Welcome to PBN’s Type 1 Teen Topics!

Introducing TEEN TOPIC TUESDAY, where our Teen Advisory Panel of Teens With Diabetes (TWD), ages 13-19, will address your questions and concerns about Type 1 Diabetes from the viewpoint of a teenager. Each week our TWD Panel will focus on one topic, generated by them or by you, our readers. Some of the upcoming topics will include Nightscout, Trusting your Teen, and Athletics.  If you have a question or a topic to pose to our teens, please email it to us at ProjectBlueNovember@gmail.com.

TEEN TOPICS – WEEK #68 – What is your most bolus-worthy Thanksgiving food? Which Thanksgiving food is not worth the bolus?

Each week we ask our panel of Type 1 teens from across the country to answer questions about their diabetes.  Here are their answers to this week’s question.

Annelies (age 15)
My most bolus worthy Thanksgiving foods are probably mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Those are my favorite foods at Thanksgiving dinner. There’s not really a dish that isn’t worth the bolus, Thanksgiving is the one day a year that anybody, not just diabetics, can eat anything and everything that they want.


Andrew (age 15)
My most “bolus-worthy” Thanksgiving food is most definitely the cranberry sauce. I put the cranberry sauce on everything that I eat and is the biggest part of my Thanksgiving meal. The least “bolus worthy” Thanksgiving food I eat would have to be the turkey or the ham. Although I eat a lot of both, the low amount of carbs in both make them the least “bolus worthy” Thanksgiving food for me.

Ashley C. (age 16)
My most bolus worthy food is probably Mac and cheese. Ham is not bolus worthy and that’s all I eat at Thanksgiving.


Cameron (age 18)
The most bolus-worthy thanksgiving foods are mac & cheese and stuffing. The food that’s not worth the bolus is sweet potatoes. 

Caroline (age 15)
The most bolus worthy are probably dressing, and  macaroni & cheese. My mom & grandma make REALLY good dressing and macaroni & cheese, so they are both really worth the bolus.

The least worthy are probably rolls or bread. They are really carb-heavy, but I can have those any time of the year, so I would choose to substitute a typical Thanksgiving-only food item that I can’t have year-round.


Christina (age 15)
I think that cranberry sauce is the Thanksgiving food least worth the bolus. The two Thanksgiving foods I think are the most bolus-worthy are mashed potatoes and any pumpkin dessert because these two things are some of my favorite foods.

Claire (age 18)
My most bolus worthy Thanksgiving food has to be stuffing, especially my mom’s stuffing – it’s to die for. However, my least bolus worthy Thanksgiving food has to be cranberries. While I like them they are never as good as my mother’s homemade stuffing recipe.

Erin (age 17)
Most worthy is stuffing, pie, or dinner rolls.  Least worthy: any casserole or cranberries

Haley (age 14)
My Grandmother’s dressing would be worth any amount of bolus! The pies aren’t really worth it to me, though.

Ian (age 15)
Stuffing, definitely, is the most worthy of a bolus. Sweet tea or any other beverage with carbs, for that matter, is not worth it.

Jordan (age 18)
My most bolus worthy food on Thanksgiving is a tough choice.  It is a tie between gravy and the sweet potato pies.  Gravy doesn’t have many carbs alone usually, but I tend to eat a lot of gravy on Thanksgiving.  The cranberry sauce is not worth the bolus at all, I mean it’s just cranberries, it is nothing special.

Julia (age 15)
I don’t like Thanksgiving food so all I have is mac n cheese

Laura (age 17)
Most bolus-worthy is a tie between my mom’s homemade macaroni and cheese or chocolate pecan pie. Not bolus-worthy would be mashed potatoes.

Lexi (age 16)
The mashed potatoes or any starchy things are definitely worth the bolus.

Maddy (age 15)
My most bolus-worthy food is either pies or cinnamon apples. Foods at the Thanksgiving table that aren’t worth the bolus are stuffing, mashed potatoes, and also rolls.

Maggie (age 16)
The most bolus worthy is probably mashed potatoes. The turkey really isn’t worth the bolus.

McKenna (age 16)
Dessert is always the most bolus-worthy Thanksgiving food or the stuffing! And the one dish that is not worth it would probably be yams, to me they taste funky.

Skylyn (age 16)
The most bolus worthy food at Thanksgiving for me would be the sparkling grape juice. I love it! It’s so good but has a lot of carbs, but it’s totally worth it. The least bolus worthy food would honestly probably be the turkey. I’m not a huge fan of it and it doesn’t have much for carbs.

Vanessa (age 16)
Stuffing would be the most bolus worthy. Which Thanksgiving food is not worth the bolus? None.  It’s all worth it!

TEEN TOPIC # 65: What’s the worst thing about diabetes? The best?

Each week we ask our panel of Type 1 teens from across the country to answer questions about their diabetes.  Here are their answers to this week’s question.

Annelies (age 15)

The worst thing about diabetes is having to sitting out of important events in your life sometimes, due to blood sugars or feeling sick. Another bad thing is people constantly asking you about stuff or saying things about it.

The best thing is the community and meeting people you probably would’ve never known before.


Andrew (age 15)
The worst thing and the best thing about diabetes is the responsibility that comes with being a diabetic. The responsibility that comes with diabetes, taking your life into your own care every day, is a constant burden and is the worst, most stressful part of being a diabetic. But the responsibilities that come with having diabetes have also taught me many life lessons about maturity and safety which non-diabetics don’t have and that I have a high value towards.

Ashley B. (age 16)
The worst thing about diabetes is that it affects young children as well as older people. It’s hard to see five-year-olds who shy away from needles, or a 12-year-old who’s been recently diagnosed have to adjust to the new normal of having diabetes.

 

The best thing about having diabetes is probably knowing that you’re not alone. I’ve met so many people at the diabetes camp I go to, and I have bonded more with these people in three weeks out of a year than I have with people I see every day. I only have two years left at my summer camp, but I know that the friends I’ve made there will be with me far into my life.

 

Ashley C. (age 14)

The only thing not bad about diabetes is getting out of class and eating in class, oh and also meeting lifelong friends.


Cameron (age 17)
The worst thing about diabetes is the days when your blood sugar is all over the place. Especially because there’s nothing you can do to control it some days.
The best thing about diabetes is receiving certain accommodations at school such as taking the SAT in my guidance counselors office (she has a very comfy chair).

 

Claire (age 18)
The worst thing about diabetes, and I’m being completely honest, is the ignorance that follows it. The never ending joke around Halloween with all the kids saying, “I’m about to get diabetes!” Or the teens and young adults jokingly referring to a plate full of food as “diabetes on a plate”. That’s by far the worst part, because having to explain to nearly everyone I meet that those blanket statements about an auto immune disease can hurt people, gets truly tiring.

However, what slightly makes up for that is the amazing person I have become with diabetes in my life. I would never be the person I am if it hadn’t been for this challenge plaguing my whole life. And so I will forever be grateful for my lack of insulin in my pancreas.

Erin (age 17)
Worst thing? Factoring in how life affects your sugars and getting sick more often or developing a new disease.

Best? the support from family and friends and bringing awareness towards a cure for diabetes.🙂

Ian (age 15)
The worst thing is knowing that I have to wait for insulin to kick in or for my B.S. to be in range before I eat. Also, the fact that I can no longer just graze whenever I feel like it, and that a cruise or the E.P.C.O.T. International Food and Wine festival will never be the same.

Some of the perks that I have found are that I am eating better/ paying more attention to what I eat, I have learned how to hide things, and I have a viable and legitimate reason to give if my peers ever try to get me to drink whilst at a party.

Jessica (age 20)
The worst thing about diabetes is the constant feeling of tiredness, whether physical or mental. I am either tired from lack of sleep, blood sugars being off, constantly being on the move and not having time to take care of myself properly; or, I am tired of having to deal with this lifestyle. Always checking, bolusing, never feeling 100%, doctor appointments every time I’m home from college, and the list goes on. After 17 years it gets tiring, exhausting if you will.
Nonetheless, T1D has its perks. The best thing about diabetes is the community. Everyone who has a connection to T1D is determined to find a cure, support individuals with the disease and their families, offer advice, and develop technology and make other resources to make life easier. I don’t think any other disease has a community as supportive and dedicated as we do!

Jordan (age 18)
The best thing about diabetes is being able to use it as an excuse for stuff when it’s not really applicable.

The worst thing is when you go low or high at a poor time.

Julia (age 15)

I think the worst part of having diabetes is how I feel during a low or a long period of highs. It’s a difficult feeling to explain but it’s hard on my body.

 

The best thing I think is that if I can live life with an incurable disease then I should be able to accomplish anything. The best part is having sort of a feeling of accomplishment when my blood sugar is perfect or something like that.

 

Laura (age 17)
The worst thing about it, is well, that it’s a deadly disease and I’m basically fighting for my life every day.

The best thing about diabetes is that I’ve learned so much about myself and my body, and am able to take care of myself better than I probably would without it.

Lexi (age 16)

The worst is when I forget to bolus, especially at school, and I run high and need to use the bathroom a lot and being really thirsty.

 

The good part about my diabetes is when people ask about it they learn about it every day. And in class I can eat food without the teacher getting after me!


Maggie (age 16)
The worst thing about diabetes is that you never get a break. You can’t just say, “Oh, I’m not diabetic anymore.”

Although the disease in general isn’t fun, it does have perks. The best part is meeting new people going to camps and conferences and just the support you receive from some many different people.

Nick (age 19)
The worst is high blood sugar. I absolutely hate the nasty way my body feels when my blood sugar rises.

The best is probably the excuse to always carry snacks.

Skylyn (age 16)
I would say that the worst thing about diabetes is probably wearing the sensor. I wear it so often and sometimes it doesn’t even work. To me, it’s more of an annoyance than anything.

The best thing about diabetes would be all the people I have met because of diabetes. I would have never met them if I wasn’t for diabetes.

Vanessa (age 16)
The worst thing about diabetes is, I guess, the whole disease itself. Whether or not you know how the next day is going to go. The most frustrating part is when you know you’re doing everything you’re supposed to do and trying to take care of it and it still ends up going wrong. I honestly don’t think there’s a best part of diabetes, but it definitely has its perks at times.

Haley (age 14)
The worst thing to me is knowing this disease is never going to go away.

The best thing is the pack of skittles I got today when I was low!

Maddy (age 14)
The worst thing about diabetes is having to go the extra step to feel “normal”. As teenagers with diabetes, we are constantly trying to fit in with others and feel included, and our diabetes can sometimes get in the way of that.

The best part of having diabetes, though, is meeting others with diabetes. Friends that understand diabetes can understand how you are feeling and can give tips and advice when there is an issue. Meeting others with diabetes can create friends for life and can create relationships where you can be “normal” because you are all dealing with the same thing.

 

McKenna (age 16)
The worst thing about diabetes is the friendships I’ve lost in the past due to low blood sugars.

The best would be being able to deal with it and control it during sports.

Christina (age 15)
The worst thing about diabetes is having a low completely stop you from whatever you’re doing. For example, as a cross country and track runner, I can sometimes not go on a run because my blood sugar is too low. This can upset me because I feel frustrated that I’m limited in that moment, and I’m feeling crappy.

The best thing about having diabetes is the relationships it allows you to form with others. Diabetes is a unique disease to live with, and having others who know what you are going through makes it so much sweeter.

TEEN TOPIC # 63:  Do you feel diabetes has affected your relationships with your parents or with friends?

Each week we ask our panel of Type 1 teens from across the country to answer questions about their diabetes.  Here are their answers to this week’s question.

Maggie (age 16)
I feel like diabetes has allowed my relationship with my friends and parents to become more involved. I think he have a better connection and that they take really good care of me.
Nick (age 19)
My family and friends definitely look out for me more than what I would consider normal. One of my friends on campus has a snack drawer reserved just for me.

Skylyn (age 16)
Yes, I do feel that in a way it has affected my relationship with parents. With my parents, I feel like sometimes that’s all we talk about. With my friends, I feel like it hasn’t really affected our relationship. Like my friends don’t treat me different for having diabetes.

Vanessa (age 16)
Not really, other than I feel like my parents are more worried about what I’m doing and if I’m okay more than they would if they knew I didn’t have a disease that basically controls my every next move. And the friends I make just learn about it and after they learn everything, we don’t really talk about it as much.

Annelies (age 15)
I think that diabetes has affected my relationship with my parents, but I think that it has affected it positively.  It shows them that I can be responsible and they can trust me to take care of myself and be independent.

Andrew (age 15)
I believe that my diabetes has affected my relationships with my parents and friends because they give me more respect as a result of having to care for my diabetes day in and day out.

Jessica (age 20)
I think that diabetes has an effect on every relationship I have, however, this by no means means it’s a negative one. In terms of my parents, they have become an integral part of my T1D management, which has helped us remain close, even when I am far away at college. I can’t say I think we would not be as close if I did not have diabetes, but it has certainly made the connection stronger. They understand how I act as a result of “bad diabetes days/moments” and help me through these various situations, as well as non-diabetic ones. It is nice to be able to count on them to vent and gather opinions because we are so close. When it comes to friends, I have made some that I never would have if not for having T1D. On the other hand, I have an extremely close-knit group of friends that I can depend on as a result of having diabetes. When I meet people I always explain my condition. This has helped me narrow down those who truly care and are here to help me whenever and how ever necessary, versus those that are friends I can call to hangout or do homework with but don’t necessarily understand my daily situation.

Ashley B. (age 16)
Diabetes has affected my relationships with my parents in the way that they watch out for me and offer advice on diabetes whenever I’m burnt out. My parents and my friends are my biggest supporters when it comes to dealing with diabetes. I also have a lot of diabetic friends, and I usually end up messaging them to check up on them or when I just need to rant about diabetes.

Ashley C. (age 14)
Not really. The only thing that I think has changed is they’re more worried about me now and my friends act like my mom when it comes to diabetes.

Cameron (age 17)
Not really. If anything it’s improved some relationships because they think “it’s cool when I prick my finger” in front of them. I’ve never had someone stop talking to me because I’m a diabetic.

Claire (age 18)
Yes, diabetes has affected my relationship with both my parents and my friends. My parents see with my diabetes, that I am independent, and now that I’m 18 and in college, they’ve loosened up a lot more and it’s just me caring for myself. My friends on the other hand, remind me and are quite helpful to me, in order to help me keep my care to myself to the best it can be.

Erin (age 17)
My relationship with parents has always been up and down but in many ways it has gotten stronger. Regarding friends, some are understanding and some are considerate but don’t fully understand. I’ve lost friends but gained many since being diagnosed that are second family to me. 

Ian (age 15)
Yes. Diabetes has caused my friends to hold back certain things for fear that they might be “dangerous” for a T1D. (To which I reply “No, I can eat/do that”) I also sense that the parents of my friends and even my teachers are on a heightened alert when I am with them, or when there is a beep or noise coming from my pump/ CGM. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying this in distaste, for I know that they are worried for my health and that means a great deal to me, but it would be nice to not even have to worry about such things. The only thing that I hate is when people treat me as disabled. Or even call me a diabetic, for I am not one, I just have diabetes.

Jordan (age 18)
I don’t feel like diabetes changed anything, people in your life learn to accept it as who you are.

Julia (age 15)
I don’t think it’s affected my relationships with my friends or family in a negative way. They’ve had to take on more responsibilities like knowing what to do if I have a seizure or something like, that but I don’t think my relationships have changed at all.

Laura (age 17)
I feel like my mom and I have grown closer due to me having diabetes. Other than that, I don’t feel like it has affected any of my relationships with friends or family.

Lexi (age 16)
No not at all. Especially with my family. I can still eat what I want. My diabetes doesn’t keep me from doing a lot of the things I love to do.

Haley (age 14)
I don’t think diabetes has affected my relationships. But, since I was a baby at diagnosis I can’t compare my relationships before and after.

Maddy (age 14)
I feel that diabetes has affected my relationships with my parents and friends because my friends are sometimes scared of my diabetes so I am not always included in activities with friends. My parents have dealt with me and my diabetes entirely, but my relationship has gotten stronger with my parents because of it.

Christina (age 15)
I think diabetes hasn’t really affected my relationship with my parents all that much. They still treat me the same as they did before I was diagnosed. However, with my friends, after I was diagnosed, I became very private with what I told them about my diabetes. I tend to feel uncomfortable telling them about diabetes because I think they might be bored by it or find it uncomfortable. Currently, I have been able to mention my diabetes and care for it more freely with my friends, especially with my track team because I trust them.

TEEN TOPICS – WEEK #66 – What does it feel like to you to have a low? What are your symptoms? A high?

Each week we ask our panel of Type 1 teens from across the country to answer questions about their diabetes. Here are their answers to this week’s question.

 

Annelies (age 15)
When my blood sugar is low, I can’t concentrate and I feel light headed. I get really shaky and my whole body just feels taken over. I also feel kind of sad or upset.
When my blood sugar is high, my stomach hurts and I get a headache, and I tend to be a little moody.

Andrew (age 15)
When I feel low I get extremely hot and sweaty, I am very hungry, I feel weak in the legs, and overall I just feel tired.
When I’m high I get angry, I lose my attention span, and feel sick to the stomach.

Ashley C. (age 14)
A typical low for me is sleepy, sweating, and hungry.
High is being angry, drinking and not being able to focus.

Cameron (age 17)
When I’m low, I feel shaky and just out of it. Also my vision is blurred.
When I’m high, I feel sluggish as if I don’t want to do anything.

Caroline (age 15)
For me, I don’t feel lows until I am in the 40s & 50s. So unless I am really low I don’t feel the lows. I will be disoriented, but I won’t get shaky, dizzy, or feel like I am going to throw up until I am in the 40s & 50s. I also get extremely thirsty & don’t want to eat as well as I feel like I am floating.
For a high, I am mostly cranky & typically more sassy accompanied by an attitude. My mom says she can definitely tell before I can when I am high. I’m typically not thirsty but I still go to the bathroom a good bit.

Christina (age 15)
When I go low I usually feel shaky, sometimes very shaky if I my blood sugar is dropping fast. Another symptom I get if I go low is that my chest will feel almost fluttery and I will feel almost anxious, it is hard to really describe.
When I have a high blood sugar I feel very tired, extremely thirsty, my head feels foggy, and it can become hard to think.

Claire (age 18)
When I go low I feel shaky, while also feeling cold and hot at the same time. Basically take your worst flu symptoms and combine them with a low blood sugar.
A high usually makes me feel super grumpy and emotional, like I’m mad at the world. I usually am super thirsty when I’m high, and extra tired.

Erin (age 17)
With a low I feel shaky and spaced out and feel cold.
With a high I get really thirsty, tired and sometimes dizzy.

Haley (age 14)
When I’m low I basically feel like jello. I feel lightheaded, see spots, sometimes I feel disoriented and I’m really shaky.
Highs make me feel irritable, nauseous, and I get headaches.

Ian (age 15)
When I am low I get really sweaty and shaky, and I apparently enter a drunken-like state. Speech slurs, and I have trouble seeing.
As for a high, mainly dry mouth and increased need to urinate.

Jordan (age 18)
I can feel a low much more significantly than I can feel a high. When I am low I am shaky and sweaty, along with being extremely weak. I kind of feel like the room is spinning when I get severely low and I can’t really walk if I am very low.
When I am high I feel sticky and slow, and it is almost as if there is a fog over me.

Julia (age 15)
When I’m low I usually just get really shaky and dizzy and hot.
I don’t usually notice when I’m high I just get really grumpy.

Laura (age 17)
When I have a low I often feel like I’m on fire. That’s a weird way of explaining, but my whole body feels like I’m burning along with a terrible, shaky/unstable feeling. (I hate lows more than anything.)
When my blood sugar is high I feel really tired and emotional. I also get extremely thirsty.

Lexi (age 16)
When I have a low it’s like I get hot and shaky. I start getting paranoid and have anxiety attacks. Then I eat everything in the kitchen. Then when my sugar is back up it’s like all the energy has been taken out of me and I sleep.

Maddy (age 14)
When I am low, I can feel my blood sugar dropping. I am also very confused (cannot pay attention) and I have blurry vision. If I am really low (like 40 and under) I start sweating profusely and have trouble responding to questions.
When I am high, I am also confused, very thirsty, I have to go to the bathroom a lot (from the water), and I am having trouble with my vision.

Maggie (age 16)
When I am low I get extremely weak and shaky I also start to sweat and get really hungry. When I’m high I’m always thirsty and I feel like I’m in another reality like I’m spaced out. Also I have to use the restroom constantly.

McKenna (age 16)
When I have a low blood sugar I experience a number of symptoms such as having a hard time breathing, shakiness, dizziness, I feel weak and so very tired and I cannot focus on anything. Most of my friends or family say I go really pale as well.
When I have a high blood sugar I drink lots of water and my body feels like it weighs a million pounds so I don’t want to move or do anything of the sort. My mouth also becomes super dry.

Skylyn (age 16)
For a low, it really depends on how low I am. The lower I am the more symptoms I get and they become worse. The most common symptom I get is stomach ache but it’s like a special kind of stomach ache, like it feels a little different than if I was sick. Other common symptoms are a headache, dizziness, blurry vision, and getting very warm and sometimes sweaty when I shouldn’t be.
For a high, some symptoms are getting really thirsty for water, blurry vision, sometimes getting a headache or feel nauseated.

Vanessa (age 16)
When I am low I feel really weak. I feel weak, tired, sweaty, and hungry.
When I am high I feel really thirsty, angry, headaches, nauseous.

TEEN TOPICS – WEEK 67 – What is the one diabetes item you are most thankful for?

Each week we ask our panel of Type 1 teens from across the country to answer questions about their diabetes. Here are their answers to this week’s question.

 

Annelies (age 15)
I am most thankful for my pump because it does everything for me. I can go throughout my day and I know that my pump is already figuring out my basal and figures out how many units of insulin I need, and it makes me feel like I don’t have to think of it as much.

Andrew (age 15)
I’m most thankful for my meter and my glucose tabs because they always come in clutch whenever I’m low or have conflicting feelings about my blood sugar and need to check.

Ashley C. (age 16)
My pump is what I’m most thankful for because It gives me my insulin without having to take a shot. Also if I need to stop insulin for a while I can just unhook.

Cameron (age 18)
I am most thankful for my insulin pump, because I can eat more food and easily bolus for it. It also helps with control with temp basals and extended boluses.

Caroline (age 15)
My CGM, for sure. I would give my pump up before I gave my CGM up. I love that my CGM can alert me that I am low so that I am not hitting the 40s & 50s. I also love that I can attempt to treat highs before they get out of control.

Christina (age 15)
One diabetes item I am most thankful for is my insulin pump. This is because my pump has made managing my diabetes so much easier in my busy day to day life. I am grateful that because of it I no longer have to give myself multiple shots a day, can eat a bit more flexibly, and have a tighter blood sugar control with the pump’s temporary basal and extended bolus features.

Claire (age 18)
I’m most thankful for the insulin I take, as I love food and would be strictly forced to eat proteins without it, which would more than likely cause me to lose my sanity, as I love bread and pasta.

Erin (age 17)
I am most thankful for having access to insulin because not everyone has access to it.

Haley (age 14)
I’m most thankful for Insulin.

Ian (age 15)
The pump. It helps me conceal my T1D without sacrificing care.

Jordan (age 18)
The item I am most thankful for is my tester. Without a pump I could just give myself shots to stay alive. Without my tester I would be dead, so it is an easy choice.

Julia (age 15)
I’m most thankful for my pump because I don’t have to use an injection whenever I eat.

Laura (age 17)
I’m definitely most thankful my my Dexcom. (CGM) I always feel afraid to go to sleep at night because of lows but it helps me feel more secure.

Lexi (age 16)
The candy bags I have when I have a low I eat a bunch of them.

Maddy (age 15)
One diabetes thing that I am the most thankful for is my pump. Being switched from shots to a pump is one of the best things ever! My pump is so much easier than shots because it can calculate my doses and links with my meter so I just press buttons to give insulin.

Maggie (age 16)
One diabetes item I am most thankful for is my pump. It makes delivering insulin so much easier and you don’t have to worry about constant shots.

McKenna (age 16)
One diabetic item I am most thankful for is the CGM (continuous glucose monitor) because 1) it keeps me on track for my numbers and 2) I don’t have to prick my finger as often.

Skylyn (age 16)
One diabetes Item I am thankful for is my pump. For me, I can’t imagine life without it. I have been on the pump for like 8 years and I just love how the pump makes it so easy and quick to give myself insulin. I understand some people prefer giving insulin injections and it works for them but not me. I much prefer using the pump.

Vanessa (age 16)
Insulin

TEEN TOPIC #64:  Some parents report feelings of sadness when they look at the “before diabetes” pictures. Do you feel the same way or do you see things differently?

Each week we ask our panel of Type 1 teens from across the country to answer questions about their diabetes.  Here are their answers to this week’s question.

Annelies (age 15)
I was diagnosed at age 6, so I don’t remember that much from before I was diagnosed. I just think of diabetes as a part of me, and although it gets frustrating to deal with at times, I don’t really feel sad about it because I don’t really remember my life before diabetes.

Andrew (age 15)
I look at images and photos of myself “before diabetes” with a look of wonder because I can’t think of a time that I haven’t had diabetes and I am also in wonder when I realize all the great lessons diabetes has taught me. Without diabetes I’d be living a completely different life and those photos of me without diabetes remind me of that different life.

Ashley B. (age 16)
When I look back at my pre-diagnosis photos, it honestly is a bit unsettling. When other people see the photos, they always mention how unhealthy I looked and are pretty shocked that me and my family didn’t catch my rapid weight loss. It’s also bittersweet because I’m glad that I now know how to manage my diabetes so I won’t end up back in the hospital.

Ashley C. (age 14)
Not really. I’m still the same girl I was then, except now I have something attached to me at all times. Sometimes I look at pictures and wonder, “Why am I diabetic?” but, I get over it because I can’t do anything about it.

Cameron (age 17)
I don’t really have a feeling towards the before diabetes pictures. I mean, I guess it’s kind of weird how when you look at a picture from beforehand, you realize how you would’ve never guessed you’d be diagnosed with diabetes shortly thereafter.

Claire (age 18)
I view my diagnosis as a great thing. While it was sad at the time, and quite a bit after it, looking back on it now I see that I wouldn’t have turned out to be the person I am today without diabetes. And so I will be forever grateful to my pancreas for leaving me high and dry without insulin. There’s no need to feel sad about what once was, because there’s so much to look forward to for the future.

Erin (age 17)
I’m not sure on my parents, but for me, sometimes yes depending what the picture was from what I consider it my pre- diabetes life.

Ian (age 15)
Yes, for I know that I might never be able to go back to not worrying about carbohydrate counts, or BS or having to carry around a bag filled with any and every necessity whenever I leave the house.

Jessica (age 20)
I personally don’t view looking in the past as pre-diabetic years as sad. For one, I don’t really remember life prior to diabetes. Secondly, I don’t believe this to be a good philosophy and way to live. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Therefore, there is a reason I was diagnosed. There is a reason I face these daily struggles. And I am strong enough to overcome each and every one of them. Looking in the past and feeling sad or bad about what your child/life was like pre-diabetes doesn’t change the present and future. What it does do is put you in a place to struggle more with acceptance and cause yourself (or your child) to not look at the positives. Look at the great community you are now a part of. That strong support system you have. The medical professionals striving to make you or your kid as healthy and happy as possible. I am not sad when looking at the past because diabetes wasn’t a part of my life, but I look at the past as a part of who I am and how it has shaped me into who I am today. I reflect on the happy times, regardless if I had T1D or not.

Jordan (age 18)
No, because most of what I remember has been with diabetes.

Julia (age 15)
My “before diabetes” pictures and my “after” pictures aren’t all that different. I’m still the same person I was before I got diabetes so it doesn’t make me sad to look at pictures or to think about what it was like before diabetes, because I can’t change the fact that I have diabetes so neither my parents or I should dwell on what life was like before.

Laura (age 17)
Not really. I’m just as happy with diabetes. That was me then and I’m still me now, same goofy smile just a different chapter in life.

Lexi (age 16)
Before I even had symptoms I had a great metabolism and I had so much energy. During the symptoms and in the hospital was probably the worst part about my diabetes. But after, now that I’m healthy, it’s great. I don’t feel sad or anything looking at old pictures. I don’t even think about it.

Maggie (age 16)
I don’t see before diabetes pictures as sad because I don’t have very many of them. I’ve been diabetic for 10 years so the it’s just kind of a part of me now.

Nick (age 19)
It’s been so long since I was diagnosed, I don’t really remember the “before.” I’m not sad about what could have been or anything like that; I’m myself, and diabetes doesn’t really affect that.

Skylyn (age 16)
I don’t feel sad when I look at pictures of before I was diagnosed. Being that I was diagnosed in 2nd grade which was almost 9 years ago, I don’t really remember a time not having diabetes. I guess I just kinda joke like that’s when life was easier.

Vanessa (age 16)
I don’t. And I guess that’s because I don’t really remember what it was like living without diabetes so my personally I think my childhood was the same as any other child I just had to check my blood and do a shot and other than that I was a happy kid.

Haley (age 14)
I was only 16 months old when I was diagnosed. I don’t remember life before diabetes. So, when I see baby pictures of myself, I don’t even think about it being before diagnosis.

Maddy (age 14)
I personally haven’t looked at pictures of me before my diagnosis because I don’t really remember my life before I was diagnosed. Looking at pictures of me as a little kid give positive memories but I don’t have any sadness with looking.

Christina (age 15)
I think feeling sad at looking at “before” pictures is completely normal. I sometimes am upset by the small things of my life before diabetes, like eating without bolusing and no pricks, however for the most part I am not upset by my “before” life. I think this has to do with the fact that I went for 6 months undiagnosed with my diabetes, feeling very sick. So, now I am grateful to feel healthy and happy, even if that means my life was drastically changed.

TEEN TOPICS – WEEK 62: Do you think kids should be able to decide if they use shots or pumps or is that up to the parents?

Each week we ask our panel of Type 1 teens from across the country to answer questions about their diabetes.  Here are their answers to this week’s question.

Annelies (age 15)
I think that ultimately it should be what the child is more comfortable with. I think that kids should give pumps a chance if they have the opportunity, but they shouldn’t feel pressured to start it or stay with it.

Andrew (age 15)
The decision as to whether or not a diabetic should use shots or pumps is a conversation that occurs between both the parents and the diabetic, but the final decision should be up to the child because the child is the one being affected by the decision.

Ashley C. (age 14)
I think it depends on the age if the kid because they have to be old enough to understand how it works and everything, but I think they should have a big say so in if they want the pump or shots.

Cameron (age 17)
I think the kids should be the ones that determine his decisions because they’re the ones that are going to have to either wear the pump or give themselves the shots. 

Claire (age 18)
I do believe that it should be the kid’s choice what they use. It’s the kid’s body not the parents, therefore the kids get the ultimate say. Now I counter that with if the kid wants the pump but the parents can’t afford it, the obviously the answer is not to get the pump. However, if both options are open, and the parents favor the one the child despises, then the child’s say is the one that matters most as it is their body. 

Ian (age 15)
I believe that it is up to the child, unless they: (A) are too young to do boluses themselves/ monitor their numbers. (B) Have a physical or mental disability that could be adversely affected by one or the other. Or (C) Are for the option that would cause a great deal of worry or trouble to their parent(s)/ guardian(s).

Jordan (age 18)
I feel like it’s up to the kids because it’s their body so they should decide what to do with it.

Julia (age 15)
I think that kids should be able to pick whether or not they’re on pumps or injections because they have to live with whatever they choose for several years so they should feel as comfortable as possible. 

Lexi (age 16)
Unless the kid is too young to understand, it should be up to them. In my opinion shots are so complicated especially for the parent. But the kid should be allowed to choose.

Maggie (age 16)
Kids should have a say in if the use shots or a pump. It is the kid’s body not the parents. The kid should be able to choose.
Nick (age 19)
As long as the kid has been responsible with their insulin in the past, they should be able to manage their diabetes in whatever way they feel comfortable.

Skylyn (age 16)
I think depends on how old the kid is and how much the kid will be doing when it comes to their management. If they are older, then I feel like they should have more of a say when deciding with their parents. I also feel like it kinda depends on the lifestyle of the child. If they play sports, then it may be better to have the pump. 

Vanessa (age 16)
Depending on the kid’s age, I think the kid should choose what they feel comfortable with and what they want to do as an everyday routine. But of course if they’re a lot younger then whatever their parents feel that works for the kid and their routines then they should choose. 

Haley (age 14)
I would definitely listen to my parents’ opinion and consider what they think is best for me, but ultimately I think it should be up to me. Although, I feel like there could be some situations where the parents might need to make the decision.

Maddy (age 14)
I feel that kids should be able to decide if they use shots or a pump. The parents definitely get an input, but I feel that the kid needs to use whatever they feel more comfortable and confident with so they can manage their diabetes better.

Christina (age 15)
I think that this decision ultimately depends on how old the child is. If a child is younger than 12, I really think that the parents should be the ones to make the ultimate decision, of course with some input from the child. However, teens should be the one to decide what method is better for their life because they are gaining independence and responsibility. An insulin pump gives you tighter control, but if the lifestyle of set changes and always being connected doesn’t work for you, then pens are a better choice.