In a previous post I shared that I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 18 years of age – right at the transition between high school and college. It was a scary time for a number of reasons, and getting this disease in the midst of it all did not quite help matters.
Without going into my entire diagnosis story again, I still want to point out the question that bugged me the most back then, and in a way I still wonder about now. “Why me?,” I asked the doctors. I was becoming an adult, I exercised on a somewhat regular basis, I did not smoke, drink, or do drugs of any sort. I did not have any other sicknesses or illnesses, and while I was far from an “athlete,” I felt good; I felt in shape. So why did I get type 1 diabetes? How could I have prevented it? What were the reasons?
Of course, no one knew back then, and no one really knows now. We still have much to learn about how type 1 develops, how to prevent it, and most importantly, how to cure it. But the fact that no one had the answers did not comfort me much. I simply needed to know why. How could this happen – was I not too healthy to get diabetes?
One thing that we do know about this disease is that it knows no borders. It can strike anyone, at pretty much any age. I was by far not the only 18-year-old to get type 1 diabetes, and there are adults older than me who developed it later in life, and many children who have had it from an extremely young age. I was actually quite shocked when I first heard of kids with diabetes. I could not imagine how they, or their parents, could handle such a demanding disease. Caring for someone with type 1 is a 24/7 job, especially if they are not yet ready to take on some of the responsibility.