Dealing with Work Life/Unsupportive Bosses

So recently I saw an article circulating around Facebook about a news anchor who is a Type One Diabetic. He apparently has issues with his diabetes within his workplace due to time sensitive nature of his job (i.e. having a low fifteen minutes before air time). I read that article and realized that is was sort of ridiculous how much I related to it.

For instance, my day today. I’ve been awake since 4 AM this morning with a pretty gnarly stomach bug. As we all know, managing your diabetes with a stomach bug can be quite a challenge already due to fluctuating insulin needs/food intake, general sickness, and possible dehydration. On top of that, I am six months pregnant. That adds a whole new level of potential risk to this situation.

I tried calling my boss and explaining the situation this morning only to be met with, “We still need you today. There’s nothing I can do about it.” I feel like I’m pretty livid and rightfully so. I have been honest since the day they hired me about my diabetes. They’re usually pretty understanding if I have complications like a low at work, etc. and they know I’m pregnant. But today I feel scorned. They’re asking me to risk my health, AND my child’s health, because they’re short staffed and can’t afford for me to put my health first and not be there.

The worst part is this isn’t the first job I’ve had to put my diabetes on the back burner for, it’s just the first time I’ve had to do it while pregnant and I’m severely uncomfortable with it. I know this is a common issue, almost every job I’ve ever had has asked me to sacrifice my health for my job at some point. My question is, how do you deal with it? At this point I feel like putting in my two weeks and finding employment elsewhere (which I know realistically won’t solve anything but I’m just so irritated right now). Have you ever had to leave a job because they just couldn’t understand your need to put your health first?

I hate that it’s a part of life and “being an adult,” that you are expected to sacrifice your health for work.

I’m sorry that you are going through this with your work. Obviously they do not understand what TD1 is and what you are risking by coming to work in your current condition. Or, even worse, maybe they don’t care. With that said however, their patience and understanding may be wearing thin if you have missed a lot of work lately. Is it possible that your work is building up some resentment toward you? I certainly hope not but with the pending birth of your child (congrats) maybe they are thinking that you are going to be out on maternity and they’re uncomfortable with that. I don’t know. But hang in there and do what’s right and necessary for the sake of your health and your baby’s health. Good luck.

You can ask for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. If there is an HR department where you work you might have to involve them. When I was in this situation I asked my endocrinologist to write a letter listing the specific accommodations I needed. I told him what the accommodations should be since he did not know my exact job responsibilities. By law, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to a person who has identified him or herself as having a disability and has identified the accommodations needed. In my job there was a rule that you had to bring a doctor’s note every time you took a paid sick day. If you didn’t bring a note, a day’s pay would be deducted, regardless of how many sick leave days you had earned. My doctor wrote a note saying that I should be allowed to take a paid sick day due to severe morning low blood sugar episodes without having to see a doctor.

That being said, I question an employer who requires anyone, with or without a disability, to work when they’re sick.

Hi Becca @beccaksmiley,
I feel for you and certainly understand what situation you are in - although I can only relate indirectly to your pregnancy. BTW, best wishes for welcoming a healthy child.

As @janmosso says there are provisions of the ADA, P.L. 101-336, of which you may avail yourself once you submit a formal request for “Reasonable Accommodation”; reasonable accommodation requests do not guarantee that you get everything you want but it is a place to begin negotiation. Do not risk your baby’s health.

It is not your fault that the business is already “understaffed” and I don’t know the type work you do - is it possible that some of your work can be done effectively at home? When “negotiating” what is reasonable for an accommodation you should be prepared to offer suggestions and possible solutions.


Type 1 diabetes, for me, acts like a stress amplifier. When I get really overloaded at work, my stress levels go way up, my schedule gets crazy, my blood-sugar control gets worse, bad eating habits kick-in, I stop exercising, and I get more stressed and exhausted in a vicious cycle. I’ve quit a few jobs because of stress and unreasonable bosses. But I totally know what you mean about bosses who don’t care about your health issues. I had a boss tell me after working two consecutive 90 hour weeks busting butt, that I needed to stay at work until I finished 2 projects that had been dumped on me the day before. Realistically, I had about 40 hours left of work to do, and I was getting really really run-down (Walking-dead is more accurate). I was so pissed-off, I quit on the spot, packed up my desk, and was out of there half and hour later. They called me the next day begging me to come back, but I was done with them. About 6 months later, the electronics manufacturing plant I worked in (Test Engineer) was sold off to another company. I was the only Test Engineer at the company (about 120 people) and I basically ran the entire test department, maintained all the test equipment, kept everything running smoothly, fixed stuff when it broke, had to troubleshoot and debug customer supplied tests, did all the new-product introduction stuff for the test department, managed all the test-department documentation (test procedures, calibration procedures, maintenance schedules, etc), and on top of all that, had to repair and troubleshoot the worst-of-the-worst circuit boards none of our technicians could fix. I swear, that job took 10 years off my life the 3 years I was there. I developed diabetic retinaopathy in my left eye and now require eye injections every 3 months because control of my diabetes was so bad over these 3 years. My advice is don’t sacrifice your health for your job. There’s always another job out there, you only get one life.

Hi Jess,

I was wondering if the eye injections were helping your eye much. Are you receiving steroid injections for swelling? I had to take a few a couple years ago as I had complications after my daughter was born in my right eye, but the injections didn’t help much. Anyway, I started taking a supplement and within a week of taking it, the swelling subsided. Anyway, if you’re curious, shoot me a message and I can give you the info on what I’m taking to help keep my eyes in check. I’m a Type 1 going on 32 years now with the disease.

  • Rachael


I am taking Avastin injections in my left eye about every three months for the past 2 years now. It has reversed a lot of the blood-vessel growth, and stabalized my left eye from getting worse. That stuff also gets into your blood-stream, so my right-eye has not required any injections.

A lot of doctors won’t use Avastin though, because it actually is a colon-cancer drug, and is not approved for eye use. My retinal specialist tells me it is the exact same drug they use in the name-brand eye injections.

The only downside, is that the Avistin needles are filled through a compounding-pharmacy, and they use silicon-oil as a needle lubricant. I got trace amount of silicon oil droplets in my left eye floating around on my vitreous humor. My doctor claims that is about a 1/500 risk, but I was one of the unlucky ones, I guess. It isn’t too bad, but it is a little distracting to have some little floating things in your field of vision. But hey, it’s better than going blind.

I too have had an Avastin injection in my right eye to “dry it up” so that a green-argon LASER could be used to do some mending this was after more than 50 years of needing to rely on LASER to cauterize and/or mend leaky blood vessels and stem the creation of additional vessels. As Jess says, eye therapy is an “off-label use” for Avastin which is commonly used to reduce the size of brain tumors - are you aware that the eye is part of the brain. I didn’t experience the silicone side effect because my ophthalmologist filled her own syringe from a vail.

Hi there,

I haven’t heard of that drug your using. I was given two of the most common ones used to treat the swelling in my eye, but neither did anything to reduce it. I now take a supplement called Alpha Lipoic Acid. Specifically a bottle I buy through Amazon under the Dr. Danielle brand

Anyway, I take this daily and haven’t had any issues with my eyes since. No more swelling or issues with my blood vessels.
I just wanted to throw it out there for you in case you might be interested. Although it minimized the swelling my vision didn’t completely return to normal in my right eye. Things are still a little askew if I try to read out of it. However, my left eye compensates when I use both so it isn’t as noticeable.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you that things continue to remain stable.

Take Care,