T1 Kids with T1 Friends

John Crowley
By John CrowleyCA Latest Reply 2008-04-17 09:50:02 -0500
Started 2008-04-11 08:12:19 -0500

So I've been thinking about this lately. We've never felt a tremendous need for our son to have friends who also have diabetes. We did send him to a diabetes summer camp early on. He had some fun but certainly didn't love it.

Perhaps it is because we've tried to make sure that his diabetes doesn't define who he is that we never saw an urgent need to help him find other T1 friends.

Yet as we've put this site together I have certainly seen the benefits of sharing and supporting. Maybe it would have been helpful to my son to have friends with diabetes.

But what do you all think about the issue?


6 replies

BadShoe
BadShoe 2008-04-17 09:50:02 -0500 Report

We have two T1 kids. I don't wish it on anyone.

We did go to CWD's conference last summer and there was a good deal of value there. Interacting with other T1 and getting coaching on self care. That was great. Going again.

Melissa Dawn
Melissa Dawn 2008-04-14 04:49:38 -0500 Report

I didn't have friends with diabetes growing up. I knew people with diabetes, but didn't really associate with them that often. My parents had a friend who was diabetic, T1. His example, while maybe not perfect, showed us that we could have a fairly normal life with diabetes — it made it less scary.

As to finding friends, I went to diabetic camp once. It was kind of interesting, but not really a life changing event. I think there are so many different ways of coping with this disease that having a friend with diabetes may not really change how you want to handle it. I do like being able to share and have other peoples input on things — but in my teens I don't think I would have cared that much.

Jonathan - 13553
Jonathan - 13553 2008-04-14 05:48:08 -0500 Report

There is a pull in two ways — the need to have people who understand what T1 is like and the need to feel like I am a normal person. I've known a couple of people, at the fringe of my circle of acquaintances, who are T1, and never well enough to talk about what life is like as a T1. I was diagnosed in college, so it was too late for any kind of camp. And, support groups back then were few and far between — mostly focusing on exchanges and urine testing.
Although T1 is an all encompassing part of my life, from which I can never escape, I do want a large part of my life that has nothing to do with T1. Where I can forget about finger sticks, carb counts, lows, highs and lost sensors. My parents encouraged me to go to "adult diabetes camps" just after I was diagnosed. It was too much T1 at the time. I think there is a need to keep from getting overwhelmed by this.

Jonathan - 13553
Jonathan - 13553 2008-04-14 05:48:12 -0500 Report

There is a pull in two ways — the need to have people who understand what T1 is like and the need to feel like I am a normal person. I've known a couple of people, at the fringe of my circle of acquaintances, who are T1, and never well enough to talk about what life is like as a T1. I was diagnosed in college, so it was too late for any kind of camp. And, support groups back then were few and far between — mostly focusing on exchanges and urine testing.
Although T1 is an all encompassing part of my life, from which I can never escape, I do want a large part of my life that has nothing to do with T1. Where I can forget about finger sticks, carb counts, lows, highs and lost sensors. My parents encouraged me to go to "adult diabetes camps" just after I was diagnosed. It was too much T1 at the time. I think there is a need to keep from getting overwhelmed by this.

CALpumper
CALpumper 2008-04-11 11:51:47 -0500 Report

Hi John.
After the 1st or 2nd year of my diagnosis I went to a diabetes camp. I made some friends but nothing that lasted. I made a pen pal with one of the counselors but she was not diabetic. For me, so close to my diagnosis, being sent "away" from home brought on serious anxiety and I never went back. I have spoken with adults recently who volunteer at camps and those kids that keep coming back or the ones that form those friendships that last.

So how do you keep the kids coming back? If they don't want to go they should not have to. But would it benefit them to learn something new about how to manage the disease or deal with themselves each time they go?

Throughout my entire existence I have never had a friend with diabetes. I have met or encountered people. I felt for me we might clash and argue on ways to manage, of course this is my thinking in my latter years (late teens, early 20s).

Ultimately I think it is up to the kid. Discuss it with them, how they feel about it. Is it important to them to "connect" with someone that understands. How best to discuss this depends on age and parenting.

Always worth a shot though! Growing up with diabetes is hard when all you want to do is be a kid and just grow up, someday. ;-)