The Positive Side of a Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis, According to Patients

“It’s taught me to be stronger.”

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Type 1 diabetes can affect every part of your day and force you to change your habits, from the food you eat, to your activity level, to how you manage your stress. (Here are patients’ tips to managing everyday challenges with type 1 diabetes.)

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when you’re first diagnosed or dealing with ongoing health issues, so how can you turn a type 1 diabetes diagnosis into a positive? HealthiNation interviewed patients with type 1 diabetes to see what lessons they’ve learned from their diagnosis and how type 1 diabetes actually plays a positive role in their lives.

It makes you stronger

“Being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes has taught me a number of different things, but in particular it’s taught me to be stronger. It’s also taught me how to be grateful for what I have.”

—Craig Kasper, diagnosed at age 27

It makes you grow up

“[With] a diagnosis like type 1 diabetes, you grow up very quickly. I think my mom took it even harder than I did… Your parents think that they’re responsible for everything in your life, down to your DNA and genetics, so I think it was very hard for her, whereas I was like, ‘Yep, it’s just something new and different.’”

—Liz Van Voorhis, diagnosed at age 15   

It makes you more proactive about your health

“I would always rather know more and do more. Keeping yourself abreast of what’s going on—both the basics, so you know how to take care of your diabetes and yourself,  and keeping on top of the advancements… There’s so much coming out so quickly today.

“I believe you can have a great life, not despite diabetes, but because of it. It’s made me stronger in so many ways.”

—Riva Greenberg, diagnosed at age 18

For more real talk from patients, here are tips to prevent low blood sugar, what it’s like to get diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and common myths about type 1 diabetes.