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teenager with type 1 diabetes

Teenager With Type 1 Diabetes –

Teenager With Type 1 Diabetes –

By: Sarah Ball

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes just nine days before my thirteenth birthday. I was excited to start a new chapter of my life. I was about to start my last year of middle school and officially become a teenager.

Becoming a teenager is rough. We all know it. At this point in your life, you’re so desperate to slip under the radar and fit in as much as possible. And with something that resembles a pager on my waist, it became difficult to fit in.

For my first year of diagnosis, I had to go to the nurse’s office everyday to give myself an injection after lunch. I remember clearly a classmate of mine being in the nurse’s office when I gave an injection one day.

He later called me out in front of my entire class asking “why did you give yourself an Epipen shot earlier?” I didn’t know how to respond. I was frozen. My teacher, who overheard the conversation, tried to change the subject and move on. That was the first of many times in that first year that I was humiliated for being different.

Later in the year one of my friends, who didn’t know I was diabetic, saw me check my blood sugar. She immediately asked me what my meter was. I froze again. I felt that same rush of humility. I ignored her.

Later that day, she messaged me and I explained that I was a diabetic and I didn’t want her to think I was a freak because I wasn’t like everyone else. She responded with compassion and explained how she would have never thought that, even if I am different. I started to feel better about being different after that conversation.

The first year of high school was also the first year I had an insulin pump.

I noticed as I walked down the hall, people would eye my waist, where my insulin pump would sit everyday. I felt that same rush of humility, yet again. I became embarrassed by diabetes again.

So much so, I stopped checking my blood sugar everyday at school. This made my A1C levels rise, but I didn’t care. This increased blood sugar spikes during the day which affected my performance in school, but I didn’t care. I would accidentally give too much insulin, which would plummet my blood sugars, but I didn’t care.

I risked my health to seem normal. It became unhealthy. It was affecting my grades, my mental health and of course, my physical well being. As I grew up and realized that differences are what make us interesting, I started to embrace diabetes.

I started to be proud that I was one of the 3 million people in the United States to have Type 1 Diabetes and empower people to not be embarrassed by something that they can’t control.

After 5 years with diabetes, I still notice the stares in public when I check my blood sugar. And notice people staring at my waist, but my outlook has changed. I wear my insulin pump proudly and answer questions with confidence. I help people understand that it isn’t uncommon or weird.

Diabetes is difficult as it is, don’t make it more difficult by trying to pretend you’re someone you’re not. Embrace the 1 AM lows, embrace the subconscious carb counting, embrace the impromptu insulin pump site changes in public. It’s apart of who we are. And it’s okay to be a bit different.


Raising a teen with type 1 diabetes

Raising a Teen With Type 1 Diabetes

Raising a Teen With Type 1 Diabetes

Raising Ezra, Our T1D

By: Christie Meyers

Who knew that day at the pediatrician, we would be admitted to the hospital a few hours later.

My little boy, 5 years old, bravely getting insulin injections and checking blood sugars fearlessly. He said to his Endo, “okay I eat, my mom gives me a shot and I check my blood sugars. Can I go home now? My sisters miss me”. I was amazed as his ability to accept this new way of life. I thought “we’ve got this!”.

That continued for quite some time. Ezra, my “z man” as we call him, took diabetes head on. He began using an insulin pump at age 6. This allowed for more freedom as he went to play dates and played sports. I could administer a bolus by his meter and he wasn’t interrupted.

We both were feeling so confident; so optimistic.

I read about complications and about kids and adults with Type 1 diabetes refusing to care for themselves. I thought “thank God he is responsible. We’ll never have that problem”.

Now we’re here.

Age 12. Puberty. Entering the teen years. And it’s been a rough two years. He eats and doesn’t bolus. He lies about blood sugars. He doesn’t want to carry his meter when he goes outside. Ezra is tired of having diabetes.

He’s embarrassed of always having supplies with him. He’s overwhelmed by the process and never ending responsibility. And I now think, who can blame him? I’m his mother. I don’t have diabetes. And I hate it. The worrying. The midnight checks. The extra prep that goes into everyday. Counting every carb he eats. Measuring food. Packing supplies.

Watching him go through something that I can’t take away from him. I tell him to be positive. That it’s not a choice he has to neglect his health. But ultimately it is his choice. He’s growing up. I can’t be everywhere and I can’t make all his choices.

I believe in him.

I believe he’s going to be okay. He’s going to find a way to find his focus and to be successful mentally, physically and emotionally. What I see is diabetes affects so much more than the physical. And I’m so proud of my son for being who he is and being able to talk to me about how he feels.

It’s been almost 7 years since our lives completely changed. My Zman is my hero. He’s my little lion. Fearless and brave. And diabetes will not beat him down. He’s going to conquer before it has the chance.

teenager with diabetes

My Struggle as a Teenager with Diabetes

My Struggle As A Teenager With Diabetes

Being a teenager with diabetes was a struggle, to say the least. I was a typical teenager, combating hormones, stress from school, and wanting to fit in with my peers. Then throw diabetes into the mix, and you have yourself a world of complications.

Very few of my classmates knew I was diabetic.

It often took a diabetes incident to occur for others to notice that I had a health condition. I was embarrassed about having diabetes. I thought that I would be made fun of or be left out.

The only people who were aware of my health condition was my family and a select few of friends. But it was hard opening up about it. I felt like a burden and I didn’t want people to pity me.

It’s hard not only dealing with the roller coaster ride of diabetes, but having to depend on someone else to look after you in case something were to happen. That’s a big responsibility to put on someone when I couldn’t even handle it myself.

There was a day that I remember vividly. It was in the 7th grade during a math class. My sugar ended up dropping severely low. The last thing I remember was feeling very tired. Then all of a sudden, I was being placed in an ambulance. The stories I heard was I blacked out and I fell out of my desk. Thankfully, my friend was there to inform others of what was going on.

That’s not a normal day for your average teenager. While everyone else my age was going about their day, carefree, I was experiencing a life-threatening event.

I was a brittle, unaware, teenager with diabetes, for sure. I wish I could have handled myself better then. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know half as much as I know now about my disease. I was “taking shots in the dark”, shall you say. Hoping for the best.

I couldn’t tell you how many times 911 was called after getting home from school. I think the EMT’s knew me by name. Insulin can be deadly if not careful and I just couldn’t figure it out. I wanted to just be normal. I was letting diabetes win at that time, not realizing that I had a fighting chance.

My doctor insisted that I get on the pump. But at that time in my life, I refused. I didn’t want something attached to my body. I was so wrapped up into what others would think.

At times, I felt like I needed some guidance—some support.

Maybe I was seeking attention—almost like a cry for help.

Looking back at being a teenager with diabetes, I wish I could have taken better care of myself then. There are so many things I would tell myself, that I know now. But with all of my struggles, it has definitely made me a stronger person. I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. I fought hard to get where I’m at. It just so happens that years down the line, I just woke up. I realized there is a purpose behind this, I do matter, and I’m the only person that can save me.

I hope by sharing my story, type 1’s who have been hiding in the shadows and parents who are struggling to get through to their child can feel heard and understood. That this time shall pass. That what you’re dealing with now will eventually get better and to just hang on. Have faith, love yourself, and learn more about this disease everyday.

Today I’m the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been. I feel good about myself and I don’t see diabetes as a weakness any longer—but as a strength. I’m proud to have diabetes because it has made me who I am. I’m not the ideal “perfect” diabetic—by no means.

But I’m living proof, that no matter how little of control you feel you have, you can take back your life and turn it around… By just believing that you can. 

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