Cat's Out of the Bag! (oh, boy...)

Okay. For those of you who know me, I'm a pretty private person when it comes to my D. I've been type 1 for 12 years and I've struggled pretty badly. I've been through a lot from ketoacidosis to insulin shock comas, etc. But it's NOT for lack of trying! I know a LOT about D, but I'm always still learning.

I keep pretty quite about all of this at work. I work in an office and have worked in an office for about 7 years. I've been within 3 different departments in the past 7 years, and have managed to keep my diabetes under the radar. I tell my manager only, and specifically ask her to not talk about it to anyone because I'm not an open person when it comes to my D. Especially with people that I have to see every single day. And people who I have to spend 8 hours a day with (which amounts to probably more time than I spend with my family) who THINK they know, but have no idea. I honestly would rather spend my time working while I'm at my JOB, than arguing with people over what's okay for me to wear and/or what's okay for me to drink. I don't need people who don't understand my situation to pass judgment on me.

So, within the past four weeks, while I was going through some diabetic trauma, with swinging blood glucose from 30 to 300 consistently, my boss told everyone in my office that I was out of work for one day (ONE day!) because I am diabetic.

Now, my co-worker, who is type 2 but under good control (her "highs" are 103), has taken it upon herself to school me on what I should and should not be doing. The chart above is what was happening when I went home early one day. I just could NOT concentrate. Last week she said "I feel the way you were feeling the other day when you went home- all light headed."

"Ummm... you have no idea" is what I WANTED to say, but I just said: "Oh, really?"

I don't EVER skip work or go home early. I probably took TWO sick days all last year.

This morning, I'm wearing my awesome shoes- like always- I love heels and strappy shoes, etc.

I have NO problems with my feet and my Endo has seen me in my fantastic shoes many many times. He only asks that they fit well when I wear them. And they do. NO problems with my feet.

But this morning, she took it upon herself to point out: "Aren't your feet cold? You aren't supposed to be wearing open toed shoes anyway. What did your doctor say?"

The only thing I could reply was: "My doctor told me I can wear anything I want to. Mine is a lot different from yours."

And her reply: "Oh really?"

So, I know that she's partly concerned, but part of me thinks she's just looking for someone to relate to, or complain about her diabetes to, or someone to school. Honestly I've been teaching her about carbs and whatnot for almost two years now- she just never knew WHY I knew so much about all that stuff.

And the tone of her voice is more: "I know something the rest of the office doesn't know." rather than in a whisper of: "I know you don't like to talk about this, but I just wanted to ask if it's different for you to wear shoes like that rather than for me to."

It just seems really gossipy and I don't like it. At all.

I'm private about my health. I don't want a big production about it.

And I'm really pissed at my boss for letting it out. I didn't give her permission to.

How would you handle this?


How about, ‘thanks for your concern but I don’t talk about my Diabetes’, or ‘my treatment is between my doctor and me’ .

Just needed a little pick me up.
Here’s my cat, Liar, asleep on my book.
sigh deep breaths.

Thanks. I guess I’m really angry at my boss and I want to address it with her too. I’ve spoken to her only three weeks ago, REMINDING her that I do NOT talk about my diabetes at work, and she said: “I really don’t think it’s a big deal, but I understand where you’re coming from.”

Should I address my issue with my co-worker with my boss? Kind of make it a third party thing?

I’m really uncomfortable being a spectacle at work.
(unless it’s people oohing and ahhing over my shoes)

Well, as you say, the cat’s out of the bag. What’s done is done. Can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. yadda yadda yadda.

As for your boss. either let it go or change jobs. Having this resentment fester will affect your performance and relationship, probably poison it. So tell her you’re unhappy, accept the fact that she’s clueless, don’t tell her any more secrets and move on.

As for your co-worker, I would find a way to co-opt her. Head her off at the pass if you would. Sounds like she may be looking for a diabetes partner. Either become full-blown diabetes sister and take over or have a frank discussion. Tell her that you know she knows a lot, but Type I and Type II have significant differences and you know a lot about Type I. Explain that you don’t like to talk about it, but you’re willing to share and set some clear ground rules. For instance, exchange information only in writing or by e-mail. No giving unsolicited advice (approach this as YOU won’t give HER unsolicited advice, because you think it’s rude - maybe she’ll reciprocate.)

Just some ideas from a guy who hasn’t had to deal with this issue. I came out of the closet a couple of years ago and told everyone WAY more than they wanted to know - now they don’t ask or suggest.

Good luck,


I would address these issues with Human Resources. For a supervisor to let out one’s private, medical information, is a serious violation of confidentiality… and it warrants disciplinary action. This is my field… Human Resources. Had I, in my capacity, ever told anyone about someone’s private information without their consent, I would’ve have either been seriously put on warning/probation, or fired.

Thanks Lizmari. I thought so too. I’ve had a lot of issues with type 1 and bosses over the years. About 5 years ago, I was in an office and went into Dka. I was in ICU for 3 days, and then went home for 1 day to rest. My boss put me on probation and gave me a written disciplinary demerit because I was out of work for more than 2 days.
Ummm… I was in Intesive Care Unit!!! It’s not like I was at the beach. I NEVER take unwarranted days off from work, but sometimes ■■■■ hits the fan and I can’t control it. I get wicked sick about once per year. We’re not talking anything MAJOR here.

But anyways. The only thing is I have a tattoo on my arm of my type 1. No one has really asked about it, and the cat could have gotten out otherwise. I am POSITIVE that it was my boss who talked because she has little class when it comes to hiding secrets (like Rose on Golden Girls), but she could definitely argue that others found out from my tattoo or the fundraisers that I do for type 1- though I’ve never SAID that I was type 1 myself.

I don’t think I can do anything to her, other than punch her in the face. After all, we DO work in the city. Who would guess it was me? I look so sweet? haha.

I would be straight with her and tell her when your at work your at work and when your with your doctor is the time to be talking about diabetes. That should shut her up!
Your boss did not have any right to disclose your health to anyone without your say so esp when you told them not to, arghhhhhh people are so annoying at times.

I was so angry today about someone opening and reading my report from my doctor they didn’t even have the intelligence to put the letter in the envelope the right way instead they put it in with the end fist and resealed the old envelope.
I mean what’s the point it’s not like there was cash or anything about it just showed my results. The cheek of some people seriously.
By the way your shoes are awesome maybe she just jealous!

no idea how to handle the coworker/boss thing but try to be nice as much as you can and BTW nice shoes.

So sorry this happened to you. I relate totally to your desire for privacy. The ignorance and misunderstanding from those who don’t have T1 is too much to deal with. All I would do now that the cat is out of the bag is be as casual as possible about it and minimize it as much as possible until people forget about it.

thanks Danny. I needed to laugh today.

Just unwarranted and undesired stress added to my already stressful paper-pushing work job. No offense, but espeically working in an office FULL of women. I’m not the gossip type.

Last thing I was is the Pity Party Police. haha. I’ve handled to the best of my ability and I’m still trying to learn more every single day. I just wish people would be more observant about how people handle these things. Obviously if she didn’t know for the past 2 years, then why would she believe that I was the type of person to broadcast?

Observe, people, observe THEN act!

Terry, I think this is the best advice for me. I’m a writer. I express myself really well in writing. Maybe if the issue persists, I will address it through email. If she doesn’t “get it”, I will address it through my boss. If she still doesnt “get it” I will address it with my boss’s boss. HIS son is type 1. He will understand. :slight_smile: That’s the ace in my pocket. Just trying not to take it out.

I don’t want the pity, nor do I want the badgering, nor do I want the “she uses it as an excuse” card. (cuz I’ve NEVER).


If the letter thing had happened to me, I would have screamed. First of all, that’s a federal offense in America. You cannot tamper with someone’s mail. They would go to jail.

Thanks. I have about 20 pairs of heels. I can’t wear flats because they hurt my feet! haha. So, lucky me, I get to wear the awesomest shoes ever all the time!


I think that’s my problem. I’m TOO nice at work.
In my “real” life, I’m straight forward. But at work, I’m kind of complacent (is that the right word? For some reason, I’m picturing my words as constipated, but I know that’s not right)

Thanks! On Facebook, I have an entire photo album devoted to my shoes. It’s my vice. haha.

Thanks for understanding Don.
I thought for sure I was going to get badgered for this complaint.
“She’s just concerned!” - sigh

you guys are awesome.

Aww, Marps, I’m sorry…

That’s a horrible thing for your boss to do, in addition to being a really bad breach of confidentiality. Unfortunately, I think Terry is right about having really only two options. You are either going to have to let it go, or make a major change in your employment. Harboring resentment will only make your workplace toxic.

As for the annoying co-worker, you need to take some proactive measures to get her under control. Just telling her not to talk about it probably won’t work, but giving her a specific, finite means of communication will at least curb the annoyance factor. I think having a quiet little heart-to-heart about what is and what is not acceptable would be the best method. Maybe suggest to her that you only want her help or advice if you request it at some point in the future (and then give her some dumb little task later on to make her feel like she is contributing. Unfortunately, ignoring her is out of the question at this point, so your next best alternative is to try and be a little sympathetic and deal with her in a kind way.

Of course, all of this is easier for me to type than for you to have to actually do. It sucks that we get put in these situations…

Good point Don.

The nice thing about office gossip is that it only lasts until the next stupid little thing comes along. People are really very petty, but at least most of them seem to have an acute case of ADD…

Thanks for understanding Brett.

I’m considering sending an email to her, but she seems like the type of person who will either burst into tears because she will feel humiliated, or sound like she understands, but later will turn it around and tell everyone that I sent her a “demeaning” email. I’m not sure which side of her is going to react first.

I guess I’m going to just have to feel out the situation for a while.

Your coworker may have little understanding of your wish to keep your diabetes a private matter. I would suggest that if you discuss it properly, most people willl not respond badly. You have certain ‘reasons’ why you wish to keep this private. You want to be treated like everyone else, you wan’t to be respected for what you can do, not because you have D, etc. Instead of asking for her to fix her behavior, ask her to “help” you. Get her to understand it is your wish to keep your D private and ask her to help you make it so. You can even confide in her your dissappointment and hurt at your private matters being revealed. People respond better to this sort of approach.

ps. And if you think your boss won’t respect your privacy, it is very appropriate to have HR give him some reeducation.

First of all I am sorry to hear that you have been put in that situation at work. Work is a big extension of our lives and we dont want to feel uncomfortable at work. I think at this point you are in damage control mode, not damage by you but damage cause to you by others. I think going to HR would be your last effort to make work more confortable. Usually from a damage control perspective you only want to get to that level if things get really bad and even after you have gone to HR things get awkard afterwards.

At work we have one on one every other week with our boss and we pretty much talk things out. What is your feel for your boss, do they seem like they are unreasonable or resaonable? If the boss is a person who seems pretty decent then a simple converstation may clear up the air. I would pull her over and tell her I know its not a big deal to you but it is to me to keep things under wraps. Mention the type of work you have completed under the boss so that you are removing the attention from the big D to what you accomplish for the company. I told my boss about my condition and co-workers but that is because I feel like they are an extended family.

Now as far as your type 2 know it all co worker, you can launch full out war if you like. I hate people who are know it alls and try to give you advice, as far as that person be as blunt as possible to get a point accross. Tell her mind your own business about what you do or dont do and pretty much be as direct as possible and tell her you dont need a second mother. With co-workers what I found is that they will try to trample over people if the line is not drawn from the getgo. My wife is very good about this. We met at work and we had people talking behind our backs while we were dating, specailly this one woman. She went directly to the source and pretty much told them if they dont mind their business she would take care of it. Once my wife made her point the person thought twice about giving her unwanted advice.

hope this helps and sorry for your tough time at work.