I guess I am not a "Diabetic"

Ok, so for the last 39 years I have always considered myself a diabetic.
I guess I have been wrong, according to what I have been reading I am a PWD (person with diabetes).

So . . .
Are people with Epilepsy a PWE ?
Is someone with cancer a PWC ?
Are people with arthitis or asthma or Alzheimers a PWA ?
Are people with Osteoporosis a PWO ?

So where does this PWD stuff come from ?
Am I now politcally incorrect for calling myself a diabetic ? or worse than that; Am I old-fashioned ???

I have a feeling someone someplace just didn't like the word "diabetic" so they felt obligated to come up with something else.

Oh well, to me I will always be a diabetic; life goes on.

Funny I was just talking with my students today about political correctness and when it goes too far. When it goes too far imho is when it tells us how to describe ourselves. If you have been comfortable for 39 years in calling yourself a "diabetic" and still feel that way, than that is what you should call yourself. Some people feel that the language influences how others see them and even how they see themselves. They feel that the word "diabetic" (or schizophrenic, etc) defines who they are, but a "person with diabetes" just states it is one of many things that describes the whole. Whatever feels right to each of us...is right for us!

This is a very old semantic discussion that has never really interested me. I don't have a lot of ego invested in this particular "naming" discussion.

But I get it and so don't judge those for whom this matters. Growing up in 50s and 60s America--I was a "dumb blonde" and a "dumb dancer". It actually was a very difficult stereotype to deal with emotionally back then as a pre-teen and teenager--I was told literally not to "bother my pretty little head" with the calculus and physics I signed up for my senior year in high school---when I thought I might like to be an astronaut!

It doesn't matter to me at all now. I'm diabetic or a diabetic or I have diabetes or I'm a person with diabetes. It's all the same to me. But for some folks it is very important and so I respect that.....I will say that PWD is a useful code acronym in the DOC (diabetes online community) because it is utilitarian.....Blessings on us all, whatever we choose to call ourselves.....Judith in Portland....

It's funny, but the first place I encountered the acronym PWD was referring to "people with disabilities." This was years before I started seeing it used in teh DOC (which I discovered in 2005). So now, whenver I see it, that's what jumps to mind first. I have to consciously shift my thinking to "people with diabetes" when I see PWD used in a diabetes context.

As for person-first or not, I've written a lot about my personal opinions and beliefs before so won't repeat myself here. And you're right, everyone needs to use whatever term they find most comfortable.

You can call yourself whatever you want to and people will respect that, I think plenty of people still use diabetic. I think the thing with diabetes is that there has been a lot of judgement and discrimination against people who have it, for many reasons, (and maybe against other conditions also I'm sure), to the point that people hide it and so on. I can't think of any other condition that uses an adjective like this to describe people who have it- maybe I'm wrong and there are some- ie: heartdiseaseaetic, canceretic and so on, lol. So that may be why many people feel more comfortable with pwd or with saying I have diabetes etc.

Allergic? It would be kind of weird to say, "I'm a person with allergies to cats" instead of "I'm allergic to cats." And anemic? I'm too tired to think much past the A's, though...

Well said, Meee. And Jen---love it---I am also a PWF and a PWA,a PWT and a PWL(person with fibromyalgia, arthritis, thyroid problems and person with liver problems)....Endless possibilities. LOL......

We could almost put them after our names, like honourary degrees. ;)

You're right Jen, there are some and more probably but I don't think the medical profession or others would say she/he is an anemic or an allergic etc? Maybe I'm wrong though. Usually you say I'm/he/she is allergic to or has an allergy to, but you don't say "they" are "an" "allergic". I don't know, something about that in relation to diabetes just seems weird to me?

But now that I think of it I just thought of alcoholic and addict etc. Maybe there are more....

lol.. that would be funny, I'm sure we would have a long list then and they would be hard to remember! Judith, lol :-)

that would be great. im gonna practise my signature with it!

Mee and panceraswanted....wish there was a simple "like " button via ning. Well said!.....

Actually the first I heard of it was PWA's. "People with AIDS". During the height of the AIDS epidemic there was both incredible stigma and the resistance to having AIDS define oneself.

I wish Ning had a Like button, too! Lots of times I don't have much to say but wish I could like a comment. :)

When you put "a" or "an" before something you are using it as a noun, not an adjective. So then the discussion is about "I'm diabetic" versus "I'm a diabetic" which is different than just discussing whether the word "diabetic" itself is preferable or not. I think you are right that people don't typically say medical conditions as nouns, but I think we could probably brainstorm lots that are used as adjectives.

I think the problem generally come from people who do not seem understand or who have not thought about the etymology of words. For example, I find that people who are not familiar (or do not think about) the image of cancer are the ones who ask the question "If no one says cancerous with respect to a person with cancer, why do people say diabetic instead of people with diabetes". I'm not a native English speaker but I wish people who are native English speakers spend a little more time learning and understanding their language or do not let another person define who or what they are. Personally, I refer to myself as diabetic, instead of PWD or person with diabetes.

I had a friend in junior high/high school who used "diabetic" as a perjorative label for any bland food he didn't want to eat :-). To me that always felt funny because the food doesn't have to worry about its own bg or take insulin shots!!

Can I send this degree back? If I can. Tell me where to send it. LOL


The first I ever heard PWD was on this board, and and frankly it took a few years for me to figure out. As a PWA, and a PWD, and a 40 year diabetic, I guess I am pretty comfortable being a diabetic, and yeah I can adopt the PWD label if it makes others feel more comfortable.

To tell you the truth, No one has ever asked me to use one over the other or criticized me for not using one or the other. I figure the best thing about PWD is it is easier to type. As a typing/spelling challenged person, I welcome anything that is easier to type or spell...rick

Wow, some people really get wrapped around the axle on stuff that really baffles me. Honestly, I don't have any idea, at all, what you're talking about.

Seems like this is just stirring up <expletive>. It's a handy acronym, nothing more. It's much easier in on-line discussion to type "PWD" than it is to type, "a diabetic".

I never refer to myself, or anyone else, as a "PWD" in verbal conversation. I call them a diabetic. Conversely, on-line I rely heavily on PWD -- I have lazy fingers. Further, for us lazy finger types it's a very useful tool to distinguish between the diabetic themself, and care-givers around them -- in conversation here.

However, most importantly I have never, ever seen anyone criticize another for posting "diabetic" instead of PWD. There simply is no culturally enforced "proper labels" issue here, so I'm at a complete loss as to where the accusation of PC is coming from.

It's just people talking. Lighten up a bit.