Working in an office with diabetes brings its own set of unique challenges. There are unexpected late lunches, CGM malfunctions, luncheons (where the food is always a surprise), and the usual celebrations with cakes and cookies.
In our office, we have a monthly birthday celebration for employees whose birthday falls on that particular month. It’s a wonderful way to boost office morale and visit with other co-workers. However, when you’re diabetic, this can be a little challenging.
The first question I get when I walk in the door is, “Would you like a piece of cake?” The polite, “no thank you,” only goes so far when you say it every month. So, then I go to my other excuses, “I just ate a big lunch, and I’m still full,” “I am not a big fan of sweets,” and there’s always, “I’m watching what I eat this week.”
Now, I know you all might be wondering why don’t I just come out and tell my co-workers I have diabetes, and I agree. Sometimes I think it is hypocritical of me to promote diabetes awareness and write about it, but not tell those I see every day. I question this myself.
Yesterday, for example, a co-worker came by my desk with a piece of chocolate cake and asked me if I had gotten a piece and if I wanted one. Instead of telling him no thank you, I have diabetes and sugar really spikes my blood sugar. I simply told him, “No thanks, sugar makes me jittery,” which is partially true. But, why didn’t I just tell him the truth? It sure would have saved me the hassle of coming up with excuses for next month.
The truth is, I’m still scared of what people think. I’m scared they will think the reason I have diabetes is because I didn’t take care of myself like I should have, I ate too much sugar, I didn’t exercise enough, etc. I’m scared I’ll be put into this negative diabetes stereotype that the majority of society has us in.
One time, I remember telling someone I was diagnosed with diabetes, and their response was, “Man I’m sure glad I don’t have that. That’s why I try and take care of myself.” I almost lost it.
Maybe in a few of months I can muster up the courage to tell my co-workers I have diabetes. Until then, whenever I get the email titled, “Cake Anyone?” I will just have to put on my armor of self-control and politely say, “no thank you.”
Please note: My supervisors do know I have diabetes, so they can assist if any complications do arise. I strongly feel it is important to inform at least one or two supervisors or co-workers of any health issues you may have for safety purposes.