PWD…in print!

I came home from work yesterday to find a giant envelope stuffed with offers for a free subscription (and cookbook! Wowza!) from a magazine called Diabetic Living. I’ve seen it at the check stand in the grocery store before, but I’ve never flipped through a copy. And I have to say that reading the letter they sent didn’t make me want to buy their magazine any time soon (sample quote: “You may never need to inject insulin again. Curious?” Riiiight. Moving on).

However, one section of their mailer caught my eye. The right hand side of their letter listed their esteemed “Advisory Board,” which apparently vets, fact-checks, and approves all of their articles (another sample quote from this letter: “”…you can trust everything in Diabetic Living, thanks to our advisory board.” Again….riiiiight. Ahem. Digression).

Right there under the person’s name and nestled next to impressive letters like M.D. and PhD was “PWD,” short for “person with diabetes.” For those of you not familiar with the term, “PWD” is used often on blogs and diabetes websites to reference us folks in the ‘betes club because some people don’t like to use the word “diabetic.” That school of thought stems from the idea that using the word “diabetic” defines a person solely by their disease. It’s argued that you would never call a person who has cancer simply “a cancer,” and diabetes is no different. We are people first, and happen to have diabetes second.

For me personally, I agree with that general idea, as I don’t believe I’m defined by my disease. I try to use “person with diabetes” as often as possible, and avoid the word “diabetic.” But I also don’t take offense to those who do use the word diabetic, or if I’m called that. To me it’s just colloquial nomenclature, but I do understand the argument.

Either way, it was fun and interesting to see it in print – I’ve never seen a national publication and certainly not a sales letter use the PWD acronym. How about you guys? Do you say “diabetic?” Or has that been permanently deleted from your lexicon?

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Hm….good thoughts. I do use the word “diabetic” but I’ve never really liked it.
Time to make the change!

We only say “PWD” or person with diabetes on our blog, so that’s what I’m most familiar with this at this point. I used to say and write diabetic, but I’d rather not offend anyone with my writing.

When I’m talking out loud, I usually don’t say “pee double-you dee” so I’ll usually say “She has diabetes.”

I usually respond to anything, even–“hey you!”–but I think this is a golden opportunity for US to come up with a term just for us to identify ourselves (that is, people with insulin-dependent diabetes and its sub-strata). I, being LADA, vote for WMD (Want My Diabetes? [I don’t]). It makes us sound bad a** and gives us a chance to vent our frustration at this wonderful medical adventure.

I use both, I tend to use PWD when in the company of fellow PWD’s, but with lay people I use diabetic. I also use diabetic when I am saying something quickly cause it’s shorter and I tend to be lazy.

I say I “have diabetes” when it’s relevant to someone knowing (like why postponing lunch to 2:00 PM is NOT an option, or why I am trembling and lightheaded from a low ’cause I stupidly already agreed to postpone lunch). Saying I am diabetic seems to narrowly define me, as that is ALL I am. PWD is fine in print, but only amongst the diabloggers.

Have you read Diabetes Forecast lately? In the Welcome Letter at the front of each issue, editor Kelly Rawlings signs her name with the letters PWD. (She’s pretty active on Twitter, by the way, and is most certainly familiar with the DOC lexicon).

As far as the phrase goes, I generally always type out PWD online. In speech, I’m OK using “diabetic” as an adjective, but not a noun. Explaining that I do certain things because I’m diabetic is more palatable than telling someone that I’m A diabetic. That “a” makes a big difference.

Scott I didn’t know that about Diabetes Forecast – that’s cool! I’ll have to look in my next issue.

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