Teen Topic #12: How do you handle teachers or coaches who give you grief about Diabetes related things you might need to do in the classroom or at practice?

Joseph (age 15)
I’ve never personally had a problem with teachers because at my school any teachers who have a diabetic student are required to know about their condition. I had to explain it to a student teacher in my gym class once because I felt like I was low, but he understood and got the main teacher so he could take care of it. If anyone did give me grief I’d just quickly educate them about my condition and if they still didn’t understand I’d go to someone else.

Philip (age 16)
I’ve never gotten grief for it.
Mercedes (age 16)
I go with it and address it when it is appropriate and not freak out. Sometimes if you’re having a problem, your friends, classmates, or game mates will help you in your situation.

Ashley C. (age 14)
Well… My track coach would always be paranoid that I would like die in his watch so yeah,  it was pretty annoying. But my teacher, when my blood sugar  was 46, she told me to sit back down we only have 10 minutes of a video left –  I can wait. I then told her if I don’t go now I could die, she then let me go. Over half my teachers have NO idea I’m a diabetic, even after we’ve had a 504 meeting to explain all of this and talk about what needs to happen in which situation. So… It really depends on the teacher and situation.

Jessica (age 19)
When I have grief within the school setting the first thing I do is call or talk to my parents. Usually I try to talk to the teacher or coach, or have the nurse reach out to them, and re-inform them of my needs. If that doesn’t work we go to their superior. It is crucial that parents and T1Ds are advocates for themselves. Yes, using the “D” card can seem inappropriate or an advantage, but there are certain things that we need in order to be our best. Because of this, it is important that everyone be accepting and on board so that we can reach our full potentials.

Laura (age 16)
Honestly I feel like these people don’t even really know that much about diabetes. I understand that they’re trying to look out for me or whatever, but I can handle myself. It gets annoying, especially if they’re extremely uneducated and don’t know what they’re talking about.

Cameron (age 16)
I have never really faced that type of thing yet, thankfully. But if a teacher or coach did that, I would ask to go to the nurse/office and then call my parents for them to come handle it.

Zyler (age 15)
My teachers and coach are very understanding with it. My coach is very helpful with me and wants the best of what I can do with it.

Ian (age 13)
I don’t get that kind of thing from teachers in that sense, but my health teacher is a little b**** because whenever diabetes comes up in the book it means type two but just says diabetes. (don’t even get me started  on the diabetes lesson – it is a piece of crap that needs to be burned)  So to answer questions in health class,  I write “Type two diabetes” in certain circumstances, and she mostly marks it wrong! She sometimes says type one just to spite me, and won’t let me correct her. She needs to be fired.

Luke (age 15)
I have never experienced a teacher or coach giving me any grief about my diabetes.  They have all been very understanding and supportive.  I entered high school this year and was nervous about the coaches some, but they have been great!!

Cole (age 15)
I just tell them what I have to do. If they give me grief I deal with it and just keep explaining the same thing over again. It gets annoying, but it doesn’t happen that often anymore. I guess it just sorta comes with the territory.

Jordan (age 17)
I’ve never had a teacher or a coach give me a hard time about anything related to diabetes.

Ashley B. (age 15)
I do what I need to do anyway. High blood sugar? Drink water in the class. Low blood sugar? Have some sugar pills. Its a necessity, it doesn’t mean that I’m purposely not listening to the teacher, but I do it because I have to. You should, however explain why you have to eat or drink in class, in order to not get in trouble. If all else fails, call your mom and have her yell at the teacher for being an idiot. That happened twice in fourth grade.

Claire (age 16)
Teachers and/or coaches who give diabetic students ANY grief or crap whatsoever is absolutely infuriating to me. It bewilders me why any adult would give any child grief for something they can’t control and are REQUIRED to do to LIVE. It’s like walking up to someone and saying “Hi, I’m sorry but your breathing is annoying, so can you stop that?” We’re required to do these things to continue living, and the fact that any teacher, or adult for that matter, would give them any crap just shows how little they care about that child/teen.

Josh (age 17)
Sadly I’ve never been able to handle coaches or teachers very well when they give me grief. I tend to get more emotional or angry about it than anything. This disease wasn’t a choice for me in how I wanted to live my life, it was something that was forced upon me without any consideration. This disease isn’t something I asked for or could have prevented. So when teachers or coaches give me grief about it, I find it quit unfair.

Allie (age 13)
I haven’t had to handle teachers and coaches giving me grief because of diabetes.  All my teachers treat me like any other kid and I don’t participate in any sports so I haven’t had to deal with coaches. If someone were to give me grief for having the disease I would most likely dismiss it and not say anything.

Page (age 17)
The main problem I have with teachers/coaches is absences due to my sugar being low or high and them becoming frustrated that I cannot make it to the entire period or I have to leave when I am missing an important practice or lecture. I can get pretty stressed out at times when I fall far behind but I talk with them to make sure I have extra time to learn what I need to. As long as I communicate with them they are understanding of what I have to go through and help me in any way they can to keep me relaxed.

Skylyn (age 15)
Teachers and coaches that I have had don’t really bother me about diabetes related things, at least not yet.

Teen Topic #11: What do you like/dislike about Endo appointments? What would you change if YOU led the appointment instead of the Endo or CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator)?

Joseph (age 15)
I really have no problem with any of my appointments. They are usually pretty quick and are convenient to my schedule.  And I’d rather not lead the appointment; I’ll leave it to the professionals!

Philip (age 16)
I don’t know if this is the case for everyone, but my A1C’s are always painful (the actual drawing of the blood) and definitely the worst part of my endo visits.

Mercedes (age 15)
What I dislike about the endo is when I go and my doc talks to me like I don’t know how to treat my diabetes. I know he/she might not mean to sound this way but it drives me crazy. If I led the appointment I would only change the things I felt uncomfortable about.

Ashley C. (age 15)
I HATE going to my Endo appointments because I always walk out of there feeling like I’m doing everything wrong with my life. That’s how they make me feel. Or they act like it’s the end of the world if you forget to test or take insulin, so I would be perfectly fine if I never saw them again.

Jessica (age 19)
During Endo appointments I like going over my trajectory. I’ll admit it’s never perfect and can be hard to take in, but I want to be healthy and the Endo is the one doctor who knows me best and how I can achieve a healthy lifestyle. I really dislike making changes. I know they are for the better and that diabetes is imperfect; however, I long for the day when I don’t have to make changes because everything is working just fine. I don’t think I would want to change or lead the appointment, as much as go deeper into understanding the trends and changes, especially my blood work. I, personally, enjoy going over the numbers and learning how to change to lower my cholesterol or raise my vitamin D. I feel as though it is important to understand every aspect of our health since diabetes causes many of the other health hurtles we face.

Laura (age 16)
I don’t really like doctors in general. I find them annoying and uncomfortable. My endo is nice, and I suppose that’s the one thing that I like about it. I know that the doctors and others are just trying to help me out and change things that will help me be better, but sometimes I feel like they aren’t really listening, just letting my words go in and out their ears. It’s my body, and no one knows what I feel better than myself. If I led the appointment, I think I would start with letting me see the numbers, so I can see what I’ve done, because my endo hardly ever lets me see the graphs and such. And then instead of them just changing my insulin intake and me agreeing to it, I would rather sort of talk it out.

Cameron (age 16)
The only thing I dislike about endo appointments it the wait. We’ll usually have to wait for a good 30 minutes to an hour. I do appreciate the fact that I have the opportunity to go and listen to what experts have to say that could help me with my management. If I could change one thing, it would be that after you are done with your appointment, you get a card for a free meal at the restaurant of your choice. When my family and I go down to UVA once a year for the annually physical, we always get Chick-Fil-a for lunch. So it would be pretty cool if we could do that for free.

Zyler (age 15)
The diabetes appointments are really boring just sitting there and stuff. If I led it I would try to make it more interesting.

Ian (age 13)
I would make it less pediatric. I want my appointment to be quick and professional, but when I go in I see toys and drawings of six legged dogs. I know that it is to benefit the kids who share the rooms, but maybe have separate rooms. It makes me feel like they see me as dumb, being in such a kidlike environment.

Luke (age 15)
I don’t like anything about the appointment.  I feel like they are trying to tell me how to live my life.  I feel like they talk down to me like they are judging me by my numbers.   I don’t mind the A1C test and them helping me make adjustments, but I don’t like it when they tell me I should do this, I shouldn’t do that.   If I was the endo, I would try my best not to pass judgments on my patients.

Cole (age 15)
I don’t like how every time we have to fill out the same information. Certain things don’t change every three months. I both like and dislike how each appointment is basically the same. It’s pretty quick now, but it’s a bit boring (not really a problem). If I led the appointment I don’t think I would change much except for maybe the paperwork beforehand.
Ashley B. (age 15)
I don’t really like when we get different endos, because they usually contradict each other. While the first endo says to not treat a low if I’m 80, the next one *will* say to treat at 80. It’s kind of confusing.

Claire (age 16)
I truly enjoy my Endo appointments, because I know that my doctor truly cares about me and my health. Not to mention he is incredibly humorous, and I know he’ll try to tell at least 3 jokes about my horse while I’m there. And I honestly wouldn’t lead it or handle it any other way, considering he’s the one who keeps me motivated to look after myself.

Josh (age 17)
I enjoy the Endo, because it’s a set period of time that is designated towards bettering my health and brainstorming ways to do better. If I led the Endo appointment, I wouldn’t focus on the general aspect of things, I would try to pin point the smaller things that most endos overlook to make my diabetes care that much better!

Allie (age 13)
The only thing I don’t like about endo appointments is the long wait, but even then I can bring something to keep me preoccupied. I already get to change my basal rates and such by myself but my endo doctor still tells me what to change. If I led my own appointment I wouldn’t change anything about it.

Page (age 17)
What I dislike at the endo most is when they scold me for the bad traits of my diabetes instead of mainly focusing on what I can do to improve my diabetes and/or what I am doing correctly. It’s always just like change this and change that and have you been doing this? I would ask my patient what they have been doing wrong and instead of coming down on them in a negative manner, just suggest they take care of it better and move on. I’m more of a “let me fix it myself” type of person before I get a long lecture on what to do.

Skylyn (age 15)
Honestly,  I don’t like endo appointments, probably because I don’t have a good endo that I go to every time. I need an endo with a good personality and little funny otherwise the visit can get long and kinda boring. So I guess that’s what I would change.

Jordan (age 17)
My endo appointments are really easy.  The only bad thing is that my doctor is always running behind schedule, but I like it because it allows me to miss more school.

Teen Topic #10: Would you ever play the “D” card to get out of doing something you didn’t want to do?

Joseph (age 15)
No, I can’t see myself doing that. It just doesn’t seem appropriate considering that T1 is a disease that should be taken very seriously.

Philip (age 16)
I had forgotten to study for a quiz, so I told the teacher I was still getting the hang of my diabetes and I just didn’t have time to study with everything I had to do.

Mercedes (age 15)
I have played the “D” card before but I don’t really anymore. The D card is good to have though when someone offers you alcohol or drugs – you can say that you can’t because it can kill you since you have diabetes.

Page (age 17)
The “D” card has come in handy plenty of times, but the most predominant time that I have used it (this probably applies to the older diabetic teens) is when it comes to rare situations like drinking alcohol, where I can say I cannot drink because my sugar will go to high. It gives me the out to leave that situation without having the peer pressure.

Skylyn (age 15)
If I didn’t want to do something, I don’t think I would blame it on being a diabetic. I always like trying different things so it would have to be something so scary or bad or disgusting for me not to try it, much less blame it on being a diabetic.

Ashley C. (age 14)
I hate to admit it but I have played this card more then I should have, but now I suck it up and do it, and when I really can’t do something because of diabetes,  I’m upset.

Jessica (age 19)
I think in the 14+ years I have had diabetes, I’ve used the “D” card a few select times. I think the most common that all diabetics use is gym class; however, once I got involved in sports I loved gym class. The other times I think it was a last resort and I spoke to my parents about it. For example, last year the person I was going to room with at college bailed on me 2 days before picking my room and so I was left with nothing.  My advisers and parents agreed I should take a medical single. I feel it is inevitable that the “D” card is used, but I don’t believe this is a bad thing. Diabetes is a part of who we are and in some cases, it is helpful and in all cases, it impacts every part of us.

Laura (age 16)
I can’t say that I have not played this card before, multiple times. I definitely don’t think that it’s something that should be pulled often, and it’s probably not a good thing to do. I guess I just get kind of selfish and grumpy. My mind set is, “I have to deal with this every day of my life, so I might as well get some kind of perks out of it.” I know that it’s probably wrong, but I also believe that my point has some validity behind it. Sometimes my friends get angry with me for doing things like that, like getting out of doing gym or sometimes staying home from school when they still have to do these things, but they don’t have to deal with a life threatening disease their whole life. I may be able to take a break from some small things, but I’ll never be able to take a break from diabetes.

Cameron (age 16)
Oh yes, of course. I don’t do it often, but I use it sparingly. For example, I play tennis. And if the coach tells us to run for the last 30 minutes of practice, I’ll run for a little bit and then say, “Coach my sugar is low.” I guess you could say it’s pretty handy to have.

Zyler (age 15)
Yes I use it mostly to get out of class ( mostly freshman year).

Ian (age 13)
I would never use that card unless it were life or death. Kids at school think I use it all the time when I have to leave because I’m low, or If I have to sit out of running at P.E. due to ketones. I hate when I say  why I’m sitting out, and they say “really” or “sure it is” etc.

Luke (age 15)
Heck Yea!  If I am stuck with this disease I might as well use it to my advantage.  Although, I don’t do it very often.

Cole (age 15)
I don’t think so. I don’t like using my diabetes as an excuse. It’s just an extra character point, but I don’t want it to ever define who I am

Ashley B. (age 15)
I’ve absolutely played the D card, I don’t use it anymore since I’m in high school, but I would say that my blood sugar was low so I could avoid doing laps, because seriously, that coach would make us run from the start of class to the end of class, no joke.

Claire (age 16)
I play the “D” card to get out of doing stuff all the time! It’s a disadvantage for me and my life, so why not use it to get me out of stuff I don’t feel like doing every now and then.

Josh (age 17)
Yes I would, and I actually have! Lol the way I look at it, if we’re stuck living our lives with this disease, why not use it to our advantage every now and then?

Allie (age 13)
I don’t think I would ever play the diabetes card to get out of anything I don’t want to do. I’ve never really thought about it before and it doesn’t really seem like something I’d get away with doing.

Jordan (age 17)
Of course!  I used it at basketball practice when I was really out of shape after vacation and was dying during practice.  I’ve never used it for schoolwork or anything, just a hard practice.

Teen Topic #9:   Have you ever been to Diabetes camp?   If you could name one good thing you came away with from camp, what would it be?

Philip (age 16)
Being around other diabetics encouraged me because I knew I wasn’t alone.

Mercedes (age 15)
I have been to diabetes camps before. I have been to 2 different ones. The one that I go to here where I live left me with amazing friends that live in my area. I also learned about the pump that I currently have.  I love my pump and am glad they were there. I have also been to the Orlando camp which is a great camp because you get to meet so many people from around the world with diabetes, and meet famous people as well. They are both great.

Ashley C (age 14)

Yes, I’ve been to CAMP KUDZU!!!! I went to camp within the year of getting diagnosed, which was a BIG help. I came home that week and gave my first injection by myself and was already talking about getting the pump.

Page (age 17)
Yes, I have been to camp and it is by far one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. The best outcome for me would be getting to know other diabetic kids and becoming friends outside of camp to rely on each other for help, and to have support from kids my own age.

Jessica (age 19)
Yes I have. I attended Clara Barton Camp, which is for girls with T1D, for 8 years. It is in MA and I always attended the 14 day session. I think one good thing I came away from camp with was a community. Although I don’t keep in touch with many of the girls from camp, it opened my eyes to how many people were dealing with exactly the same situation I was. Every year I went back and I lived with many of the same girls. We were able to catch up, talk about different aspects of diabetes, and of course, guys. It was also amazing to see not only the same campers, but all the staff who had T1D, as well as show the new campers that they aren’t alone. I think knowing that others are in similar situations, or have been in the past, is an important part of successfully dealing and managing this disease.

Laura (age 16)
There’s not much I can say about this because I’ve never been to a Diabetes camp. If I had the opportunity though, I feel like the thing I would bring home with me is feeling less alone. Being a type one diabetic, even though I know for a fact there’s many other people who are also type one diabetics, I still often feel alone in the world.

Zyler (age 15)
I have been to camp 3 times. The best thing I got from camp would be the friends that I made.

Ian (age 13)
Yes, I have been to diabetes camp, and I hated it. It was horrible. The food wasn’t good, nor was the cabin experience. I couldn’t bring anything good from camp, but Friends For Life (the CWD Conference held annually in July) and things like that I enjoy. I prefer to have a private room to escape to and not have to do stuff if I really don’t want to.

Luke (age 15)
The best thing about going to camp is meeting people that share the “day to day” struggles of  living with diabetes. We get to share stories with each other about our journey living with  diabetes.  You can talk open with them and you know they will understand what you are going through.

Nicole (age 14)
Yes. I made some amazing friends. It’s so different to have kids that know what you deal with on a daily basis.

Ashley B. (age 15)
I’ve been to Camp Sweeney for diabetics (ages 6-18) who would like to meet other diabetics, and do all the typical things you would do at a normal summer camp. I’ve been going to that camp for roughly 7 years now, and I love every bit of it.

Skylyn (age 15)
I have been to a diabetes camp before and it is a good experience. I went 2 years ago and met some amazing people, lifetime friends. One good thing about going to a diabetes camp is meeting so many people that go through the same thing you are going through. The best feeling  is knowing that you are not alone.

Allie (age 13)
I have gone to diabetes camp. One good thing I have taken away from it is how super accepting everyone is there. It is super easy to make friends and there are so many fun things to do there. It’s a really great experience over all.