Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dear 16-year-old-me . . .

10Dear 16-year-old-me. Write a letter to yourself at age 16. What would you tell yourself? What would you make your younger self aware of?

LetterWritingDear 16-Year-Old-Me,

You probably think you know everything and you will just want to ignore this letter.  Please don’t.  Please let me help you as much as I can.

Diabetes is hard.  Things will change, treatment options will advance . . . . but I’m going to be completely honest with you when I say diabetes will still be hard.  But what you are doing right now is just making it even harder than it has to be.

First, I want to tell you to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!!!!  I know you think that complications are unavoidable and that you  are half way through your life-span right now.  I know you think you shouldn’t even bother to try.  You are wrong.  I know for a fact that you will still be complication free by the age of 43.  Yes, you’ll have a few scares along the way, but you will be just fine.

In  a couple of years you will lose your beloved aunt to diabetes complications.  You’ve been watching her suffer for years.  You think this is a look into what the future holds for you.  It isn’t.  You can live a better diabetes life than she did, because you are lucky enough to have more treatments available to you.  It’s okay to remember her - but don’t remember her as a look at where you are headed.  Instead think about how proud she is to see you living a healthy life.

And here’s another thing you need to know.  LET PEOPLE IN!!!  You can, and should, trust your friends and stop hiding diabetes from them.  There will come a day when diabetes plays a huge part in your life and you will know more people with diabetes (or PWDs) then without.  You will want to talk about diabetes to anyone who will listen.  Crazy, right?  It’s going to be the best thing that ever happens to you.  It’s going to make you feel strong and empowered.  It’s going to help you manage your diabetes well.  It’s going to show you that you aren’t broken, you aren’t weak, and you aren’t the human equivalent of a factory-second.  Let people in.  Let people really know you.  Let people help you when you aren’t feeling so strong.  And you will be inspired to fight for them just as hard as they fight for you.

16-year-old-me, I know you can’t see it now, but believe me when I tell you one day you will understand that life with diabetes isn’t all bad.


PS:  I have a message from your future husband.  He says “Remember when your grandmother used to say “Don’t sing at the dinner table, or you’ll get a crazy husband”?  You should have listened to her.”.  (He’s right about the crazy husband part, but I’m so glad you didn’t listen to Grammy!  Your future husband is very awesome - so if you won’t stay healthy and fight for yourself, do it for him.)


  1. I love this. I just wish we could really send a letter to ourselves, back in time, and that we'd listen! I love the singing at the table part. :)

  2. Aren't you glad you sang at the table!
    Hope the new job is going great!

  3. great letter karen! if only we really could send a letter back in time, and if only we would really listen to what our future selves could tell us.

  4. Bravo! I wish I could write a letter to my old self warning me about what I am now experiencing today. All of my family has been waiting for my Type 2 diagnosis for years because they knew my love for food would catch up. If only... Ah well. =:8

  5. I have to agree with everyone else here by saying, wouldn't it be great if we could really send our younger selves letters to know we are ok?! Maybe we could....I have an idea of maybe writing these letters to "our younger selves" (10, 13, 16 or whatever age) and give them to real love diabetic teens of that age who may feel doomed. Maybe it will help them see life is good and valuable and worth taking care of. Just a thought that floated through my mind. Maybe its a terrible idea, or not. I still wish I could send my 14year old self a letter...*sigh*

  6. Wonderfully written- powerful and I can almost picture 16 year old you reading it, scoffing and rolling your eyes? (I know that's what my 16 year old self would have done... and then cried later). Excited to see you next week!

  7. This is a great letter - I had such a hard time with this prompt myself. But once I started I spent my entire lunch hour writing it. The idea that we could write back to ourselves - it would be so excellent if we really could. Thank you for sharing yours.

  8. this is a beautiful letter, karen! i love it!

    and letting people in is hard for me, too.

    and give P a hug for me. he's a keeper, that one! :)

  9. I need to know more about this singing at the table part!

  10. beautiful! my fave part is the PS. :)


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