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Diabetics Running Amuck in New Haven.

I'm a road warrior ... or at least I was this weekend.  And it all started on Friday night, when I met Manny Hernandez for dinner in New Haven, and we were joined by Adam. 

Manny, Adam, and Kerri in New Haven.
 
Plenty of wine, beer, and coffee later (coffee was me - had to drive to Rhode Island after dinner), the three of us were knee-deep in discussions about Dexcoms, diagnosis dates, and our first low blood sugars.  These guys are true kindred spirits and excellent dinner dates. 

One thing that came up was our "before" and "after" with diabetes.  For Adam and Manny, they were both diagnosed in their late 20's, early 30's, respectively.  For me, I was diagnosed when I was in second grade.  Their "diabetes before" included decades of memories and a certain sense of self, not to mention memories without the disease.  My "diabetes before," for better or worse, doesn't include more than a handful of childhood memories without the disease, and my sense of self is coiled around some aspects of diabetes.

"What's better, though?  I mean, there are pros and cons to both and I don't see a definitive 'yay' to either, honestly."  I drank my second cup of coffee and let the caffeine spin around in my brain.

A lot of the people I'm in contact with that have diabetes were diagnosed in their childhood years - Howard at dLife, Christel, most of the Fairfield County dinner ladies - so they are dealing with the same "lifelong" diabetes as me.  But I've also met many late-onset type 1s - the LADA crew, as I fondly call them and then subsequently picture a fire engine - and their life-altering diagnosis must be so jarring, coming into their lives later.  Adjusting to diabetes wasn't much of a challenge for me because it's almost always been there.  I only had a year or two of elementary school before I was diagnosed.  I can't imagine finishing college and then being forced to change everything midstream. 

But I will admit to a bit of a pang of envy as I tried to remember my first low blood sugar while the guys described the recent memory of theirs.

"I'll have to ask my mom," I said.  "She'll remember." 

It's not a debate, believe me.  It's not a question of "Who has it worse?"  Type 1 diabetes, regardless of it's arrival date, is its own cyclone of discovery.  But the discussion made me realize how long I've had this and how old I'm not.  And when people talk about cures, how lives will be changed when a cure for diabetes is found, and even though I don't often think about a cure, I can't help but happily muse about "diabetes after."

I've kept the tags on for 22 years, just in case I need to make a return.  ;)

Comments

I have no idea which is worse from an emotional perspective, and I'm sure it's different for everyone. But from a medical perspective, I gotta figure the fewer years of diabetes wreaking havoc on the body, the better. I'm 34 and have had diabetes for 31 years (home urine tester, back in the day). I figure it's better for the body to be 34 and diabetic for 10 years. But who really knows??

I agree with Zip that the less years we have diabetes, the better for our bodies. But like you, I can't imagine having to adjust to a diabetes diagnosis in adulthood.

After almost 30 years, I have no idea what my first low was like. I do remember one in my teenage years, at the mall around Easter time. I was happy because my mom bought me a Cadbury Cream Egg to treat it. :)

I'm 33 and have had type 1 for 12 years. Having been diagnosed at age 21, i definitely have a lot of "before diabetes" memories and i know exactly where i was and how i felt for that first out-of-hospital low.

I agree with Zip and Karen and i feel lucky that i didn't have to go through the teenage years with the disease. Those must be very rough on many! But i didn't find it difficult to adjust, even being diagnosed in college, despite remembering very clearly what life was like before diabetes.

Each of us deals with it the best we can with the cards we've been dealt. And whether we were diagnosed 40 years ago or last month, we're all lucky to be living now when there is so much progress being made in treating this disease. :)

I can't say that it was "better" to be Dx later. Im 32 and T1 for almost a year, but my first signs that something was wrong came when I had a 2 year old and 8 month old to take care of while I was learning to take care of myself. This put a wrench in the learning process. I almost (but not really?!) wish I had known when I had more time to myself and could have spent time in the hospital and spent a week or two straight learning. Thanks to everyone here and at TU I am learning quick, and pushing for a pump!

You know this topic is one that I have often wondered about...

Gosh... is it easier to have your identity wrapped up in something like diabetes or to be able to look back at a time 'before' you had it and always know/remember how different life is for you 'now'.

It was great to see you guys!

i was diagnosed when i was 9, about to end the 3rd grade. i remember feeling like a freak because no one else's dad had to come to school with their insulin and carefully balanced and prepared lunch. then again, i got to see my dad everyday, so i was very happy =)

i can't remember much about the "before," but i do remember my first low-- i was sitting in the living room reading baby sitters club #54, and i stated feeling funny. i walked into my parents' room, and they immediately told me to test. my bg was 74. what i would give to feel lows when i'm in the 70s! now i don't feel them til i'm in the 50s or less =(

i know i'm biased, but i'm glad i was diagnosed earlier in life. it didn't give me the chance to develop a fear of needles!

I'm one of those from the LADA crowd... and to be honest, I actually think we had it a bit easier... I spent my childhood eating what I wanted and doing what I felt like (as much as a normal kid should).

When I was diagnosed, I was already a grown up, mature enough to understand and adapt even if it was really hard at the beginning.

I wouldn't change it, and I can only imagine how hard would teenage and college are for some one with T1.

Tip my had to all of you who went through that.

Cheers,

Henry.-

I was diagnosed just before my 8th birthday and I always said it was the "best" time to get diabetes because I was old enough to communicate how I felt and manage my own shots etc, but I was young enough to not have strong memories about the "before diabetes" and be pissed off or bitter about the diagnosis. It was just a thing.

great to see you together I visit your sites back to back everyday, next photo op please stand back to back hee hee I'm a LADA for 2 years now and just today I saw a T1 kindergarten boy at my daughters school come in to the nurses office to ck bg,he did it by himself with supervision I was so glad this didn't get me until age 38! So inspiring.

Great photo. Glad you all got to meet. Looks like fun was definitely had by all.

T1 for 24 years this month.
I don't know if it is easier growing up with it or trying to manage serious change once you are older.

I don't recall my first low and the one "serious" one I recall (and subsequent ones in the first year) was just plain awful. For my parents.
Not for me. I was so young (6) and did not really "understand."

The "serious" one for some reason made me lose oxygen. It was a weird bizarre "out of body" experience either because it was just that or because of the story retold so many times it's how my brain/memory decided to recall it. I was blue in the face, my dad holding me, trying to figure out what to do, EMTs on standby and No Clue what to do either. He gave me lifesavers, literally, those little circles of sugar saved my life.

I recall passing out a couple times too, being held by my mom walking down the stairs then somehow waking up on the couch. Or my mom waking me up or at least trying to and no longer being in my bed but on the floor.

I also remember pre-diabetes, the chicken pox and my last memory of "free" chocolate, no one gasping, pulling it away or yelling at me. Losing a tooth and getting blood on my favorite hot pink spring jacket. Some awful jean looking dress with white ruffles and a Red bow, running around outside in the dirt and mud, in my brown shoes. Or playing with playdo in preschool. Those last two are my earliest memories.

In conclusion, no matter your age, circumstances, experiences.....diabetes Sucks.

I was diagnosed at 12 years old. So I got to experience D through the Teen years. I personally think that anytime in the 12 to 14 age range is hard for the child to deal with in a lot of ways. The one thing is though didn't have the technology we do today. I was one heck of a rebellious teen. Luckily have avoided complications to this point.

I've been reading your posts via RSS - and I'm one of the LADAers. I started to notice feeling the lows when I was a freshman in high school. My mom was recently dx as T2, so we thought it would be good to test when I didn't feel "right" - low 60's-70's. What we did was just go off of how I felt and I knew when I was playing softball that I needed to snack on something around the 5th inning or so. Going through high school and college being an athlete was tough. The coaches didn't understand after trying to "educate" them on hypoglycemia - didn't help. Fortunately the trainers were a little more aware and could start seeing when I was starting to get low - either through my speech or I wasn't playing up to par. Which makes it tough for coaches because you might be having a "bad game"(as most athletes go through) = "your blood sugar isn't good"... so they don't play you. lame. oh well, God knows.
Fast-forward. I got married right after college and still had my lows but not as much because I was no longer playing softball and fast-forward another year and a half - Prego! I noticed that I wasn't getting my lows and I was *stoaked*! I asked my doctor to be tested (glucose resistance test) around my 14th week into the pregnancy just to make sure nothing was wrong with my blood sugars. I have an extensive family history of T1 and T2. Sure enough - tests come back and my doctor asks "are you sure you fasted." "yeah, why?" "Cause you tested in the 350's" NO BUENO. Long story short...went on a stringent diet and insulin dosage for the rest of my pregnancy. My son was born (healthy weigth and no complications) and according to gestational diabetes - it's suppose to go away. Not for me. However, since we thought it would go away, all i wanted at a Pizooki. So I asked my friends to bring, as a gift to the hospital, a Pizooki (BJ'S FAMOUS PIZOOKIE® - A freshly baked, hot out of the oven, rich and delicious cookie topped with 2 scoops of vanilla bean ice cream and served in its own deep dish.) I love ice cream - and being basically deprived of ice cream throughout the rest of the 30 weeks, it was a slice of heaven. I survived by Carb Smart Vanilla Ice Cream with a tablespoon of peanut butter (it equaled my night snack as 1/2 cup milk and a protein ;-)) A few months after delivery and telling the doctor that the oral meds aren't touching my blood sugars, we went to insulin again. Diagnosed 2008 at 25 as T1. So learning to keep my blood sugars in control and taking care of our newborn (1st child) was *very* tough. I would often time over compensate when I would get lows (in fear of passing out or falling from dropping low and then they would skyrocket). Cause a newborn can't call 911. But alas I know that God is in control of my life and He's not going to give me more than I can handle (1 Cor. 10:13). So, now I am carb countin', finger pokin', insulin givin', irish-italian, softball lovin' T1 girl. :-)
Wishing you all the best in your on-going and tough but manageable road ahead. Praying for a cure, but until then keep on top of those A1C's. :-) thanks for listening. :o)

Take Care,
Lindsey

-- So I am super new to all the technical terms and hoping to learn more and more from people I meet with T1.

Speaking of being diagnosed with type 1...

I came across a satirical trailer for a movie called "Diabetes" - they get the facts wrong but it's still pretty funny. Pretty accurately portrays what I'll do for sugar when I'm low:

http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1904529


I was recently talking to a friend who is an optometrist. He was saying that most eye troubles don't happen for 20 or so years after diagnosis, sort of suggesting that people would be OLD by then. It was only when I mentioned that my son would only be 25 years old when he hit 20 years with diabetes that the light went on for him - that 20 years of diabetes can leave you with a very young person.

I've been reading your blog for a few months now. I'm 37 and was diagnosed with T1 Feb. 09 - zero family history -a complete shock.

I have learned so much the past 2 months and this disease has really taught me to be more understanding of what others go through; whether it's diabetes or another disease or illness.

I have to say that I find myself constantly saying how grateful I am that I wasn't dignosed earlier in life. I admire those of you who've lived your lives for years with diabetes. It doesn't seem fair that a baby, child or teenager must be burdened with so much responsibility and restriction from being able to be completely spontaneous & carefree.

Oh, and my first low? Day one on insulin about 6 hours after my first shot! Although, anything would have felt low that day compared to my pre-dx numbers.

Thank you, Kerri, for your inspiring blog!


I was diagnosed about the same time as Kerri, third grade (1991) and I also don't really remember much about life before diabetes. I do remember a lot from our adjustment period and I even remember my first low. I was playing with my cousin and I started feeling funny, kinda jittery and lightheaded and fuzzy. Finally a light-bulb went off in my head and I thought "this is it!" So I tested and sure enough I was low and for some reason I was so proud of myself for figuring it out! :-)

I was diagnosed in England, as a teenager, the days of urine testing only.. that really told you nothing...using the glass syringe with steel a needle that mum had to sharpen..used the same needle for months... 5 weeks after my 21st birthday I got a visa to emigrate to America and flew here totally alone. I do not think if I had been dx later in life I would have had the courage to do that.. it scares me now to remember it!!
But at times as daft as it sounds, I was blessed with Type1. Dont ask.. because no way can I explain that feeling.

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