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Do You Disclose?

Do you tell people about your diabetes? How do you handle disclosure when it comes to employers, casual acquaintances, friends, and romantic relationships? Are you the type to slide it in there - "Hi, I'm Kerri. I'm recently married and I work in health media. I have a couple of cats and... hey, what's that over there? Ihavediabetes. Anyway, I also love Italian food." - or do you have in-depth conversations with people about your disease?

Disclosure is one of those tricky parts of diabetes management that doctors and certified diabetes educators don't often bring up, and it's this month's SUM Musings column over at diaTribe.  Check it out, if you have a minute, and enjoy this rainy and chilly fall Saturday!


I read your article and I do it essentially the same way you do it. The only difference is the conversations. My diabetes is usually brought up when talking about my job (both because of the blogging connection and the fact a diabetic that I met through the O.C. is the one who introduced me to my employer). Also, when I was working at Diabetes Teen Talk, my job, like you, was diabetes so again the answer to "What do you do?" left it wide open. But like you, bolusing or checking my blood sugar have been easy opens and I try to weave it into the story of my life, not necessarily this serious "we need to talk" conversation.

I do disclose, when I feel it's appointment. I mean I wait tell something sorta comes up, like I'm low or having a bad day. When I have the pump or Navigator out. Then I tend to explain, explain type 1 and I gauge the response and see if there is potential to have someone else who knows to treat lows and such.

The topic of my diabetes only usually comes up around food. So I am out to dinner with company, when I place my order I will be sure to tell the wait staff that I have diabetes ( to make sure that my soda is indeed diet ). Or if I am out a party and someone insists I try the super tasty "death by sugar" desert.

I don't come out as a part of conversation most of the time, but I don't hide it either (i.e. checking my blood sugar, blousing, etc.) so it always come up in conversation pretty quick.

I never mention it. Sometimes people see my pump and either recognize it or comment on my really large beeper ;) I'm happy to answer questions but never initiate. Actually, I've lived with my boyfriend for a year now and while he knows I'm diabetic, he's never seen me test or change an infusion set... it just never came up. Maybe I'm just a more private person (who is now commenting publicly on a blog - ha).

It sort of bugs me when I meet another diabetic who brings it up in conversation. I'm not saying it's anything to hide or be ashamed of, but to me it's the same as someone else randomly bringing up Egyptian architecture - not interesting or relevant unless in a group of fellow Egyptian architecture enthusiasts.

I am kind of uneasy about disclosing anything about my diabetes unless of course a low rears its ugly head and then bam I have to explain what happened so that I dont scare ppl . well interesting blog as usual . Have a great evening all .

This is a win/lose proposition. So I don't announce that I have diabetes unless it is necessary or happens to be brought up. I read a lot about diabetes and try to educate people.

As far as the necessary part, there are times when it is important that I have backup just in case. I like at least someone I can rely on if anything bad should happen. It helps me feel more secure and that I have another layer of protection. Other than the 6 pak of apple juice, glucose tablets and kashi bars.

I have always been very open about my diabetes, but a few months ago I moved to a new city where I know virtually no one. I have to say it has been nice to meet new people and go out to dinner and not feel like someone is judging me if I have some dessert or eat some of the bread in the basket. It makes me feel more like everyone else. However, I know I can't keep it a secret forever, but it's fun for a while!

For me the time it comes up most with new friends and acquaintances is when eating together.

If someone sees my fiddling with my pump they may inquire about it. Before that it almost never came up. With close friends I take my blood sugar or did shots right around them - they didn't care.

With casual co-workers and friends of friends I really don't bring it up unless its noticed thought.

Funny though there are people who SHOULD know but I make it a point not to disclose: Doctors.

When I visit a new doctor, like a dermatologist, podiatrist, or other simple prodecure - I often don't check diabetes.

I've found that non-endocrinologists tend to be overly cautious and scared about circulation issues and blood sugar issues - when might make them think twice about them doing a procedure I want.

Of course I wouldn't recommend doing this - but being in great health I just don't see the need to share that when going in to have a blemish removed, or getting my teeth cleaned...


Great article!
I remember how lame I felt when I had to take 'the box' to the school office on my first day of high school. 'The box' was a Tupperware container of juice, granola bars, glucotabs and glucagon - everything for the just-in-case scenario.
Throughout my school days this box was both a safety net for me, but also a sense of shame when I actually had to go to the office and ask for it.
Having a locker and sugar in my backpack meant I never really had to use it, thank goodness.

i had never even thought about this in relation to jobs. i have only changed jobs one time since i was diagnosed, and it was to go work for a family member. unfortunately, this is something i am going to have to deal with again now. stupid job-stealing-bad-economy. grr.
this gives me something to think about i guess.

i talk about it to anybody and everybody. i'm one of those chatty kinda people who has no problems telling people i have diabetes and showing off my pump.

Hey Kerri,

I wrote a dLife column on this one a while back called "Do You Tell?":


Essentially, I'm just totally out there -- but then again, sometimes I just don't feel like talking about it. Ya know?

It depends on the situation. Many of my close friends are also co-workers, so I didn't have to explain much when I came back to work after diagnosis. As far as management goes, the mangers who were there at that time know and have always known. I had to take two doctor-authorized leaves and that sort of information gets around.

I don't hide it, but I don't announce it. Unfortunately, since I'm not very open about it, I've had problems. I've been pulled into the office over taking shots, testing bg in the breakroom, etc. a few times and just today I made the choice to fax my doctor for a letter that will help smooth over anymore "issues" like this when I'm pulled into the office again. My management team is not very understanding and I'm getting tired of fearing for my job when all it would take is for them to actually listen and retain what I tell them about my disease and what it means to have a type 1 employee at the store. ::sigh:: but that is a neverending battle.

With my job in such limbo now, I'm sure I'll deal with this issue more directly when I start interviews again. I feel my experience as a diabetic can be a positive if I spin it correctly, not a negative, but whether I'll bring in up in an interview remains to be seen.

I live in a small town, and I was diagnosed when I was 9.. so everyone knew at the time.

The only time I feel the need to explain to someone who might not know I'm diabetic, is when they use my bathroom, and might see the basket of syringes and the sharps container in there!! ..lol (kind of an ice breaker when dating, I tell ya!)

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