What I learned from William Polonsky

Yup, still working on the Friends for Life reviews. 🙂


I went to two sessions hosted by William Polonsky, Diabetes Etiquette and The Great Meter Makeover. I was going to combine them into one post, but the more I started thinking about The Great Meter Makeover, the more I realized it needed a post of its own or this entry would look more like a novel. Dr. Polonsky is the founder of the Behavioral Diabetes Institute. Gosh, I wish I knew about that place when I lived in California!

CWD: William Polonksy


Dr. Polonsky reminded us that our loved ones typically really do care about us but they just don’t know the best way to be supportive.

Okay, right now I want you to think about something other than a pink elephant.




What are you thinking about right now? How many of you are thinking about a pink elephant? It’s a natural reaction. The same thing happens when someone tells a diabetic we are ‘not supposed’ to do something. The natural response is to do the opposite. We become diabetes criminals facing the diabetes police.

I had seen this before, but Polonsky showed us a humorous clip about the types of diabetes police we often see.



How many of you have dealt with Nagging Nancy, Misinformed Matthew, or Gloomy Glenda? I know I have!!

That’s why when he offered us a stack of his diabetes etiquette cards, I grabbed a stack! They are handy little cards that you can fit in your wallet and pass out to people as needed. You can get some of your own in a variety of ways from the BDI website. Over 100,000 cards have been distributed already!

As much as I have dealt with stupid comments related to diabetes, I try to realize that for the most part people have their hearts in the right place. They want to have a relationship and connect with you, and sometimes the only way they know how is a story about grandma’s surgery or the recent news story they heard about diabetes. Granted there are still the bad ones, like the guy last Wednesday who did a monologue in front of a bunch of people about how he served me out of order at our work ice cream social because I have diabetes and he has ‘seen me when I haven’t had my sugar’. To him, I say here’s your sign!


  • I think you mean ‘the elephant in the room.’ A pink elephant is what you see when you’re drunk.

    I’m a bad San Diegan diabetic–I’ve been on the mailing list for the BDI for a couple years now but I still haven’t attended one of their events.

  • Thanks for sharing the video I hadn’t seen it before.

    I’m a fan of William Polonsky. During my recent burnout, I’ve been working through some chapter’s in his book, which has definitely been a big help. Just glad I don’t have “diabetes police” issues to deal with right now! The cards are definitely a great idea though.

  • Great post. I love Dr. Polonsky. I wish there were more of him around.

    I think about how the mental aspect of living with diabetes has been largely ignored for so long. Often times we don’t really find out about it until we’re faced with a crisis, and then have to get help.

    Maybe we could have noticed earlier in the process and started the fight back before hitting rock bottom? Who knows?

    Dr. Polonsky is a great help in this area, and is doing great things for all of us.

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