People who have grown up managing type 1 diabetes often have some difficulties as they enter the next phase of their lives. Whether you're moving out to go to college or leaving the nest to launch a career, type 1 diabetes presents a special set of challenges.
But rest assured: you can do this. Here's how.
1. Keep your usual habits
Though moving out and on to more adult pursuits is traditionally a time of reinventing yourself and testing the limits of what you can accomplish, leave those experiments for parts of your life that don't involve your diabetes care.
Everything you do now to take care of your diabetes should stay the same as much as possible.
2. Find a doctor nearby
If you're leaving the state for college or work, you'll need a new doctor. Start looking for endocrinologists far in advance of the time you'll leave, and consider whether you want to switch doctors at all. If you're going away for college but will be back frequently, you may be able to schedule appointments while you're home with your parents and see your usual pediatric endocrinologist. Otherwise, it's time to find a new doctor, as daunting as that thought may be.
Consider keeping blood sugar logs to stay accountable on your own.
3. Decide who to tell about your diabetes
If you're going off to college, your professors should know, as diabetes can impact your attendance and other important factors. Anyone involved in residence life should also be aware. Consider whether you want to tell people you live with, whether in a college dormitory or not, or any supervisors or co-workers at a new job. It's important to note that these people may have many questions about type 1 diabetes. Be prepared to answer what you feel comfortable with, and know that, for the most part, these people in your life will want to help you out whenever possible.
4. Stay accountable
It can be hard to remember to complete all the necessary diabetes care tasks in your life without someone watching and reminding you about them. So it's a great idea to keep being accountable to somebody as you transition to living on your own, whether that's your doctor, a social worker, your parents, or someone else.
You can keep blood sugar logs or record what you eat on an app to show someone else in your life that you are taking your self-management seriously. This can help you stay on track and has the added bonus of making sure your parents worry less.
Have you lived through this life change? How did you deal with it? What do you wish you would have known? Share in the comments below.