What advice would you give to a Newly Diagnosed Person with Type 1 Diabetes?

Way back when I was diagnosed with diabetes and once I was discharged from the hospital the first thing myself & my mother did was to go talk to someone my age and her mother who already had diabetes. My mother (I was still in shock at this stage) wanted to know what was in my future.

So off we went to visit the house of some people we vaguely knew. I left that house determined not to fall asleep that night in case I didn’t wake up. Thankfully, the next day I had my first appointment with a diabetes nurse (this was 1990’s Ireland remember).

I think that going to talk to people who had first hand knowledge went wrong because the wrong people did the talking. I didn’t know what to ask so I said nothing; the other person with diabetes was only 19 and didn’t say much either. So the “mammies’ were “have at it”.

Today, I’m quite often in the other position – the person who is sought after for comfort and I wonder to myself “Am I saying the right thing?” I’m also wondering “what do they want to hear, what are they looking for?”

I remember the isolation I felt in those first years after diagnosis and how angry I became at all things diabetic. I got off on the wrong foot without support and it took me about 7 years to find a way of dealing with my diabetes. So I’d like to do “a bit” to preventing others from putting that first foot down badly.

With this in mind I compiled a list of things I’ve said to others or things I’ve read that I’ve found true and motivational and maybe some people can add to this list for me.

• Diabetes can get you out of stuff you don’t want to do but it will never stop you from doing anything.
• You can be at war with diabetes or you can co-exist with it – Diabetes will always be there so you have to decide if it’s a friend or enemy.

• Handbags & backpacks will accompany you everywhere to carry your gadgets & supplies.

• Diabetes is life changing and there is a period of adjustment.

• You will become your own doctor, dietician and diabetes nurse because your diabetes team do not live with you 24/7.

What piece of advice did you receive that has stayed with you since you were diagnosed?