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Living with Diabetes

Diabetes is full of reasons to laugh

3/21/2019 by Scott Johnson

Diabetes is full of reasons to laugh

Diabetes is annoying. No question. It’s as pleasurable as stabbing myself with sharp objects and bleeding on things many times each day …

But there are positives to be found, and we work hard at mySugr to transform some of the diabetes drudgery into things that put a smile on your face.

Charlie Chaplin quote - a day without laughter is a day wasted

I don’t know if it’s the sheer seriousness of what we deal with or the complexity of situations we face, but it seems a strong sense of humor develops as we navigate life with diabetes.

Or maybe diabetes has pushed us over the edge and we’ve all cracked? Now that would be funny!

I laugh thinking back to some of my experiences and stories I’ve heard.

Oreos & napkins

I remember being about seven or eight and having a low. Mom prepared a stack of Oreo cookies in a napkin and handing them over she said, “now DON’T eat the napkin!” As she walked away, I took a bite (of the napkin, of course) and puzzled over why this thing in my mouth didn’t feel like an Oreo!

Giant truck tires

Then there’s a brunch meeting with my friend Molly. She storms in, visibly frustrated about something. She settles herself and describes narrowly avoiding a giant tractor tire that broke free from a flatbed semi-truck on the freeway just minutes ago. Holy crap! Those tractor tires are huge! That would have been a tragic accident!

But you know what she was upset about? Do you know what her first thoughts were after the high-speed evasive maneuvers? She didn’t think about almost being killed by a giant tractor tire – she was mad because the surge of adrenaline was messing up her blood sugars! Ha!

Dumb diabetes questions

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Test strips!

  • My friend Dean found a test strip inside a sandwich he’d just taken out of the microwave. How in the..?
  • Something once went wrong while opening my bottle of test strips at a restaurant and I sprayed them all over, "pfffffffffftttttt," like that mean card game, 52-pickup. 
  • What about finding test strips out in public? I always feel a bond with one of my diabetes brothers or sisters who has been there before...

You know you have diabetes when

  • Summer brings infusion set/CGM sensor shaped tan lines
  • You recognize certain sounds in public (diabetes device beeps, a bottle of test strips opening, ratcheting up a dose on an insulin pen, or a lancing device firing)
  • You're really good at multiplying by 15 (old school carb exchange, anyone?)
  • "Does this taste diet to you?"
  • Your beach cooler is full of diabetes supplies, not beverages

Laughter is good medicine

I enjoy laughing. It feels good and makes me happy. It might actually be good for diabetes, too:

  • Laughter has been shown to reduce stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. And for most of us, stress hormones cause our blood sugars to soar. Laughter also boosts overall well-being and promotes a positive mood so stress can be managed easier.
  • A small study in Japan found that laughter lowered the post-meal BG rise for subjects with type 2 diabetes. Can you imagine a prescription for 10 minutes of laughter with your meal?
  • Some experts say that laughing boosts the immune system and strengthens defenses. That sounds like a good thing because being sick usually also makes blood sugars much harder to manage.
  • Laughter relieves pain by stimulating the production of anti-inflammatory and analgesic substances in the blood. So think about something funny the next time you have to poke yourself!
  • Laughing makes you beautiful! It is thought that your skin is supplied with more oxygen through laughter. Imagine that! You can laugh yourself pretty!


As a side note, I wonder what it's like to research laughter? Do you think it's a fun job?

Diabetes is often thick with irony, and sometimes there’s no other reaction than to laugh. Like the time I forgot to take my lunchtime insulin because I was interrupted by a phone call … about my insulin. C’mon! Seriously?

How does your life with diabetes look? Sure, we know it’s no laughing matter, but within that, within the hard work and effort, do you find reasons to smile? Can you relate to any of these stories?

Join us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and SHARE your #FunnyNotFunny experiences with us and let's laugh our way to greater awareness together!

The mySugr website does not provide medical or legal advice. mySugr blog articles are not scientific articles, but intended for informational purposes only.
Medical or nutritional information on the mySugr website is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult a physician or health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Scott Johnson

Almost famous for his addiction to Diet Coke, Scott has lived well with diabetes for almost forty years and is currently the Patient Engagement Manager, USA for mySugr. He's been an active pioneer in the diabetes social media space for more than fifteen years and manages his award-winning blog, when time allows.