Teen Topic #16: Do you have Type 1 role models that you look up to (celebs, athletes, people in your community)? If not, do you wish you had someone like that?

Ashley C. (age 14)
I used to look up to Bethany Hamilton ; when I went and saw her movie I looked at my mom said “she’s my hero because she overcame an issue and she’s fine.” Now I just look up to anyone who has overcome something. 

Philip (age 16)
I don’t have a T1D role model I look up to. I’m not the type of person that has role models, so no, I wouldn’t really care if I did/didn’t.

Claire (age 16)
My biggest role model that’s a T1D has to be Nick Jonas. I have loved him since I was 9 when the Jonas Brothers were still together. I love how he did hugely physical shows and still managed his diabetes, and the fact that he was open about his experience in order to inspire other diabetics. Not to mention he wrote and absolutely beautiful song, called ‘A Little Bit Longer’ talking about his experiences with his diagnoses of his diabetes. He is and always will be my biggest role model, and the little girl in me might have something to do with that.

Jordan (age 17)
My role model in Type 1 diabetes is (author and activist)) Moira McCarthy Stanford, because  of the way she advocates for diabetes and selflessly gives of her time and efforts to those in need with diabetes.

Mercedes (age 16)
My T1D role models are my diabetic friends. They know what I’m going through and we are close. They know my struggles and I know there struggles.

Garrett (age 16)
Ryan Reed- NASCAR driver , Jay Cutler- NFL

Laura (age 16)
I currently do not have someone like that, but it’d probably be nice to have one. I feel like if I had someone to look up to, I’d be more likely to take care of myself than I am now.

Cole (age 15)
Not really. I guess it would be nice to have someone to look up to but I sort of look up to myself. Every day I’m thriving and every day that’s something to be proud of.
Cameron (age 16)
Someone I’ve always looked up to is Jay Cutler. He is a quarterback for the Chicago Bears, and every time he goes over to the sideline he tests his sugar. So that is an example of why you shouldn’t hide your diabetes. You have a professional quarterback on national television testing his blood sugar, so why should I be afraid to do it in front of a couple kids?

Jessica (age 19)
I don’t think I have one single T1D role model. I take all the information from other T1Ds and use it to formulate my own opinions and ways of managing my diabetes. We all have the same diseases, yet we all have different experiences. I look up to every person I have ever met facing this illness. Each one of them is strong for fighting through diabetes and has lessons to give to everyone else. I take their advice and stories and learn from them, applying it to my own life. We all know T1D is not an easy disease to live with and so, to me, everyone who is able to live with it is a role model and empowers me to do better.

Allie (age 13)
I don’t have any type 1 role models I look up to mostly because I don’t really get out much to have role models at all. My mom always points out celebrities with diabetes when she sees one on tv, but all I really think is, “Good for them, they don’t let the disease hold them back,” and then I go back to doing whatever I was before. I don’t wish I had a role model or anything like that, either. I think I’m fine the way I am now.

Ian (age 13)
No, I don’t have a T1 role model, and I am happy about it. I strive to be my own role model when it comes to this. I wish to dream the impossible dream, to fight the unbeatable foe, to run where the brave dare not go, yes, I do know that was from man of La Mancha. (That is my favorite musical ever! It is quite inspirational to me)

Luke (age 15)
I really don’t have any role models I look up to.  I know people that have it and play sports and stuff, but no one I would call a role model.

Cody (age 14)
A role model I have that has type one diabetes is the NFL QB jay cutler

Ashley B.(age 15)
Oh my god, Nick Jonas will still forever be my favorite Jonas brother. The funny thing is, I actually don’t have as many T1 idols as I do non-t1  idols.

Jayden (age 16)
Nick Jonas is my future husband.

Joseph (age 15)
I do look up to my mom because she’s had it for much of her life and taught me how to deal with it. Other than her, I don’t have any others and I don’t feel the need to have any others. It’s too trivial to go and find people to look up to.

Page (age 17)
The t1’s I look up to are my camp counselors I had as a kid and in the past few years. Diabetes camp is one of the best things a diabetic could go to because it is so fun and your counselors teach you so much. Last year was the last time I was a camper and this year I’m applying to be a counselor so I can hopefully impact some of the younger t1’s as well. It’s a very eye opening fun experience to get to know other type ones your age and then my role models which are 5+ years older than me.

Joshua (age 17)
Ryan Reed is my role model as a professional racecar driver who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was 17, because I am involved in the racing world. I do wish I had a role model who was closer.

Amy (age 18)
I have always sort of thought of Nick Jonas as a role model. He does so much and doesn’t let diabetes get in his way. But really Kirsten Barraclough is my biggest role model. She has been here for me and has helped me through so much over the years. I am so thankful to have her in my life. She has had Type1 for a very long time, has a daughter,  and is everything I hope to be someday. She has done it all with diabetes and takes her struggles and personal experiences to help others get through it.

Skylyn (age 15)
I don’t have T1D role models and I don’t wish I did. Someone is my role model for what they do and who they are, not just because they also have T1.

Teen Topic #15: What advice would you give to T1s and their parents about moving from one school level to the next? (elementary to middle, middle to high school)? What do the kids need to know? What do the parents need to know? How will it be different in their new environment?

Joshua (age 17)
I would tell the kids to not feel so different. Don’t be afraid to live and make new friends. It does get better as you get older.
I would tell their parents to let their kids live. Don’t treat them different than you would treat your children without Diabetes. It doesn’t define them, it’s just a part of them.

Ashley C. (age 14)
It’s pretty much the same no difference. Just once you leave elementary you get more responsible in the handling of the diabetes. Don’t depend on your nurse for everything. Pretty much they are only there for like a back up.

Philip(age 12)
 There’s not much of a difference between these except your responsibilities become larger, so I guess you need to be able to accept larger responsibilities on top of what you already have.

Cole (age 15)
Kids need more freedom as they age and changing school levels is a great way to implement those new freedoms. Kids should know that they need to just start carrying sugar and storing it in their lockers and such, because sometimes going to the nurse just isn’t an option.
Parents should understand that they need to relinquish control and that, when they do, their kid won’t be in perfect control all the time. However, it’ll still be okay and as long as they test even 1-2 times a day and take insulin, they aren’t going to die. Growing up requires growth in all facets of life, diabetes included. Don’t just let go of the reigns, but slowly loosen your hold on the leash.

Cameron (age 16)
To definitely schedule a meeting with the nurse prior to the first day of school to get familiar with how things work. Honesty it’s not too rough. I didn’t have any problems moving from elementary to middle nor middle to high school. One thing the parents need to know is that it’s good for the kid to carry the supplies on them, and not go to the nurse every couple hours. This in turn helps build that responsibility and also makes them have more of a normal life. One thing the kids need to know is that they should never be ashamed of having diabetes. Most kids think its cool, and you shouldn’t hide it from anyone. It is also a little bit of a girl magnet, too. I have had many girls tell me that the fact I have diabetes is cute, so there you go. Never be ashamed.

Mercedes (age 16)
My advice is to make sure all your teachers know you are a diabetic. The parents need to know that everything will be fine and they don’t need to worry about their child. They will be fine.

Skylyn (age 15)
I
n elementary, having a nurse there to help, especially in the beginning,  is best. As you get older though, you’re not going to want to be dependent on the nurse. You need to learn what to do because when you get high school, at least for me, you are going to have like no time and need to get to your classes. Practicing what to do is key. It takes me about a minute to do everything now. For parents, help them in the beginning and as they get older, give them more independence and make sure they know exactly what to do.

Garrett (age 16)
My mom kept me going to the office to test every day at lunch in Middle School. I didn’t like it but it did help me test regularly.  It helped that I knew the people in the office well after going in every day. They were helpful when I didn’t feel well.
You have a lot more freedom in high school and I test less often, usually based on how I’m feeling or if I’m going to play sports. My mom tells me to test every day but sometimes I just don’t want to. My A1C is good so I think I’m doing okay as is.

Jordan (age 17)
Every time you move up a level in school, you should also try to move up a level in diabetes and become more independent. You should become increasingly independent until you graduate high school, because after high school you will need to be fully independent.

Laura (age 16)
Honestly to me, it didn’t make that much of a change. You’ll be more responsible for yourself as you get older. The biggest change was that when you get older, it’s not taken quite as dramatically because you’re expected to take care of yourself by then. My advice would be to just do what you’ve been doing, but don’t be afraid to ask a teacher or someone for help.

Claire (age 16)
The advice I would give firstly is… GET A 504 PLAN. It is one of the best things ever. And if your child’s school doesn’t want one, then insist, because it is the one thing that will keep things consistent for your kid as they move from grade to grade, and school to school. And as for you T1D kids, all the other kids in school will continue to stare at you as you dose, or do BG checks, they still ask if it hurts, or how it works. The only real difference is when you get to high school, people aren’t as blunt about it. Well… sometimes they are, for example I had one guy ask me once if I was shooting up a drug.. Yeah totally! In the middle of lunch too! Just ignore the haters and stupid questions. Obviously the environment in high school is a lot different so the nurse’s office is a great safe haven to do your BG’s and doses until you become comfortable.

Ian (age 13)
I would give this word of advice… Independence is key, and not all friends that you find for your kid have to be diabetic. Kids want to have friends that don’t only have a disease that they hate sometimes in common.

Jessica (age 19)
I think the most important thing for T1Ds to do when moving school levels is to continue the communication. Make sure that the nurses, teachers, and other professional staff are on board with the 504 plan and how your child manages their diabetes. For kids, I feel that it is important for them to know and understand that nothing is different. They have the same responsibilities, but can take on more if they want to, and the same support system. If other challenges arise (i.e. joining a sports team) those obstacles will be handled as they come, just like any other. I think this is also important for parents to understand. Additionally, I think parents need to continue to be supportive of their child and help them whenever need be. I believe that as we age, it is important to start to take on more of our diabetic responsibilities (i.e. checking, bolusing, etc.), but it is important to not force the child to do so, but rather help and encourage them to.

Allie (age 13)
The main thing that’s different from elementary and middle school is that you change classes, so you have multiple teachers and have to walk around the halls more. Because of this added daily exercise, they cut out recess. I think the best way to deal with these changes is to become a little familiarized with the school on open house day and try to tell all of your/your child’s teachers about the disease. You should also introduce yourself to the nurse, and depending on if you’re independent at school or not, see where your diabetic supplies will be staying.

Luke (age 15)
My mom meets with the nurse and school counselor at the beginning of each year.  My teachers have been great every year.  I have a few things in place on testing day, if I need them.  My advice would be to be up front with all teachers prior to the year starting.  The teachers change from year to year, but I suggest meeting with the nurse at school and having a small meeting before school starts to go over diabetes and what to look for when low or high.  I have been lucky to live in a small town, my mom is a teacher in the school district and everyone knows each other.

Ashley B. (age 15)
Just be sure to inform the teachers the proper way to handle blood sugar swings, and definitely show the teachers how to use the glucagon.
Jayden (age 16)
My mom works at my high school so my transition wasn’t as hard as others. I would tell others moving in to high school that diabetes gets easier in high school because you mature so your responsibilities don’t consume everything as much. Your teachers are more understanding and your peers also mature, some of them at least, so they will not be as questioning about your diabetes because they have been used to it by now.  Also don’t listen to what others say because your heath is more important than their opinions.

Joseph (age 15)
Elementary to middle I would say to basically learn where the health room is and set up a plan with the nurse for emergencies and lunch. That’s what I did and I never had a problem with it. Also make sure the teachers know how to act in an emergency. This one applies to elementary, middle, and high school.

Page (age 17)
The transitions of schools really didn’t have a big effect on me but I would just say to be prepared at the nurse and with yourself, having your supplies on you all the time. Make sure your teachers know you can eat in class and go to the nurse whenever you need to (especially in high school) because at times they don’t let eating or anything for kids without t1. Just do your everyday normal thing and you will be fine.

Amy (age 18)
When going from elementary school to middle keep in mind that kids get more mean. Not saying it’s guaranteed that there will be a bully, but chances are there will be some curious people who they didn’t go to elementary school with and it can be hard. Also get to know your nurse. It’s always good to know there will be somebody on your side no matter what. I got really close to my Jr. High nurse and still today she helps me through so much. Whether it is having misunderstandings with teachers and/ or students, or even just having a bad day, or having a blood sugar rollercoaster that’s wreaking havoc on your emotions and you need someone to hang out with for a while because you can’t focus on your school work, the nurse can be your friend.

Teen Topic 13: What are your biggest fears about your T1D, both now and in your future?

Cameron (age 16)
I don’t like to look at the future with fear. Instead I look at it by seeing how far I’ve come and I’m only going to keep learning more things. Plus the technology is getting better and better as I’m writing this, so I really have no fears.

Ashley C  (age 14)
Dying in my sleep or passing out in class.

Philip (age 16)

My biggest fear is being able to introduce people to it later. Like when I get married, how is my wife going to handle it? How about my kids? Co-workers? I think mainly new people that I have to tell them, I’m worried about how they will react/have to adjust.

Claire (age 16)
 My absolute biggest fear is that after my senior year of high school, which is next year, I’ll go off to college and die, which is absolutely silly as all get out. I can handle my diabetes and myself just fine, I suppose I’m just scared of the change that will come – no parents to help me when I get stressed or anything. Not to mention, if I get a needle phobic roommate. Oy! That would be horrible. In all honesty, these fears are just silly. Right now I’m just worried I’ll even get into the college I want. My roommate will get used to needles right?

Laura (age 16)
My biggest fears.. hmm. I don’t really have any fears for at the moment, because I can’t see any of the real effects that diabetes has on me now. My biggest fear for in the future is that I’m never going to get my crap together, and actually take it responsibly. I mean I don’t fool around too much now, but it’s still sort of a game to me, if that makes sense. I’m definitely worried about the future health problems I’m going to have, getting my license, finding insurance, paying for my medications, and also my ability to have kids.

Cole (age 15)
The world ending and not being able to adequately make insulin is probably my greatest diabetes related fear. I don’t have a lot of fears. The world we live in now is so futuristic and if people could survive boiling ketone strips I think I can manage with all the technology I have.

Jessica (age 19)
My biggest fear about T1D is the complications that can arise. I know that staying in good control is important and “cures” having any complications, but we all know diabetes is difficult and imperfect. Yes, I am a thriving teen with T1D, but I do struggle daily to remember to check and bolus on time. I have had some minor complications in the past and I know what can happen in the future; however, part of me lives in a naive world where I don’t think that it can happen to me. I think a lot of people feel this way and it is a hard cycle to break. I fear that one day my naive world will fall apart and I will have some complication as a result of my diabetes that will hinder my life and achieving my goals.

Allie (age 13)
My biggest fears about T1D is that one day I’ll wake up and forget I even have the disease. By then, I’ll be most likely living outside of the house and won’t have anyone to remind me to check my blood sugar and whatnot. So, by the time I actually remember that my pancreas doesn’t work, it’ll be too late. Right now, I just fear I’ll make one mistake in calculating carbs and everything will go downhill from there.

Mercedes (age 16)
I don’t have any fears because I always try to look at the good because the fears can make you depressed and upset.

Garrett (age 16)
Now, I don’t have any fears. I just don’t like dealing with testing all the time.Future health issues- blindness and circulation problems in my feet.

Ian (age 13)
I have three fears: not getting cured, losing a limb/eye, and ketones.

Luke (age 15)
 The biggest fear I have as I get older is being by myself when I need help caring for myself.  Like if I get low or something and I can’t bring my bg up.

Ashley B. (age 15)
My fear is that I won’t be able to see my friends from camp because something could happen to me. My main fear is that I could go low in my sleep and not feel it, and possibly pass out. I can actually feel it quite often, but there’s still a chance that I might not.

Jordan  (age 17)
My biggest fear is dying in my sleep.  Most of the time I wake up, but you never know what could happen.

Jayden (age 16)
Driving worries me because I don’t want to be responsible in case of an collision.

Joseph (age 15)
Because I’ve learned how to handle it, I wouldn’t say I have any worries as of right now. For the future, I am worried about living alone because no one would be there if I had an emergency. But I would hope by that time technology will have advanced a bit further so that I wouldn’t have to worry as much.

Page (age 17)
My biggest fear with t1 now is being low in my sleep and not waking up. I have had that fear since I was little so I always run at like 200 before I go to bed. Fears for the future are tuning my sugars too high and getting gangrene and not having a long lasting life.

Skylyn (age 15)
Well now, my biggest fear is probably like my pump going off during the middle of a test or not having food on me when I feel low. Big fears for the future though… My biggest fear is going blind due to poor management of my diabetes, especially since I already have glasses.