Giving back

I was recently asked to consider mentoring a young teen with T1. After too little thought I accepted. I had a conversation with the parents. I had a conversation with an educator about the extreme difficulties children can encounter when circumstances go awry. And after a week or so, I bailed out.

I think I have a little bit of a guilt trip. But I shouldn’t. I have a full time job taking care of myself. And to balance the moral scales, I’m a kick-■■■ fund raiser for JDRF and ADA.

But it all raises a question - why does the direct diabetes community have to be the primary force pushing for advancements in treatment and/or/ a cure? Yes, there’s the obvious answer - they have the most at stake. But is this true for other diseases?

Take HIV/AIDS as an example. What untold millions of dollars is poured into research, treatment and prevention, and more importantly - who and what drives this effort? Tell me it’s mostly the directly effected community and I’ll shut up. HIV/AIDS is now very similar to T1. Both have moved beyond being 100% fatal. Both require lifetime regimens of medication. Both have super high fatality rates in the third world.

But HIV/AIDS garners huge press, huge government response, foreign aid, celebrity support. But T1 kids in Asia and Africa just fade away.

The kid I was asked to mentor had problems with BG control for years. No doubt ran high at school a lot. I’m a recent comer to diabetes. You all know how your brain works, or fails to work over 200, 300. I just can’t imagine how you all did it in school. You’re one tough crowd and I admire your fortitude if you made it through school. This kid may not. He’s been held back multiple times. He reads and writes far below his peers. The school district has deemed him learning disabled.

I don’t have a great redeeming message here. I think it all sucks. Give where you can. Take care of yourself.


Well, there must be something else going on with your teenage Type 1 Friend that is affecting his learning process. Another condition perhaps? Or maybe he doesn’t want to learn.

There are so many of us Diabetics who graduated from High School without flunking a grade and then went on to College, University, etc. Others chose to go straight into the workforce.

Sure it’s tougher for Children with Diabetes to get through it, mainly because they are growing, dealing with the hormonal changes of puberty and maybe later even teenage rebellion. All these situations can throw the sugar levels out of whack sometimes and make them feel sick or Very tired…

Also some Kids are not taught about Diabetes adequately since their Drs. and or Parents don’t understand and don’t know how to deal with all the intricacies of Diabetes.

You had Good intentions, anyways.

HIV/AIDS is more rallied about because it can be passed to another Person here and now, so quickly spread.

Many many more people have diabetes than HIV/AIDS. Shouldn’t this rally more people?

Well, most Diabetics are Type 2. The majority of them are usually able to control their disease with diet and exercise or oral medications. Myself, I feel more sorry for someone with HIV/AIDS.

Our support is continually growing.

It is very true that you have to take care of yourself first or you can’t help anyone else out. I currently mentor another adult t1 who has depression issues and has had a traumatic brain injury. It wears me out sometimes working with him. I am trying to get him online to use a social network so he doesn’t feel so all alone. It is hard mentoring, don’t beat yourself up. Maybe you could suggest to the parents that the kid comes here to get some support? Also, there is a mentor program over at you could suggest.


I’m sorry, I gave such an abrupt comment. I should have explained.

Do not get me wrong, I Really sympathize with other People who have Diabetes especially those who find control difficult, who suffer from depression, who have complications, who find it difficult to lose weight, etc. My heart goes out to them.

When I said this: “Myself, I feel more sorry for someone with HIV/AIDS”, my mind had gone back to a few documentaries that I had seen about places in Africa. Many men there who have HIV/AIDS rape virgins, I’m talking even little Girls, because they believe that this will rid them of their disease. These Females are not only viciously violated but are also doomed with a disease that will kill them since they are so poor and have no medical help. The Females who become pregnant will also give birth to Babies with this disease and will end up Motherless and Fatherless, in many cases. You may have seen these shows.

When I heard this, I was horrified. It broke my heart and made me sick to my stomach and angry. So much ugliness.