Yes you would.

“Does that hurt?”

That’s got to be one of my least favorite questions. It’s said when you’re pricking your finger, injecting, or telling someone how a CGM sensor works (“the wires are IN you skin? Really!?”). It’s often accompanied by a face all pinched up in a sort of attempt to convey the pain they’re so sorry you feel. Half the time, I feel like people are expecting me to say “No, not at all. I’ve been doing this for so long that I’ve trained my nerve endings to ignore the fact that I’m drawing blood from my fingertips several times a day. It’s easy!”

But that’s not true. The fact of the matter is that it does hurt. Every finger stick, every injection, every pump site change, every new CGM sensor we shove subcutaneously under the first layer of epidermis YEAH IT FRICKING HURTS.

But the fact that it hurts isn’t what matters with diabetes. Because you’d do it to, if you had to. I know there’s people say they’re afraid of needles (“no dude, you don’t understand, I’m like REALLY scared of needles), but guess what? That doesn’t make you the exception that makes you normal. EVERYONE is afraid of needles. Know why? Because they hurt. The pain isn’t what makes diabetes hard. Not even close. In fact, the hardest part about diabetes isn’t even a physical object. It’s the intangible noise in your head. It’s the worrying and ruminating and calculating that we do all day every day without a break for the rest of our lives.

But guess what? You’d learn to do it to. And the needles would still hurt, but you’d find a way to do it.

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Love this post. My sister says that all the time “I’m really scared of needles. I could never do that”. I try to explain to her that she would do it if she had to but she says she wouldn’t. I hope she never has to find out…


I hate, the I am scared of needles. I always say “I either use needles and pump supplies or I die.” It doesn’t give you much option.

and all this time I’ve been waiting for it to stop hurting.
(just kidding)

What REALLY hurts is the cold basal insulin I inject because I forgot to take a pen out earlier in the day.

I hate that repetitious question, too! Granted, they DON’T understand. It’s just sort of harmless ignorance but what a pain in the butt, and we don’t need extra pain!

I hate the “I would DIE if I had to stick needles in my stomach – there is NO WAY I could do what you do” comments – my reply is “no, you would die if you didn’t”. Stupid people…..

I read this with a bit of sadness. As a non-diabetic I’m lucky to not have to stick needles in myself every day or to know how much the repeated needle sticks hurt. But this means I don’t really know what my 4yo is going through every time I stick him with a lancet. Now he makes it quite clear he doesn’t like site changes (can’t blame him!) but even then there’s rarely tears. But for finger sticks he happily chooses which finger and offers it to me with a smile and never flinches once. To think that the pain has just become accepted by him, having never known any different, is heart-wrenching. Thanks for not letting me forget what he goes through.

Alan, it sounds like you have a very brave little boy! And how lucky that he has a dad like you to take care of him. I can only imagine what it feels like to look at this disease through the eyes of a father and wonder how your child is feeling, but know that you and the other parents of children with T1D are true heroes!

Love this post. Very well said. I totally agree that the worst of it is the intangible noise in our head.

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