What are the challenges specific to adults diagnoses? Psychological associate Michelle Sorensen answers.

Photo provided by Michelle Sorensen

Photo provided by Michelle Sorensen

After I saw Michelle speak at the Animas Type 1 Update this year, I knew I had to connect with her.

She was able to articulate so much of what I couldn’t say about my emotional journey with type 1 diabetes. One of the best takeaways I had from that event was this short video she shared. If you haven’t watched it yet, please do.

Michelle has been kind enough to answer some of my most burning questions. Here is the first one!

What are the challenges specific to adults diagnosed with T1?

I think there are some very unique challenges.  It seems to me that with adult Type 1’s, there is an increased risk of misdiagnosis. That being said, there is no doubt that T1’s of all ages are at risk of a missed diagnosis.  I meet so many T1’s diagnosed as adults who were clearly more likely to have T1 than T2 based on age and risk factors, but are started on oral medications rather than insulin because they are labelled as T2.  The LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes in adults) cases are even more likely to receive this treatment and are often told their blood sugars are not high enough to be T1.  This is so frustrating because early intervention can really ease the physical and emotional suffering for people diagnosed with T1.


I think for a few different reasons these traumatic and dangerous diagnosis stories occur more to adult Type 1’s.  For children diagnosed with diabetes, the alarms bells go off and they are usually treated with insulin right away once they are diagnosed.  For those fortunate enough to have a children’s hospital, treatment is especially prompt and appropriate.  Conversely, I have met young adults sent away from a physician with high blood sugars either on oral medication or simply given a referral to a diabetes clinic.  This lack of proper medical attention adds to the confusion, isolation, and psychological trauma.


So many adult T1’s are starting their diabetes journey with a lot of grief and loss but without the right kind of support. They may be out of the family home but many have not yet established a family of their own. Young adults are trying to establish autonomy and independence and may see asking for family help as weak or childish.

They are expected from the beginning to manage their own diabetes but could often benefit from having supportive family or friends taught alongside them how to check their blood sugar or administer insulin.

Closing speaker Joe Solowiejczyk quoted this prayer during his talk.

Managing one’s diabetes is a huge burden to carry alone. When adults with T1 (who were diagnosed as children) describe their past experience in paediatric care, it is often with longing.  They remember the way staff knew them and their families, the encouragement and the smiles.  Adults could use all of this as well! We like smiles and bright colours and being seen as a whole person!

Look out for more Q&A with her in the future.

Thank you Michelle 🙂

Read more about her here.

Miss Manners is a D-mom? Diabetes Mine reveals many surprises after interview

I was reading through my Twitter feed this morning and saw that Diabetes Mine unearthed some interesting facts about Miss Manners.

Popular advice columnist “Miss Manners” directed diabetics to keep blood glucose testing to the bathroom in a Washington Post publication on February 14. “Her” response had many in the diabetes community showing their disagreement via e-mails, blog posts and tweets.

Bravo Diabetes Mine for researching and getting to the heart of it. Here’s a snippet from their article:

“Yes, the 75-year-old columnist and author is mom to 46-year old son Nicholas, a longtime T1 who was diagnosed in his 20s about two decades ago. And get this: he now shares the Miss Manners byline with his mom and sister, and actually penned this particular response about BG checks in public!”

If you have a chance, it’s a worthwhile read by Mike Hoskins. What are your thoughts now that you know Miss Manners is a D-mom? That her son, a type 1 diabetic, shares the byline?
Here’s part of my original blog post below:

I, too, disagree with her. So many of you within the DOC (Diabetes Online Community) have written your thoughts on the matter and have said what I would have but in a much more eloquent way.

When I first read it, I have to admit, I wasn’t upset. Annoyed, sure, but definitely not upset.

She 100 per cent needs to hear what we, as diabetics, have to say. Message definitely delivered. Whether it gets received is another story.

I have no idea what Miss Manners’ intentions were.  There are a myriad of possibilities as to why she wrote what she did, and it could be something other than ignorance.

Let us not forget her work is seen by many before it is published, and that her opinion, right or wrong, is what she gets paid to dish out.

She heard us loud and clear. I say that with some amount of certainty because of the big response and conversation it has sparked. Hopefully the many replies has helped educate and brought to life what we deal with to stay healthy and alive, physically and mentally.

Testing on the treadmill at the gym, mid-run on the street, and at the side of the pool for all to see,


Blog responses to Miss Manners (please comment if I haven’t added your blog to the list)

BittersweetDiabetes: A Kernel of Truth

ChroniCarly: Medical Needs Don’t Mean You’re Rude

Country Girl Diabetic- No More Shame

Delightfully Diabetic- Miss Manners and the DOC

Diabetesaliciousness- Dearest Miss Manners: Me Thinks You Know “Jack” About Living With Diabetes

D-Mom Blog: Miss Manners Misses the Mark

Joy Benchmarks: Dear Miss Manners

Moments of Wonderful: Mutually Exclusive

Nachoblog: Dear Miss Manners, Where Are Your Manners?

Rolling in the D- I’m not mad

Six Until Me- Missed Manners

Stacey Simms- Bad (Miss) Manners

Strangely Diabetic- I Wasn’t Being Polite, Miss Manners

The D-Log Cabin: Dear Miss Manners: It’s not the Hunger Games

theperfectd- No Manners