Playing the Diabetes Card

A few weeks ago, I was consulted about some potential changes to my position at work. I felt that what had been asked of me was huge, and very unexpected. It was a big step out of my comfort zone. It left me feeling stressed and with blood sugar levels that were through the roof in the hours after I first found out.

I knew that this change was not going to be great for my diabetes, either. It was going to mess majorly with the routine that I had become ever so familiar with over the past four years. I knew that it would make me unhappy and ruin my attitude towards my job.

I pulled out my pump and explained to my boss that I had diabetes. That the little pager-like device attached to my hip delivered all of my insulin, and that I had only just finished fine tuning the insulin delivery settings after three months. I went on to say that I thrived on a routine, and that I didn’t really feel too comfortable messing with it to such a huge extent so early on into my pump therapy.

I felt terrible. I felt so small, and so defined by my diabetes that day. I absolutely hated myself for having to fall back on diabetes as an excuse. I absolutely hated that first impression I had given to my relatively new boss, of both diabetes and otherwise. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what he would have thought, as he asked me if there was anything he could do to help make this change happen.

I was prepared to go back and make a compromise that I felt more comfortable with after much thought, but ended up being offered an even better option.

I felt absolutely terrible for using my diabetes as an excuse in that situation. Very rarely do I use my diabetes as an excuse for anything. Morning coffee. Christmas lunch. Taking on extra responsibilities at work. Helping others. Doing handy work myself to save hiring someone.

But two weeks into this compromise, I realise that it was well worth speaking up. I knew that I would have been unhappy with the original change, and that it would not be good for my diabetes and general wellbeing at all. I know that I am miles happier than what I would have been. And as one of my work Mums reminded me yesterday, this would not have happened had I not spoken up.

The reality is that I do have diabetes, and it can afford me some special privileges if I see fit. Taking into account the special privileges that I’ve been given in trying to operate a broken pancreas for the rest of my life, I think we can just about call it even.

Lunchtime view. #SeptemberSunshine ☀️

A photo posted by Frank (@franksita) on

7 thoughts on “Playing the Diabetes Card

  1. I think it takes guts to do what you did to be honest!

    Fact is….you DO have diabetes and increased stress messes with your BSL and insulin so if you KNOW the new stressful position would make your life more stressful when it comes to your diabetes…then kudos for speaking up!

    It is no different than suffering from any other disability…it all comes down to finding balance that both you and your employer can work with 🙂

    I know when I have my PTSD stress days…my BSL is completely out of control so it would just not have been worth it…would it? 🙂

  2. I am so glad you spoke up. Your choice reminds us to feel better about our diabetes. Feeling centered and focused on the job is a priority. Otherwise its impossible to DO a good job. Next time I hesitate to play the “diabetes’ card I’ll remind myself of your story. Thanks again for being so transparent in sharing…makes my day!

  3. You did the right thing by you. Noone wants to play the d-chats but diabetes sometimes demands it. I played it today to get out of doing something that would stress me out at work. I hated doing it but I’d been battling bgls of 16 to 20 the last 15 hours and I didn’t want to stress myself out even more.

  4. I once had a boss who insisted I get in a fitly river and walk around on cast off cans, glass and submerged wood for a day while we cleaned it up. He was insistent I do it and I gave in. It was an awful mistake. One I never made again. My feet are way to precious to me to do risk cuts or jabs.

    Like I said, it never happened again.

  5. Since the inception of your blog i have followed your posts and feel i have come to know you well by the substance of your words. What you did took real ‘guts”. I know your words will inspire not only the diabetes community but the general community in gaining insight into how diabetes, for the majority whom have a sense of self respect can feel humiliated by admitting our vulnerability. You are going to be a Diabetes Revolutionary, you are and will continue to contribute to making positive reform for the Diabetes Community because you are always true to yourself.

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