Monday, December 5, 2016

Diagnosed When Young, or Older?

Is it better to be diagnosed when very young, or later on in life? Experiencing a normal life for as long as possible seems desirable, but then being diagnosed at a later time would seem so devastating while attempting to change so many things, and give up a more comfortable life. Being diagnosed while very young means that a non diabetic life is very short, or almost nonexistent. It is easier for a very young person or child to accept since there is not so much of an established pre diagnosis routine to give up. It does seem cruel, however, for a young individual to have very little experience living without diabetes, before being diagnosed.
I was diagnosed in 1945, a few days after my 6'th birthday. I have only a few glimpses of my life before that time. The doctors back then gave no advice except to not eat sugar. My parents never gave me anything with sugar, and at that age that was ok. My mom made me desserts sweetened with saccharin, and I was pleased with that. Life was much the same as for a non diabetic. In 1988 I learned that carbs had a lot to do with good diabetes management, and in the mid 1990s I started counting carbs with basal and bolus control. That was much more difficult than my previous 45 years. I started eating very small portions of foods with fast acting carbs, and I missed the way I had previously eaten. I sacrificed the way I wanted to eat, to have much better control. My A1c dropped from the teens to the high 5's. Now I am T1D for 71 years, and I have no serious complications. I do not know why I didn't have terrible complications during my first 45 years when I had very high blood sugar. I feel that it was best for me to be diagnosed while young. There were so many young type 1 diabetics long ago who did not survive because the knowledge of how to survive was not so well known. Something protected me, and I am lucky to be alive and healthy now.
Being diagnosed in more modern times is very different. The devices I did not have, and the proper way of eating are now available, but there are so many restrictions that I did not experience. It is my feeling that in modern times a child has a harder time adjusting than I did. The diabetes management is much better, and the chance of having a longer and healthier life is much improved. The knowledge that now exists, however, is so thorough, and there is so much to learn, especially for a child. I had a short list, and adjustment was easier, but children today have a very long list and adjustment is not so easy.
So, what do YOU think about this? If a type 1 diagnosis is going to happen, is it best at a younger age, or much later in life?

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