My husband gets sushi at the same place every time. The guys at the sushi bar know him and enjoy chatting in their native language with my husband each time he stops by. Sometimes we stop by together and they always wonder why I don’t get sushi, too. I have always brushed it off saying I just don’t want any when the truth is that I love sushi, but I avoid rice because it makes blood sugar management a little too complicated for me.
The other day I went to this place alone and was thinking of getting my husband some sushi. I got him the usual when I got asked the usual question in Spanish, “Why aren’t you getting any for yourself?” I said, “No, I just don’t want any, thanks…” Then they offered me a free sample to eat on the spot from a little bowl. For something like this I’d typically give insulin and wait a few minutes before eating. So I didn’t take the sample. They asked again, “Really! Try it! It’s got shrimp and avocado and onions!” I have witnessed them doing this to all the customers that stopped by and rarely did anyone refuse a sample. That all sounded delicious to me but those little sushi rolls still had rice so finally, thinking about how I’m supposed to be a diabetes advocate, I explained to the guys the real reason. “I have type 1 diabetes and must give insulin before eating anything and I don’t want to do that right now.”
“But you’re young and you look healthy.” “Well, I am young and healthy.” Then I explained what type 1 diabetes was and they asked me about how I give insulin. I explained that I give insulin shots as needed to bring down my sugar and to cover the carbs in any food I eat. One guy said, “I didn’t know healthy people could get diabetes…”, shaking his head slowly. Another nodded enthusiastically and said, “Good for you, you seem very happy for a person with something so serious.”
I thanked them for listening, they assured me they would no longer push me to sample sushi, and we said “adios”.
There really are countless opportunities to advocate for our condition. We should take these opportunities, even if someone has been rude, because if not us, then who?