Over the years, I’ve heard us betics called many things. “Sugar monsters”, “honey pee-ers”, “cake addcts”, just to name a few. These typically don’t bother me. They are typically said in a “joking manner” and often led by ignorance. I usually just roll my eyes and get over it. But there is one thing I’ve been called that I have an extremely hard time getting over. One word that I hate MOST of all to be called: brittle. When I say the word out loud, I quite literally scrunch my face up and say it with disgust. There are very few things I hate being called more than I hate being called... brittle. As a kid, my pediatric endo (who, if you’ve read any past blogs on him - you know we did NOT get along and he basically ruined me for years haha) would constantly call me “brittle” when I wasn’t having the control he wanted. He’d call me “brittle” when I was admitted for DKA, and called me “brittle” when I wasn’t noticing my lows and highs as much anymore. Any time he said that word, I would feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up and I’d clench my jaw so tightly, it’d be sore afterwards. To me, being called that one word meant one thing: failure. And the last damn thing I wanted to be called when I was doing my best daily to stay alive was a freeeeaaaakin failure. To be fair, I haven’t heard that word much of all in the past... 15 (?) years. whew! Today? Today I heard it again. I just got off the phone with my medical supplier (sounds a lot more gansta than it is haha) and after going back and forth with them on the importance of me having my Dexcom CGM supplies, and back and forth about insurance, doctor notes, the co pays, the lack of communication over me just needing to pay $30 (!!) to start another step in the process, I finally told the lady, “Look ma’am. I’m not trying to take my frustration all out on you and I know you’ve been as helpful as you can be on this phone call. However, you guys are in the business of dealing with diabetics, yes? So I’m assuming you know that all it takes is one time of not waking up to a low to kill me. That’s why I choose to wear my cgm. I want that extra layer of protection and I feel like you guys arent understanding the gravity of not having it.” “No, I completely understand why you’re upset. I’m so sorry to hear you’re a brittle diabetic.” The world stopped. I swear I was so caught off guard that I actually stopped pacing and did the “dog head shake” (ya know, the one where you shake your head to figure out if you really heard what you think you heard) Brittle Diabetic. I want to break this down real quick: there is nothing brittle about diabetics. EVER. I understand where the term came from, I understand that it was probably started to help identify those who need more care, care faster, blah blah blah. I DO NOT CARE. Name one diabetic who is “brittle” as to the word’s meaning: liable to break or shatter easily. Yeeeaaaaaaah, nope. That’s not the definition of a diabetic. Diabetics are strong because we have to be! We can’t afford to “break” or “shatter”. We fight each and every day of our lives to keep living our lives. We put up with so much on a daily basis, not because we want to but because the other option? Is death. I may be alone in getting this bent out of shape over a dumb word. But it’s like I tell my jellyfish daily, “words matter” and unfortunately, that word hits me in allllll the wrong places.
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