Most of us have that one special friend. The friend we can tell anything to The friend that always has our back and the friend that we would walk through fire for. That same friend is the one that can drive us crazy faster than anyone in the world. They always think they know what is best for us and they do not hesitate to speak up even when we wish they would just be silent.
This post is for them. This is the post that diabetics wish their friends would “get” about their lives. These things are not just things we wish they understood on a logical level but would get deep down so they wouldn’t even have to think twice about them. So if you are the “bestie” of a diabetic, sit back and relax, we want to share some love with you.
What we want you to get
- Diabetes is not a “fat people” disease. Some thin people have diabetes. Some people who work out every day, eat very healthily, and look great are diabetics. People like Halle Berry, Tom Hanks, Billie Jean King, and Dick Clark all have diabetes. It’s not always about your weight. It’s about the genes in your family. Yes, a lot of people who are overweight get diabetes, but please do not assume that because I wear a size larger than you do that I have given myself diabetes.
- I can have a little, and nagging doesn’t help. A diabetic has to monitor their blood throughout the day. By monitoring their blood and planning their day, they can make choices to join in the fun. Maybe I ate a light breakfast and walked a few extra minutes on the treadmill this morning because I knew there would be a birthday cake today for Bob. Announcing that I should not eat it in front of the entire office is not helpful. Respect that I have it under control.
- Learn how to use my blood meter. I do not always know when my glucose is getting low. If I seem to be acting odd, dizzy, grouchy, or just not myself and I can’t explain why, please get my meter. I use a Contour Next meter made by Ascensia. They are industry leaders in making quality diabetic equipment. It is as simple as sticking the side of my finger and putting a tiny bit of blood on a strip and putting the strip in the machine. The numbers will tell you if I need some juice or something to bring me around so I can care for myself. It doesn’t have to be a public display.
- I can still go out and do lots of things. Don’t exclude me. I am like anyone else, I can decide if I feel like going shopping or out to dinner. Don’t make my decisions.
- Instead of monitoring me, try to get on board sometimes. Sometimes try the sugar-free cookies or the cauliflower pizza crust with me. Sometimes it is nice to have some support. Criticism doesn’t help, support does.
- My foot pain is not like yours. When I say I can’t go out because my feet hurt, I don’t mean my feet hurt like yours do when you have shopped all day or walked a 5K and your feet are sore and tired. A diabetic has foot pain that hurts so intensely that it feels like walking on broken glass. Nerve pain in the feet is serious pain, and eventually, we can lose all feeling in our feet. We have to be very careful with our feet, So, if I can’t go for a walk on the beach or if I wear goofy beach shoes to protect my feet from shells or rocks, understand and just go with it.
- I need you. Having you means more to me than you will ever know. Sometimes I just need to be with someone who knows everything about me and loves me anyway. I need your support. If I don’t show it sometimes, always know that.
- Diabetes costs a lot of money. I spend a lot of money on co-pays, medications, testing strips, and fresh foods. When I can’t afford the latest name-brand shoes or to go to the club every weekend, it may be because of my budget. Please understand this.
It is difficult to live with diabetes. When you can lean on a friend, it makes things easier. Don’t forget to have a friend, you have to be a friend. The most important thing is to never judge and to always support. We won’t always get things right, but we will be okay as long as we do our best. If the day ever comes when you are diagnosed with diabetes, I will be right there with you, showing you support and love just as you have done for me.