Who Were You and What Was Your World Before You Were Diagnosed?

June 18th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

I have been thinking about what age we all were when we were diagnosed and how that age affected how we deal with our disease.

I think there is a huge difference between the types of diabetes, and one of the reasons I think they are so different involves how old we were when we were diagnosed.  I know many type 2s and type 1.5s see type 1 as just a different variation on their same disease yet I know very few type 1s who think their disease is the same as type 2 or type 1.5. 

I can’t figure it all out, but I think one of the reasons we see the diseases differently involves who we were when we were diagnosed.

I’m not talking about whether we call type one juvenile onset and type two adult onset: I’m talking about how much of the world we knew before our diagnosis.

I guess it’s the same type of idea as a parental divorce: it can be devastating to a child at any age, but sometimes a younger child doesn’t always have quite the division of “before” and “after” as a teen or even adult child does.

Many of those diagnosed with type 1 in teenhood or adulthood marvel at the work that goes into diabetes.  For me, being diagnosed at 10, the work load didn’t make a huge impression on me—I was still learning about the world outside of my grade school; I simply had no comprehension of what “insulin dependent diabetes” was going to mean to me.  The amount of work that diabetes actually takes has been secondary for me—it’s just a part of my life at this stage, and I tend not to see it as something no one else has to deal with.

I know several who were diagnosed later in high school and even college who were able to see the diagnosis as a huge thing that divided them from their friends—and who have struggled with accepting their disease as a result.  Denial was certainly something I carried around with me for years and years, but I didn’t have the thought that “everything was fine before my diagnosis”

I think people who are diagnosed later in their lives (in their 30s and beyond) just have a whole different set of expectations of themselves, a whole pile of misunderstandings of the disease, and a whole different set of fears accompanying the knowledge that Everything Is Different Now.

Again, this is just one of the things I’m thinking about these days.  Let me know if you have an opinion on this one, or if you had a different experience when you were diagnosed.

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1 comment

  1. MaiaJane says:

    I was diagnosed the summer I left my family home for College. I was moving countries, leaving my family home and all of the sudden, I had this new disease. I feel like I was lucky. In the middle of all the change, I had no routines, no friends, no particular way of living. It was still summer and everything was flexible, so Diabetes worked its way in seamlessly (though not without it’s hiccups)
    I didn’t work my life around it, I just recognized it was there and worked hard to make my new life and my diabetes play nice.
    I introduced myself as a diabetic, it was there from the get-go.

    And now, when me and my friends pig-pile on the couch for the superbowl, or to watch a movie, they double check to make sure they aren’t leaning on my pump.

    It’s really been a win-win. Life and Diabetes are playing very, very nicely.

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