. 9, is annual Diabetes Blog Day, thanks to community member Gina Capone, who founded this effort six years ago. It's a day for us D-Bloggers to rally, and try to combine our collective voices to rustle up some attention from the outside world. A perfect effort for National Diabetes Awareness Month, of course!

This year's topic is: 6 things you want people to know about diabetes.

When Gina says "people," I'm taking that to mean those outside our patient community, who do not live with diabetes themselves. What six things would I really want them to know? {Caution: some bad language was inevitable in this post}

1. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are very different, even if the End Game is the same.

Do not ever assume that someone who looks skinny can't have diabetes — or that any of us got it by eating too much candy. Recommended reading: "Diabetes: Two Diseases in One."

2. Managing a chronic illness is not synonymous with being "brave."

We do what we need to do to survive. Period. So if you see someone poking their finger and drawing blood for a test, or doing the same for their child, please don't make comments like, "I could never do that! Wow, you are so brave!" That's just BS, as I noted in detail here.

btw, the Huffington Post covered this recently, too, in a post called "Why Are We Expected to Be Brave in the Face of Illness?" Heck, I feel like crying a lot of days. And some days I'm just scared senseless about the future. My only real choice is to keep doing what I need to do to stay alive and healthy. It's called Survival Instinct. We're all hard-wired with it. Kapeesh?

3. Food is tricky, damn it

Where you see tasty morsels, we see math, and risks to be evaluated.  It's hard enough trying to match carb-counts with insulin doses — like one enormous, life-long guessing game. If you're also gluten-intolerant, well... don't get me started.  The point is, the things we PWDs are eating or not eating may not make sense to you. Don't get judgmental, or pry too much if we don't want to explain our every choice. Just go with it. Much appreciated.

4. Butting in is not the same as helping.

(Related to No. 3.)  This applies to those pesky "Diabetes Police." Craning your neck to peer at someone's glucose meter, and then making ignorant comments about the numbers is Not Helping. Asking "Can you eat that?" is Not Helping. Pointing out every "sugar-free" food in the supermarket is Not Helping.

If you really want to help, start by being a good listener. Then maybe ask your friend or loved one with diabetes how you can best be supportive to them. Even if they don't want you involved at all, it's hekka nice to be offered.

5. Appreciate how lucky you are, and what a burden diabetes actually is.

Honestly: you don't know what you've got till it's gone! Take it from someone who spent 37 years of her life eating freely, exercising when she wanted to, not relying on any medications, and never, ever having to worry about passing out or slipping into a coma. All the things that healthy people can do without thinking about them become a really big deal when you have diabetes, in particular when you're dependent on insulin. Respect the burden.

And if you've labeled "pre-diabetic" or have a family history of Type 2 and know that you're at risk, for God's sake, do something about it now! If you choose to ignore it, you will not like the results. That's a promise.

6. If you provide care for people with diabetes, you need to "Get It" (now, not later)

I recently read an article about a doctor who created an iPhone app for diabetes, and frankly, it pissed me off. Because it was yet another story of someone who's been wagging their finger at diabetic patients for years, until they suddenly had a personal brush with this disease and "got religion," so to speak.

Note the last paragraph of this story: "When he first became pre-diabetic and started paying attention to his own lifestyle habits, he suddenly understood that he was doing 'exactly what I have observed my patients doing for the past 35 years,' Calder writes. 'There really is a big difference between knowing and doing ... My life is on the line, and I alone am responsible for the outcome.'"

Duh. What the hell? So this doc has been preaching at patients for the last 35 years without the least empathy for their real-life challenges?

I know it's hard to understand stuff until it happens to you personally, but if you're going to spend your professional life working with and /or advising people with diabetes, YOU NEED TO 'GET IT' — NOW, not at some distant point in the future when 'OMG, it happened to me.'

It can't be an "us and them" mentality. You have to picture yourself in the patient's shoes!

That is all.

Happy D-Blog Day.

Oh btw, follow the hashtag on twitter today: #dblogday

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.