To tell or not to tell...that is the question

As a private person I generally don’t go around announcing my medical conditions…but this might be a time to break the rule and need your advice.

Here’s the situation:

  • I'll be attending a retreat an hour and a half from home- for only 2 days-
    in a fairly remote area-
    I will not be wholly in charge of my normally strict eating schedule and will likely be more active than normal at a higher altitude than normal.
    I am not traveling with anyone else

The registrations form asks "do you have any medical conditions that the staff should be aware of?" I'll b entering this info into an online database...

I am a well controlled I list my diabetes??

i agree w/ Jackie that you should put it on there. Not just in case you have a problem of a diabetic nature but if you get in an avalanche or partially eaten by a bear and need medical treatment, you would want someone to know that they need to keep an eye on your blood sugar while they are sewing your limbs back on.

I agree as well. Please tell them you have diabetes, you never know what could happen. Enjoy your retreat!

I would, in case you get into difficulties and need medical attention. State that you are type 1 diabetic and that you require a diabetic friendly diet. Also take plenty of snacks with you to tide you over between meals if necessary. Whether this is a Christian retreat or otherwise, then you should be exempt from fasting and there should be no problem. The information you give will be treated as confidential.

Excellent Jackie!


Problem is that there are many different ideas as to what constitutes a ‘diabetic friendly diet’.

What if the catering staff use an ADA cookbook? Or one of the Hope Warshaw bestsellers?

I would tell.

Yes, absolutely. But if you’re afraid of being singled out and having “special” meals and so forth, you could also add a note that you take care of yourself and don’t want any special treatment because of it, except in a medical emergency.

If I am called in for a medical emergency - totally unrelated to diabetes, and they tell me you are diabetic, I will test first & then will not give you glucose IV, I will give you another fluid IV. Give yourself the best chance. TELL THEM.

I’m a pretty private person about my D too, but in this situation, I would put it on the form. If only because you’re in a remote area and with no one else who knows that you have D. Also, I would do whatever I could to stay in charge of my “normally strict eating schedule.” For me, changes in my eating schedule can wreak havoc on my BGs and I do whatever I can to make sure that I stick to my routine. If they have rules about eating in certain places or at certain times, do what you can to get an exception. I don’t know what kind of retreat this is, but they should be able to accomodate the need to step away from whatever you’re doing to have a snack.

If it’s a day and a half, I don’t think you need to demand a particular diet or anything (and if you can’t adjust your diet for a day and a half, you shouldn’t be going). I think something like is ideal:

“I have type 1 diabetes, which I manage with insulin shots. It is well-managed and I should not require much special treatment except in the case of a medical emergency. However, I do need to keep a supply of glucose handy, will occasionally need breaks to test my blood glucose, eat a snack or meal, or take insulin, and need to store my supplies in a fridge while I am there or make alternate arrangements if that is not feasible. Looking forward to the retreat.”

I didnt even think about the pesky bear attack possibility…that’s a good point…I see you’re a glass half full kind of guy! :-0

very nice…good advice…thank you


I will add the big D to my registration form. sigh gotta get used to the fact that no matter where I go…there I am…me and my diabetes… Thank you all- you make some great points and things I didn’t even think about!
Love that I can always count on you!!

Now that you’ve made a decision – and a very wise one at that – I’ll complicate things and give you an exception. I once went on vacation with my father and we wanted to sign up for a scuba diving excursion (2 hours long or so). My father is an experienced diver and obviously knows about my diabetes. I’d never done scuba at all. But when I revealed it to the group running the tour, they told me I couldn’t go, which really upset me.

So if you are with somebody you know and trust, then I’d say it’s OK to leave the responsibility in the hands of that person. Of course, that wasn’t the case here…