My 15 year old son was diagnosed 18 days ago. I feel like I am getting the hang of things a bit now, however am always afraid I am missing something. Does anyone have any advice?? Thanks so much!
Hey Nichole! Welcome to Tudiabetes! My son was also diagnosed as an early teen. He was diagnosed on 4-18-2010...a year ago. Looking back, I think the best thing I did was give the control to my son for his diagnosis. I was there for him every step of the way and learned right along with him.
Initially, I kind-of nagged him about what his numbers were, how he was taking his insulin and so on. He got really frustrated and a little angry about all the questions-all the time. It took a couple of conversations with him to really understand that his diagnosis wasn't only effecting him, but it was also effecting the whole family. The checking my husband and I were doing wasn't because we didn't trust him...we needed to know for ourselves. It involves everyone. Eventually, he was o.k. with the a few questions now and then. He did ask that we back-off and let him adjust to things and we agreed as long as we could ALWAYS go to his book and check his recent numbers for ourselves.
I went out and bought him a nylon drawstring bag to carry his supplies in...it kind-of looks like a back pack, but flimsier. He didn't stand out so much with that.
He has control of his supplies and the process at school and I check in with the school nurse every now and then.
I had to make sure that the parents of his close friends (and his close friends) knew what to watch for and what to do. Again, I made him understand that the conversations I was having with others wasn't because I didn't trust him and his decisions, it was because I had to still make sure he was safe. That's my job...
Giving him complete control over the daily management of his Diabetes was the best thing I think we ever did. We still, after a year, ask every night before bed what his BS is and check his book every day. Occasionally we have brief conversations about being a T1, but in the beginning he didn't even want that. No talking about it seemed to be best.
I guess, welcome to the club! Please write back and share your story so far. Parents have invaluable advise and can give support that others might not understand.
My older son was diagnosed at 14 (he’s 16 now), and it is a tough age for sure. Our younger son was diagnosed at 9, and it was much easier to deal with. The best advice I can give you is be sure your son has all of the information that he needs to take care of himself. In addition to carb counting and insulin administration, we spent time talking about drinking and drugs and, now driving. I make sure I am always available to help, but try to stay out of it unless he asks for help.
The beginning is so hard, but you will be a pro (and so will your son) in no time!
I have two sons in full blown adolescence and saddled with T1; when they seem to slip into a pattern of complacency, I remind them of the effect of poor management on blood flow to extremities - I do not know how comfortable you would be talking to your son about this- but I remind them both (13 and 15) that I will want grand-children. That helps reminding them to have a tighter control for a while.
Otherwise, they are pretty much in charge, but they do know that when we ask if they tested, if they have their supplies etc, it is because we care and early on, I made sure to tell them that 2 (or more) heads remembering and checking is better than one.
good luck, let us know how it goes, and remember that with every hormonal push, the numbers go crazy and they need more insulin.
Hi Nichole, my son was dx at age 13 and will be 15 next month. It’s a tough age to be diagnosed because of hormones and wanting to be “like everyone else” but the upside is that they learn really quickly how to manage it by themselves. Seems like it would be really hard having an infant or todder with type 1… having said that, every age has it’s challenges. Hopefully, you have a good pediatric endocrinologist and team to educate you and your son on carb counting, etc… Are you considering the pump? My son was going to try the omnipod but decided he’s rather do shots than have something attached to him (again, the adolescent mind!) We are going to try to get him to try it again this summer though. You will get the hang of it but be aware that this is something you and your son will have to adjust to emotionally too… Some kids do better than others. Mine has anxiety so it’s been kind of hard but things are getting better as time goes by… We are going to the JDRF convention in Orlando in July. It’s called “friends forever” and I’ve heard great things about it. You might want to check it out.
Hey Peggy, you might want to look at the animas also. I know it has a tube, but it is easy to disconnect when they are active and/or wet. even though the animas is completely waterproof, we have found out that most of the time, they do not need insulin when they are so active; just test every 40 minutes or so to see if they need a quick bolus. it is time to replace my youngest’s pump (amazing how 5 years of diabetes can go fast) and he refused to seriously look at other models because he has been happy with his animas, no failure ever; the most that happened was a crack in the rubber cap (which would make it not waterproof) and they sent us a new one withing 24 hours.
Hi Nichole –
My daughter was diagnosed at 10, she is almost 14 now. You will probably feel a roller coaster of emotions over the next few months - hang in there!
How are things going? I don’t want to overwhelm you with irrelevant advice
It’s a tough adjustment for any child, but it does get easier!
My son was also diagnosed at 15 (a few months from 16) at the beginning of his Sophomore year. He hated the delay in getting his driving license and losing almost a whole hockey season. This has made an already shy teenager, very, very self-conscious. Some of the things I wish we had known or understood better:
- His immune system was under attack for quite a few months (Greg caught the flu, the swine flu and eveything else at school); He kept asking if he would ever feel good again and not always be so tired.
- Moderate exercise makes BG drop up to six hours later but strenuous exercise and adreneline can also make BG rise up into the 300s
- It is not just about Carbs; Fat in foods can cause a rise up to 8 hours later
- Blood Glucose (even with insulin) rises after you eat for about an hour and a half and then starts back down to normal BG levels before the next meal; Testing between these meals should show a higher BG (140 - 160) and if you correct it to a target BG (100), then you will be too low later.
- Always check BG before bed; My son still feels lows when he is awake but not when he is sleeping.
- Even with the Omnipod Pump, there is a lot of stuff to carry if you have Diabetes
Thank you so much for sharing. It does affect the whole family. We are trying to keep things as normal as possible for him. Only 20 days in, we have so many more obstacles to come our way. It is overwhelming. Our family does not seem to realize what it all involves and makes light of the situation. I just want my son to be happy and I will do whatever I have to do to make this happen. I can not imagine what the lives of the children that do not have good support are going through.
Thanks! This age is tough~I am glad that my son’s friends understand what he is going through and how things have to be. They are some smart kiddos!
I, so far am lucky that he is very good abotu testing and such. He is at the point that he doesn’t eat anything without asking me how many carbs or can I eat this. I read labels, I have spent hours looking for the best choices. I make sure he has “free” foods available at all times, especially when I am not home as he is not comfortable with injecting himself at this point. Thanks!
My son seems to be holding things together very well. However, it sometimes worries me that he may just be like me and holds everything inside. This is not a healthy thing to do. I have been told to pull myself together, this is not the end of the world. However, I still find myself tearing up often. I realize things could be so much worse, but it saddens me to think that his life is forever changed. Life is tough enough for our kids these days. I will definalty check out the convention. I am sure there is info. online. Thanks!
Thanks for the advice! Great information. I have so much flowing through my mind~ It is a lot to take in. I have been trying to read up on as much as I can. I want to do what is best for my son.
About family not understanding… My mother cannot wrap her head around T1 and keep sending me info that is absolutely not relevant; when I finally realized she would/could not understand, I gave up and whenever she says something about this “new discovery” or something else (most often it is for type 2), I thank her and keep going without dwelling too much on it, my kids too. That and the boatloads of people who do not know the difference between T1 and T2 will drive you insane, but only if you let them.
Get used to people not understanding the difference between type 1 and type 2. People are always assuming my son cannot eat anything with sugar in it and make comments on how I must have to cook special things for him… when, in fact he eats anything he wants and just counts his carbs! Of course, we switched from regular soda to diet for him and he doesn’t eat a ton of candy, but he does eat pizza, fries, waffles, etc… just like an average 14 year old! The main thing is to not make their diabetes the defining thing… let him be a kid first… he will learn to manage and you just have to let the comments roll off… my family is well meaning but they don’t get it either…
You will be on an emotional roller coaster for awhile… it’s totally normal… I found that I couldn’t relate so some of my friends “problems” because they seemed so trivial… it was hard on my daughter too (she is now 18)… I think she felt somewhat guilty and also sensed the sadness that my husband and I felt. Don’t be afraid to get counseling… it helped me and my son. Go ahead and let yourself sob on the bathroom floor if you need to… just try not to do it in front of your son! Things do get easier and treatment is so much better than it was years ago. Our boys will live full, happy lives as long as they take care of themselves and hopefully, there will be a cure or a major advancement in treatment before they are out of their twenties!
I love your comment "The main thing is to not make their diabetes the defining thing… let him be a kid first… "
I am kind of new to TuDiabetes, and am so glad to find parents who think like me.
Nichole, do you have the book “Pink Panther”? it is full of useful info, very well laid out. After 7 years of T1, I still look things up
Yes I do have the book. I have read so much online that I had forgotten about that one! Thanks for the reminder
It took my mom a while to understand that my son could not eat carbs whenever and how much. Like two years:/ Frustrating to say the least. Be prepared for the ignorant comments when people find out your son is Diabetic. People, most of the time, mean well but know absolutely nothing and say some hurtful things.
My number one advice is do not be too hard on yourself as managing his Diabetes is very tricky. Give him “breaks” sometimes and do the testing and carb counting for him.