Does anyone else get fired up about the language of illness? Here is what I’m writing about today:
The language of illness is very scientific, and women with diabetes are quickly immersed in the challenge of learning a new language after being diagnosed. We are taught words like: 7th leading cause of death, kidney disease, blindness, amputation, society tells us we must combat the illness, wage a war against complications, battle the disease, control our blood sugars. I have never been comfortable with the language of diabetes, and have never felt the terms I used were right, for example the small zippered pouch I use to carry my supplies I call my “shot bag, I don’t even give shots anymore so what do I call it? Was my blood sugar (or glucose) low or was I having a seizure? Am I giving myself shots or multiple daily injections? Why, as women with diabetes, do we have to learn to speak like doctors to talk about our disease? And is it a disease or an illness or a chronic condition? If we don’t know how to communicate about diabetes, how can we accept it fully into our lives? How can we bring diabetes to light and own it, color it with a pink ribbon like women with breast cancer if we don’t have the right words?
What do you call yourself: A woman with diabetes, a diabetic woman?
Do you have an illness, a disease, a chronic condition?
Do we need a language all our own?