August 9th, 2012 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

I often wonder about those of you who were diagnosed as a teen or later in your life—when you were old enough to have clear memories of Life Before Diagnosis and Life After Diagnosis.

I think, generally, kids do a fine job of going with the flow after a diabetes diagnosis more than most people over the age of fifteen or so.  I think the younger ones are still learning about and defining for themselves what the world even IS, such that anything new or any change is just added to the list of what else they learned that day, week, month, or year.

This isn’t to say that I think kids have it EASY when it comes to a diabetes diagnosis; just that they have different adjustments to make.  I think parents have a lot to do with a child’s adjustment and acceptance of their diabetes, as well.  (It’s always a struggle, I know, for parents when their child is diagnosed.  But when I look at the child who now has diabetes, I don’t see the same sense of loss or fear or disappointment. But THAT is a different topic.)

I think it must have been harder for those diagnosed any time after the arbitrary age I just chose of fifteen years.  Intellectually, yes, the carbohydrates and calculations and learning and basic nuts and bolts education is not the high wall that it will be for a younger kid, but the younger kid just won’t have the developed sense of identity that must be altered at diagnosis that an older person has.

I think of a young woman I met a few years ago, who was on her way after high school graduation into the Air Force.  Bam.  Diagnosed with type one diabetes. 

I think of the champion distance runner and the handful of professional athletes who recognize only that their usual performance is suffering.  Bam.  Diagnosed with type one diabetes.

Or the forty something established attorney who has been noticing a few things don’t feel right and sees his doctor.  Bam. Diagnosed with type two diabetes… then, later… Bam. Diagnosed with type one diabetes.

Or the sixty something grandmother who has been aging gracefully and gardening faithfully for years and after her annual lab work now sees it.  Bam. Diagnosed with type two diabetes.

For most of you who were diagnosed later, I can see how acceptance of your new diabetic life may be more difficult than someone who was diagnosed before they really were old enough to be on their own in the world.

In a lot of ways, I guess I feel lucky that I don’t remember now what it was like to eat and not think about any of it, or not do a calculation or my energy expenditures or carry around a little calculator and be my own little Bolus Wizard.

It’s just something I think about.

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