Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Age Doesn't Matter

Thinking back to slipstream, I think one of the most common questions was, "when were you diagnosed?" Even on the paper that was stuck to the wall of all of our thoughts, input etc. Someone started a "When were you diagnosed?" poll.

I personally find it interesting to know when someone was diagnosed and I tend to ask the same question when I meet a diabetic. The age gap ranges from like three years of age to 40 - it's really amazing. It makes me realize despite all sharing the same disease - how diverse it truly can be.

For me, being diagnosed at age eighteen going on nineteen I felt that if there was ever a time to get type 1 diabetes it was a good time. I mean I was moving to London to live away from home and I was starting my first year of college, but hey! it was a fresh start to a whole new life.

At age eighteen I had experienced eighteen years of not ever having to poke myself or test my sugar. I never had to experience what it felt like being told you cannot have that or feeling like I was different from my peers. I can only imagine what a child must go through as a diabetic sitting at a kids birthday party (the mothers must be so nervous to approach the poor diabetic kid). I was never a 'diabetic kid' and I can only imagine the obstacles that a child faces when living with diabetes.

On Friday, Michelle asked me what would I rather, being diagnosed at eighteen or being diagnosed as a child? I wasn't sure if anyone had ever really asked me this directly; however, I had thought about it. Either it's all you have known your whole life or you got a little bit of a run at being 'normal' 'average' and then it was time to learn what it means to be diabetic.

I pretty much decided that I was okay with when I was diagnosed, but I wouldn't be to keen on being diagnosed at say, eleven to fourteen. It just seems like that is just a super inconvenient and fragile time to be diagnosed with the disease, but it happens and I know people it has happened to.

I continued this conversation with Mitch who was diagnosed at age four, completely different end of the spectrum. He really doesn't know any different and while I celebrated my two years at age twenty he celebrated his two years at age six. He more so spoke to the benefit of being diagnosed at this time rather than age. We now have better ways of managing diabetes, simpler, more convenient and less isolation happens. We have amazing support groups that are taking place on Facebook etc.

So, this made me think - for the potential diabetic whether that occurs at age four, eleven, eighteen or's going to be a shock, a complete adjustment and there will be devastation and fear. However, with where we are in medicine and support, this isn't a bad time to be diagnosed because there is hope, treatment and the right to live a fun, active, inspirational life!


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