Connecting with parents of Type 1 teens, or even teen themselves.

By cureforjosh Latest Reply 2012-09-03 07:07:48 -0500
Started 2011-03-23 11:39:55 -0500

My youngest son, who is 15, was diagnosed in Nov, 2010. He is having a hard time staying in school and making it to school at all due to a ton of viral infections that he has picked up since then. We are on top of that, but I still think that a lot of it is psycological at times. I know when he does have a low in school, he feels the effects for the rest of the day, and I think that this vicious cycle is scaring him. Is this normal? He is doing awesome with an A1C of 6!!!! He is dilligent with his testing and shots and carb counting as well. Am I worrying too much? I just want to make the overwhelmingness of school and the new diagnosis as easy as possible for him. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thanks to my DC family!!! :)

22 replies

northerngal 2011-04-06 14:33:10 -0500 Report

I was diagnosed at 10yrs old and so went through puberty trying to manage diabetes. It will very likely cause some problems because your entire body is changing. I am on the pump and love it. I can input bs reading directly or run it from the meter. It took careful documenting of everything I ate and the dose of insulin to cover it. We worked out the ratios and I've been using it for 2yrs. It is so much more convenient than having to carry pens, insulin, needles etc. It survived a bicycle crash and physical combat (under protective padding), so its pretty tough. I protect it from getting wet, but sweat hasn't caused problems. Batteries last about 1 month, but changing them is not hard. (As long as its under two minutes, all settings remain). You change the injection site every 3 or 4 days and there is a small tube connected from the pump into the site. You are always attached, but I got used to it pretty quickly. I too had lots of problems with lows and because of other health issues, couldn't feel them until it was too late. I was advised to carry skittles candies in my pocket. They don't melt, you can grab as many as you need, and there are lots of flavors. The difficulty getting up for school could be associated with running too high or too low. Either situation can make you feel tired or groggy and, face it,he's a kid! I would have to say that its pretty normal. If he is willing, meet with the teachers to explain that at times he may need to grab something to snack on, to keep things in a safe range. Hopefully, they will be understanding and be more than willing to work with him. Almost everyone has friends or family members with diabetes, so discussing things is the best option. It's amazing how little people really know about it. Good luck with it.

cureforjosh 2011-04-08 09:11:43 -0500 Report

Thank you for this valuable information. He is growing like a weed and that is causing some issues, but we are diligent as we can be. I agree about how little people know, as I was probably in that group before this. I knew the key points, but there is so much involved! We seem to learn something new every day it seems. That is why I love this site! I have really been comforted by so many and their insight and experience. Thank you!!! :)

Hops 2011-04-05 22:52:16 -0500 Report

Are there any other students managing diabetes in his high school? I found it was great comparing experiences with diabetics in my school. Then I did not feel alone trying to manage diabetes.

cureforjosh 2011-03-27 10:31:45 -0500 Report

Alexx, You definitely helped!!!! You just described everything he worries about! Thank you for sharing your feelings and all of the great advice! He is still in the honeymoon phase so he tends to have more lows. He really hasn't had a high in along time. But the Dr. changes his carb ratio and we change his Lantus to adjust. We are researching the pump but he seems to have some fears of it. I know it would be a while before he could get one so maybe he will change his mind. It is ultimately his decision and we will support him. Were you afraid of using the pump? I would like to hear more if you don't mind… Thank you again! :) Sandy

Hops 2011-04-05 22:48:28 -0500 Report

Am curious why you change the Lantus to adjust to changes in your son's carb ratio? I started injecting Regular and NPH insulin in September of 1968 as a 14 year old. I forget when Humalog and Lantus came along. One of the great things about Lantus which my endo instructed me about is that after initially finding the proper strength of Lantus one never should the adjust Lantus dosage. Ask your doctor if it would be better if your son adjusts his meal bolus of Humalog based on his blood glucose rather than his Lantus.

cureforjosh 2011-04-08 09:25:49 -0500 Report

Hi Hops! His Endo has had this adjustment system in place since his diagnosis. He also does change his carb ratios as needed as well. Josh is in the honeymoon phase and although he started out at .33 units of Lantus, and carb ratios of 1/15 with every meal, he has been able to drop to .19 Lantus and carb ratios of 1/30 am, and 1/25 the rest of the day. He was having too many lows after his body got on track. We know this will change, but for now, he is responding well with an A1C of 6. As far as other kids in his school, yes sadly there are quite a few. But He is such a shy kid that doesn't like to talk to others outside of his circle. He does have a friend that just moved away from his school that he keeps in touch with that has it though. I know he talks to people on his terms and I have to respect that for now. The more I push him, the more he retreats. It's a hard balancing act. But I monitor him constantly from a distance to make sure he is not sinking into depression. I will intervene at any cost before that happens. I just wish I could fix this problem like a mom should! :) But it is in higher hands than my own, and I am coming to grips with where my place is in all of this. Thank you so much for sharing! I hope we continue to talk. Sandy

ConnieMarie 2012-09-03 07:07:48 -0500 Report

Diabetes is tough at any age but high school would be hard. I am type 2 in a family with type 1. Tell him to hang in there…it gets better.

marla50 2012-04-06 01:42:13 -0500 Report

You keep mentioning a honeymoon phase. I've been a diabetic for 47 years. What are you relating to a "honeymoon" phase?

Hops 2011-04-08 10:05:26 -0500 Report

Sandy, Thank you for your thoughtful reply. In my case my endocrinologist agreed with me that two Lantus injections once every 12 hours really helps
the Lantus be strong throughout the day. So instead of one Lantus injection of 12 units a day I get a mid morning and a bed time injection of six units.
The tough thing is the doctors who never inject Lantus into themselves are sure that Lantus has no peaks or valleys but the timing of my Humalog and Lantus injections too close together causes me to have lows.

Good luck to you and Josh managing this ever complex condition.

cureforjosh 2011-04-08 19:04:43 -0500 Report

Lows are rough. I hate seeing him go through them. They exhaust him completely. His Dr. tells us that if he has 3 or more days in a row with a sugar under 100 upon waking, then lower his Lantus by .2. I still call them and make sure, but they are right. It may take a day or so, but it does come up. They want his target sugar to be 120. He rarely sees that number, but stays between 80 and 115. But we are riding the wave of his honeymoon! Good luck to you as well, and I hope we talk again! Sandy

Hops 2011-04-09 06:10:37 -0500 Report

Try to prevent having more than insulin shock a week. Ask Josh's doctor
about your son's increasing risk of asymptomatic hypoglycemia from having
so many lows. Gradually his lows will have to get lower before he has any symptom of being low. I know because that is what happened to me. Josh is
young. His body will easily handle sugars up to 140 without any harm.
Low glycemic index carbs help stretch out the impact of carbs on the body.
Rye bread, brown rice, cooked raw oatmeal are examples of low GCI foods which are good for the body. Does Josh stretch out his carb impact with proteins and fats in his diet? Hi fiber foods are great. Try getting a box of Extend Bars. They are made to prevent lows being high fiber bars with only 19 grams of carb which come on slowly.

Whole grain crackers like Tricsuits are wonderful. I learned by trial and error
that if I inject my Humalog before eating 12 Triscuits that my sugar will start to increase 45 minutes later so my insulin injection before eating them
caused insulin shock. Twelve Triscuits pack in 44 carbs but are low glycemic.
Please be patient and don't brat yourself up because you make mistakes. Diabetes is so complex you and Josh will learn that no two days are ever the same even when he takes the exact same amount of insulin and does the same activities while eating the same foods. My family and I look at it as a condition which taught us healthy living.

Be well.

s0na2001 2011-03-27 16:38:23 -0500 Report

Hi there, sure u'll worry, its normal and i am going through the same, my recently turned 13 yr old was diagnosed in sept. 2010…we are still adjusting! everyday she goes off to school is a worry, we were also wondering about the pros of a pump…need feedback please from people using it and anyone know about Exubera?

marla50 2012-04-06 01:45:36 -0500 Report

a pump is wonderful! Not only does it eliminate the multipule injections. It is better control!!

cureforjosh 2011-03-28 07:20:53 -0500 Report

I'm so sorry for your 13 year old. It's information overload huh? I'm glad to find someone in the same boat as both of our kids were diagnosed around the same time. I researched a lot on the videos that are posted on this site for the pump but have not really talked to his Endo yet. Is you daughter still "honeymooning"?
I am thankful for everyday that he is, but I know it won't last forever. I feel like its one more day that his ratios get to be high and his doses get to be low. How is her A1C? Maybe we can learn about the pump together. I know Josh really is afraid of it at this point. I look forward to talking with you more! One day at a time… :)

Alexx_x 2011-03-27 12:11:12 -0500 Report

I was scared of the pump at first, mostly just putting in the tubing and taking it out but it really doesn't hurt anymore than an injection from the pen does. It's actually very exciting to first have it! It can be a problem in school of teachers thinking it's a phone but if u have good teachers and explain it to them before anything happens then it shouldn't be much trouble.
I would say it is defiantly a good investment and he would probably enjoy it more than a pen because it also gives u more freedom with when/what u eat.

cureforjosh 2011-03-27 14:29:40 -0500 Report

Thank you for sharing all of this with me. I wish I could get him to talk to people like you. You would inspire him. He is on facebook, but doesn't want to start an account on here. He is still weirded out by sharing things. Hopefully this would change. Your parents have done a great job raising you! Have a great week! :)

Alexx_x 2011-03-27 19:47:08 -0500 Report

Awh! Thank u so much! I'm sure it's just hard for him because he doesn't want to feel different so talking about something like this makes him like more of an outcast. I really only have one friend I talk to about diabetic stuff and it's cuz her brother is also a diabetic. Nobody else understands any of it, and tbh she doesn't really either.
Over here there is a diabetes camp every summer that I attend, and am in training to become a councilor there so if there is anything like that in ur area then it is a good place for him to learn that others r going thru the same things as him. Camp really inspired me to work harder at my diabetes when I see all of the smaller children dealing with it so well I realize that if these 6 and 7 year olds can do this then so can I!

Alexx_x 2011-03-26 22:09:31 -0500 Report

I am also 15 years old, and it can be very frustrating in school, especially if ur son is on pens. I was diagnosed 4 years ago and so two years ago mom and I made sure to get on a pump waiting list so that I could have one for highschool. Seeing as ur son has only been recently diagnosed a pump may not be good for him right now but keep it in mind because it does make school much easier seeing as he would not have to worry about going somewhere private to give an injection.
Sometimes just the stress of school can bring u down, or shoot ur sugars up! My sugar used to go very high during tests so I had to make sure that I was giving a little more before them. So there could be problems like this going on.
As for lows I find they r much worse during school because they really do stick with u all day. Most of the time u don't have a lot of time to rest. Ur moving between classes, and usually doing a lot of work during the class so that can also be very hard and with all the work u r doing it doesn't give ur body a chance to relax and get back to feeling normal.
I wouldn't worry too much about it, all of this is normal and with an A1C that perfect I really don't think ur doing anything wrong! It's all just the stress of being a teen.
Being sick and missing a lot of school is deff the worse. I tend to get sick often, and for long periods of time and it always sends my sugars everywhere! Most of my friends feel that I shouldn't let something so small keep me home when they're going in when they're sick but with out of control sugars he should be staying home. One day I almost collapsed because my sugars were jumping so quickly and really wished I had stayed home. Even though missing school really blows it's better than going, getting worse, and having to stay home longer later on.
Hope this helped :)

cureforjosh 2011-03-23 13:42:24 -0500 Report

Thank you so much John. His Dr. did just change his ratio's a few weeks ago and it seems to be helping. We also know when to lower his Lantus on our own and have done that last week. I am seeking a therapist that is within our insurance coverage, but I keep striking out. It's so nice to hear that I am not alone in my thinking or that he isn't either. I wish we knew how long the Honeymoon period will last for him as I know it can vary. I think the hardest part for both of us is that there is no difinitives. That is very hard. Thank you again for the encouragement!

John Crowley
John Crowley 2011-03-23 13:32:22 -0500 Report

First, it's great that your son is doing so well. And you don't need to feel badly for worrying. Of course you'll worry. Isn't that our job as parents? :-)

No doubt that there is a huge psychological adjustment to having diabetes. And I think most would agree that the effects of a low can last for hours. So what he's feeling (and you too) is perfectly normal. In time, he'll get better at recognizing and treating the lows before they get too low.

If he's having frequent lows, he needs to discuss with his doctor adjustments that he can make. His insulin dosage might need a minor adjustment. Or he might need to make sure he's having enough protein with his meals. Or some of both.

Most importantly, hang in there.

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