Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What is it like ...

To be a teenager with Type 1 Diabetes?

A teen with type 1 can prevent no shortage of challenges to any household. To say that adolescence is a period of constant change is an understatement. If you’ve tried to track with your teen’s ever changing schedule, friends and mood, you already know this well. But adolescents who also have type 1 diabetes face special challenges. Not only do these teens experience the typical social and emotional struggles associated with growing up, but they also must contend with widely fluctuating hormonal changes that affect their diabetes management.

I set out to reach out to some of the teenagers out there on Facebook to get their view on what life was like being a teenager with type 1 diabetes. Here is one of their interviews ... Enjoy

Q: First Name and Age:
A:  Clay/13 years old
Q: When were you diagnosed and at what age?
A:  Dx 4/15/11, at age 12

Q: What do you remember about your diagnosis?
A: I remember everything very well, most especially that I was in coma and had near death experience with Jesus. He told me how to wake my mom and take me to the hosptal because I was very sick

Q: Are you on an insulin pump (if yes what kind) or are you on multiple daily injections?
A: Pump, Animas Ping

Q: Do you like your current method of infusion?
A: Yes, I like the Insets

Q: How comfortable are you managing your Type 1 Diabetes?
A: I am very comfortable, except when I am sick or have emergencies, such as an extreme high or ketones or feel sick.

Q: What is the hardest aspect of your diabetes management?
A: The hardest part is having to think and plan so much. You can't just leave the house or go off with a friend or eat something without your supplies or testing. You also have to worry about losing your meter or something important when you are away from home.

Q: Do you have a Diabetes Alert Dog, if yes how does your D.A.D help you with your diabetes management?

A: No D.A.D, Although, my Labradoodle seems to hang around me when I'm high or low.

Q: Are you friends with any other Type 1 diabetics in your area?
A: No friends in my area. I have had the chance but I just don't like to talk "diabetes" with others.

Q: Do you talk to other Type 1 Diabetic children/teens via Facebook, Twitter, or chat rooms? If yes:  Does that help your diabetes management and understanding of Type 1 Diabetes?
A: I am an admin on a teen site that I helped found. I post on there and like to read things, but I don't "talk" with anyone. It helps to post where other people will understand and not feel sorry for me or make me explain but "talking" doesn't really help me.

Q: Besides a cure what 1 thing would you like to see researchers working towards and why?
A: Besides a cure, I'd like things that didn't require poking me so often. Maybe an implanted pump with a CGM that you didn't have to move or fill so often.

Q: What tips or advice would you give to other newly diagnosed Type 1 Diabetic children/teens?
A: My advice is to try not to let diabetes take over your life and keep you from being just like other kids or to stop you from doing what you want or try new things or foods. Don't be scared when you have problems, just try to find another way.

Big thing...don't think of yourself as sick or say that you are "sick" if it's diabetes. Call it diabetes problems or something else so people don't think you are "sick" all the time.

 Adolescents need a safe place to discuss their struggles about growing up and especially what they go through living with diabetes. Some teens feel comfortable talking their parents; others do not. But regardless of whether your child talks to you, another family member or a trusted friend they need a forum to express their emotion about the challenges they face.

I hope this gave us all a small insight on what it is like to live life as a teenager with Type 1 Diabetes and always remember to listen to your children when they try to talk to you. We as parents need to be their main line of communication.

Keep checking back as I have plenty more interviews to go

1 comment:

Cami Tepper said...

Here is a link to Clay's Teen site on Facebook. Membership is private so it's a safe place that is overseen (in the background) by adult & teen admin. You can request membership & once you are verified by pm, you will be added. Parents are welcome to join as well but strongly encouraged to remain in the background (no comments please) so that teens have "ownership" of the site. Parents and Admin are very good at monitoring advice that might be harmful or inappropriate behavior. Teens are also discouraged from exchanging cell numbers, etc on the site.