Has Diabetes Caused Me to Change?

(This originally posted in my blog at GreatBG.com)

Am I really different now? Did diabetes cause me to become a different person than I was
before I had it? For me, the answer is no, but yes.

After all, diabetes did change my relationship with food. It has caused me to make huge
changes in how I approach my day, every day. It has placed me in a position to
consider things I would never have considered in the past. The complications
that it bestowed on me have changed how I interact with everything in my world
and the world at large. For a time, it caused the extrovert that I am to become
a hermit. And, for a time, it stole my confidence. But, not my determination.

So no, it did not change who I really am. It has, however, taken some time to realize
this. All the things that did become different, as mentioned above, took some
time to adjust to. I really did feel like this disease had changed me. That I
was no longer the person I used to be.

But as I have begun to write about these experiences and changes I’ve come to realize
something. And that is the fact that I am indeed still me. It has been quite a
challenge to get to the point where I could see this. All of these adjustments
I’ve had to make have not changed the essence of who I am. They have just
changed the reality of how I “do” many things.

This sort of thing happens to us naturally from the day we are born. As a baby and small
child we go through multiple changes that affect the way we interact with our
world and those around us. Each stage of life carries with it the need for
similar adjustments. Throughout our entire lives we are continually adapting to
new realities and knowledge. It is just a natural part of growing as a human

These changes add to the fabric of our lives and, hopefully, with this growth our
lives are enriched. But we are still the same person with the same integrity,
soul and personality. Really, diabetes is just another one of these life
changes. It may be unwelcome, but it is not really all that different. If you
think back to puberty it may not even be all that much more challenging for
some of us.

It really did feel strangely uplifting when I realized that I was beginning to feel like
myself again. I had not realized how far away I had gotten from who I really am.
It was one of those instances when it felt that a weight had been lifted. Now,
I am beginning to rebuild my old self with my new realities in place. I don’t
have to fight anymore. I just have to be me.


I am reassured that the things I enjoyed doing at age 14, right before my T1 diagnosis, are still things I enjoy today at age 50. Of course my life is a lot more rich as well, with 3 kids and a job and lots of other responsibilities I enjoy too!

There were some stretches in my 20’s when things did not seem so good. I did not have the time or space to do things I enjoyed and sometimes it did seem like diabetes was the only thing going on in my life. But I think that was just a temporary distortion of my perception.

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Adversity can reveal to each of us, if we’re watching, the essence of who we are. Success can teach, too, but I think adversity is more potent.

Do I think diabetes caused my essential character to change? No, I don’t think so, but it did allow me to more easily see some of my basic traits. I was not diagnosed with T1D until the age of 30. Even though I’ve now lived longer with diabetes than without, I can still remember what life was like before D. I can see that many of my personal attributes were there long before my diabetes.

While diabetes has been a long and tough road for me, it has not been my most difficult life challenge. I went through a painful 10-year period following a divorce that tested my mettle much more than diabetes has. It is still the standard by which I measure other of life’s losses and difficulties.

To answer your question directly, diabetes has not changed my basic character but has allowed me to more clearly see who I am.


I have had t1 diabetes for 31 years. I think life changes us regardless of our diabetes. I know I am not the same person I was when I was 22 when I was diagnosed .

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Diabetes doesn’t change us but it does cause us to grow. By necessity it emphasizes our better traits, if not we will do poorly.

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Thanks for sharing this. I’ve thought of this often regarding my son, Caleb.

I have three kids. They are so similar in many ways, but my other son and my daughter have lesser degrees of certain character traits. Caleb has a level of responsibility and maturity that really stands out amongst his peers. I wonder if that would be the case if he hadn’t been conditioned to the rigid responsibilities of diabetes care on a daily basis. Then I look at a friend of Caleb’s who has also grown up with type 1. He is such a carefree goofball (I mean that in the nicest way possible). That’s just who he is.

I used to think diabetes was more responsible for forming Caleb’s character and it made me sad. I think differently now. It may draw out different parts of our character in ways it would not otherwise have been, but as you’ve all noted, that’s true to any life experience.


Change is inevitable for all of us! Without it we could not adapt and survive. Life is one long string of learning experiences. Thankfully, each of these produces some minor change in our persons which, if we are attentive, may help us to behave more effectively.

A diagnosis of diabetes demands more in the way of change for us than most other life events. Those with diabetes who choose not to change will have change forced upon them by way of complications.

I hate having diabetes, but I love that I’ve been able to change and thereby to thrive despite my disease. I’m still able to enjoy most of those things that I did before. But I’m not the same person that I was 36 years ago before my diabetes, or even the same person that I was yesterday! A huge amount of my time has been stolen by the daily tasks required of a person with diabetes. That sucks. But I’ve been lucky to be able to change my schedule to allow for my health needs. To say that diabetes hasn’t changed us is disingenuous. Change is the only thing in life that even healthy folks can rely on. Learn. Change…and try to have fun along the way!


I don’t really know how much diabetes has changed me because I was diagnosed when I was 18 months old, but there are things I’m not comfortable doing or that are much harder for me directly because of diabetes. I definitely matured faster than my peers because of my responsibilities to my body and traveling is often pretty tough. I’m much more educated on dietary concerns and health issues than most people in my age group and I can guarantee my tendency to research everything diabetes related ( no matter how unlikely) wouldn’t exist without diabetes.


This was very touching, I feel diabetes has absolutely shaped me into the woman I am today and made me an absolute warrior. Yes, sometimes I’m cranky and bitter towards what it’s done but without that terrible diagnosis I would be much weaker unless something with just as much sting had forced itself into my journey.