Dear 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?
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.)