Diabetes Family

Diabetes Family is a friend waking up in the middle of the night to test your blood sugar, just to check that you’re doing ok after a night out.

Diabetes Family is your friends holding your hand over the bar as you cry about being burnt out from diabetes again, and telling you that they understand with only the slight pressure of their thumb on your palm.

Diabetes Family is going to a party and having a ‘hypo table’ set up at the back of the room just for those of you whose pancreases are a little lazy.

Diabetes Family is your friend scrummaging through her bag to find her spare needle/pump site/insulin vial because you’ve forgotten something at brunch, and who has time to drive home to get your supplies when there’s gourmet pancakes in front of you?

Diabetes Family is texting a friend a picture of your “HI” reading with multiple swear words underneath it. 

Diabetes Family is a friend sending an insulin pump to you over the English Channel because yours broke and the foreign country you’re in can’t help you.

Diabetes Family is a friend trying to guess the carbs of the meal she’s made for your birthday.

Diabetes Family is having whispered conversations in a camp dormitory about sex, periods, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and any other subject that type 1 diabetes affects and nobody talks about.

Diabetes Family is late night text conversations and brainstorming when a friend is stuck with high BGLS for no reason and has to find a way to get them down in time for her uni exam tomorrow.

Diabetes Family is a friend good-naturedly rolling her eyes and feeding you lemonade as you hypo-giggle at the roof.

Diabetes Family is wanting to learn everything about diabetes, and taking initiative when I’m not in the position to help you do that.

Diabetes Family is understanding a friend’s struggles, and never making them about yourself.

Diabetes Family doesn’t have to have diabetes, but wants to understand it.

Diabetes Family is finding a deep bond that transcends diabetes, but which is also informed and nurtured by it. It’s using your diabetes to find people who ‘get it’, and then finding the people who not only get ‘it’ but get YOU. 

Diabetes Family is not seeing any of these actions as a burden or obligation.

Diabetes Family is never making you feel like you’re a pain, a money pit, or a duty. 

A true diabetes family makes you feel like you don’t have diabetes – that any hiccup, obstacle, or struggle you might have is part and parcel of loving you. 



Artist: Brunna Mancuso

The topic of World Diabetes Day this year is The Family and Diabetes. It wants to raise awareness of the impact that diabetes has on the family, and how they can help and support us. Please remember – we’re well aware it impacts you, and will always feel worse about diabetes affecting anyone or anything than you do. The family can be an amazing support system, but family is not always blood. Hold your tribe tight – a support system is invaluable.


4 thoughts on “Diabetes Family

  1. Thank you for this post. I read it through a few times and it’s really touching. The emotional journey on the T1 transport that you didn’t actually buy a ticket for is certainly tough. Just started following you. I hope my blogs are as capturing.

  2. Diabetes family is also pledging your family, fortune and future to a person with diabetes despite the many risks. Thank you for the leap of faith Sheryl Phillips, 41 and still going !!

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