Unsolicited Advice- We Are Not Alone
I thought armchair medical quarterbacking might be a unique diabetes phenomenon. People who live with diabetes often hear these kinds of things:
That new pump with automatic shut-off sounds like something everyone should have- when are you getting one?
I can't believe you let her go to the carnival without an adult- that seems so risky.
My coworker with diabetes completely eliminated carbs and she's doing great! You should try that.
My nephew never had a 504 plan and he graduated high school with straight A's and a 1300 on his SAT's. Why would you have one for your daughter?
I happen to be spending time with a few different people these days who have medical conditions other than diabetes. I'm learning that we diabetes people are not alone. The free dispensing of unsolicited advice crosses many disease platforms. I've heard 'suggestions' like:
I never went to a doctor for my rotator cuff issue- my chiropractor is amazing. Alternative medicine is the only way to go.
My cousin had that kind of cancer and never considered new or experimental treatments. It seems really risky.
Dad wouldn't have put up with the pain long enough to try physical therapy and pain management for his back issue. He went straight for surgery. I can't believe you're going through all of that.
There's a catch-phrase in the diabetes community: Your Diabetes May Vary (YDMV). In many ways it applies to other physical conditions too. There are so many reasons (more than this short list) that different treatments and lifestyles work better for different people with the same diagnosis:
-First of all, the diagnosis might not be quite the same at all...type 1 vs. type 2, different kinds of back injuries, different kinds and stages of cancer.
-A condition can physiologically manifest itself differently in a different body.
-Insurance coverage and ability to pay can influence medical choices.
-Education and prior life experiences influence decisions people make about treatment.
-Quality of life has a different meaning for everyone, leading to different tactics for managing a health condition while living a full life.
I think it's okay, if not downright helpful, to talk to each other about the different ways we manage diseases. We can certainly learn from one another, and it's often useful to hear and to try new ideas. What's not helpful is insert assumptions or judgements into the conversation. It's important to respect and support the decisions people make, even if they're different than yours. What works for one may not work for another.
At least, diabetes friends, we're not alone. It turns out that Your Disease, Discomfort, Distress, or Dietary Restriction May (Also) Vary. And that people have opinions about all of them.