TEEN TOPIC #64:  Some parents report feelings of sadness when they look at the “before diabetes” pictures. Do you feel the same way or do you see things differently?

Each week we ask our panel of Type 1 teens from across the country to answer questions about their diabetes.  Here are their answers to this week’s question.

Annelies (age 15)
I was diagnosed at age 6, so I don’t remember that much from before I was diagnosed. I just think of diabetes as a part of me, and although it gets frustrating to deal with at times, I don’t really feel sad about it because I don’t really remember my life before diabetes.

Andrew (age 15)
I look at images and photos of myself “before diabetes” with a look of wonder because I can’t think of a time that I haven’t had diabetes and I am also in wonder when I realize all the great lessons diabetes has taught me. Without diabetes I’d be living a completely different life and those photos of me without diabetes remind me of that different life.

Ashley B. (age 16)
When I look back at my pre-diagnosis photos, it honestly is a bit unsettling. When other people see the photos, they always mention how unhealthy I looked and are pretty shocked that me and my family didn’t catch my rapid weight loss. It’s also bittersweet because I’m glad that I now know how to manage my diabetes so I won’t end up back in the hospital.

Ashley C. (age 14)
Not really. I’m still the same girl I was then, except now I have something attached to me at all times. Sometimes I look at pictures and wonder, “Why am I diabetic?” but, I get over it because I can’t do anything about it.

Cameron (age 17)
I don’t really have a feeling towards the before diabetes pictures. I mean, I guess it’s kind of weird how when you look at a picture from beforehand, you realize how you would’ve never guessed you’d be diagnosed with diabetes shortly thereafter.

Claire (age 18)
I view my diagnosis as a great thing. While it was sad at the time, and quite a bit after it, looking back on it now I see that I wouldn’t have turned out to be the person I am today without diabetes. And so I will be forever grateful to my pancreas for leaving me high and dry without insulin. There’s no need to feel sad about what once was, because there’s so much to look forward to for the future.

Erin (age 17)
I’m not sure on my parents, but for me, sometimes yes depending what the picture was from what I consider it my pre- diabetes life.

Ian (age 15)
Yes, for I know that I might never be able to go back to not worrying about carbohydrate counts, or BS or having to carry around a bag filled with any and every necessity whenever I leave the house.

Jessica (age 20)
I personally don’t view looking in the past as pre-diabetic years as sad. For one, I don’t really remember life prior to diabetes. Secondly, I don’t believe this to be a good philosophy and way to live. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Therefore, there is a reason I was diagnosed. There is a reason I face these daily struggles. And I am strong enough to overcome each and every one of them. Looking in the past and feeling sad or bad about what your child/life was like pre-diabetes doesn’t change the present and future. What it does do is put you in a place to struggle more with acceptance and cause yourself (or your child) to not look at the positives. Look at the great community you are now a part of. That strong support system you have. The medical professionals striving to make you or your kid as healthy and happy as possible. I am not sad when looking at the past because diabetes wasn’t a part of my life, but I look at the past as a part of who I am and how it has shaped me into who I am today. I reflect on the happy times, regardless if I had T1D or not.

Jordan (age 18)
No, because most of what I remember has been with diabetes.

Julia (age 15)
My “before diabetes” pictures and my “after” pictures aren’t all that different. I’m still the same person I was before I got diabetes so it doesn’t make me sad to look at pictures or to think about what it was like before diabetes, because I can’t change the fact that I have diabetes so neither my parents or I should dwell on what life was like before.

Laura (age 17)
Not really. I’m just as happy with diabetes. That was me then and I’m still me now, same goofy smile just a different chapter in life.

Lexi (age 16)
Before I even had symptoms I had a great metabolism and I had so much energy. During the symptoms and in the hospital was probably the worst part about my diabetes. But after, now that I’m healthy, it’s great. I don’t feel sad or anything looking at old pictures. I don’t even think about it.

Maggie (age 16)
I don’t see before diabetes pictures as sad because I don’t have very many of them. I’ve been diabetic for 10 years so the it’s just kind of a part of me now.

Nick (age 19)
It’s been so long since I was diagnosed, I don’t really remember the “before.” I’m not sad about what could have been or anything like that; I’m myself, and diabetes doesn’t really affect that.

Skylyn (age 16)
I don’t feel sad when I look at pictures of before I was diagnosed. Being that I was diagnosed in 2nd grade which was almost 9 years ago, I don’t really remember a time not having diabetes. I guess I just kinda joke like that’s when life was easier.

Vanessa (age 16)
I don’t. And I guess that’s because I don’t really remember what it was like living without diabetes so my personally I think my childhood was the same as any other child I just had to check my blood and do a shot and other than that I was a happy kid.

Haley (age 14)
I was only 16 months old when I was diagnosed. I don’t remember life before diabetes. So, when I see baby pictures of myself, I don’t even think about it being before diagnosis.

Maddy (age 14)
I personally haven’t looked at pictures of me before my diagnosis because I don’t really remember my life before I was diagnosed. Looking at pictures of me as a little kid give positive memories but I don’t have any sadness with looking.

Christina (age 15)
I think feeling sad at looking at “before” pictures is completely normal. I sometimes am upset by the small things of my life before diabetes, like eating without bolusing and no pricks, however for the most part I am not upset by my “before” life. I think this has to do with the fact that I went for 6 months undiagnosed with my diabetes, feeling very sick. So, now I am grateful to feel healthy and happy, even if that means my life was drastically changed.

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