Teen Topic #14: When did your parents start to give you more responsibility in the day to day maintenance of your T1D? Are there any ways you wish it had been handled differently?

Skylyn (age15)
Since I was diagnosed in 2008 at age 8, maintenance has pretty much been the same. For meals, I’ll test my BG and my parent will let me know how many carbs it is and then I will put it into my pump. The only thing that has really changed is testing and bolusing at school. When I was first diagnosed, a nurse always had to be there; I wasn’t allowed to do anything if they weren’t. Now, I go to the office and do everything myself; the nurse is almost never there.

Ashley C (age 14)
Pretty much after I went to camp because I saw other people doing the same thing, and I wanted to do it myself like them.

Philip (age 16)
I had most of my responsibilities as a T1D coming out of the hospital at age 12. Being a student/athlete, I had to be able to do everything on my own right from the get-go.

Claire (age 16)
My parents began giving me more responsibility with my diabetes when I started to ask for more independence, so roughly 5th grade. I don’t really wish it had been handled any other way, because I appreciate how they understood my want for more control of my own life. Now, every now and then when I’m stressed and need help, they’re always there by my side to give me the support I need.

Mercedes (age 16)
It was more of a when I wanted to start doing more things myself. I was diagnosed when I was 6, so I didn’t start of picking my own finger. So when I started to be able to pick my own finger I started to have more responsibility.

Garrett (age 16)
After one year- once I got my pump- about age 10.  It was my new normal and there was nothing I could do to change it. I liked being able to eat more so I learned to count my carbs better and calculate the insulin I needed.

Laura (age 16)
My mom took a while in letting me handle my own health (after being diagnosed at 11), and sometimes still tries to take over filling my pods and stuff. I wish she would have set me free sooner. I understand her wanting to look out for me and make sure that I do it right, but one day I’m not going to be around here anymore, and she’s not going to be able to baby me forever. I have to learn how to handle this stuff on my own, and the sooner the better.

Cole (age 15)
Right from the start at age 11, I had a lot of freedom, however it wasn’t until about a year after my diagnosis that I was mostly independent. I really like how we handled it because my mom didn’t put too much pressure on me immediately, but she did let me do my own thing and learn how to handle this myself which is important once I go off to college and no longer have her there to take care of me.

Cameron (age 16)
They didn’t really just wake up one morning and say “okay you’re gonna have more responsibility now”. It progressed over time, and they didn’t force me to handle it. I brought that on myself. They always tell me that if I feel it’s starting to get to be too much they can take some of the responsibility off my shoulders. 

Jessica (age 19)
My parents always had the philosophy of giving me the freedom to learn and take care of myself as I wanted, while keeping a watchful eye. Nearly a year after I was diagnosed (at age 5) I wanted to start checking my blood sugar on my own and begin to gain more responsibilities; however, I was reluctant to get an insulin pump for a long time. I think it is important for parents to support their T1Ds and ensure that they are learning the proper way to take care of themselves. However, this is a personal thing that should not be forced on a T1D. It takes time to accept change and be mature enough to take on the responsibility. I think my parents supporting me and watching over me was the best possible way for me to become independent and manage my diabetes myself.

Allie (age 13)
My parents started to give me more responsibility around the time I got an insulin pump, which was around age 7, about two years after I got diagnosed. It was easier to bolus for things with the pump so my parents decided it was time for me to learn to count carbs and everything else. It took me a while to be able to do site changes on my own, though. I don’t wish it had been handled differently because I learned the skills gradually over time from my parents so they were easier to do in the future.

Ian (age 13)
Well, I got more Independence at about the 8th month after diagnosis at age 11. I do, however, wish that some things were handled differently. I wish that If I forgot something at home, or forgot to do something, (for the first or second time, however) I would not have been punished. I also wish that there wouldn’t have been such fear that something would go wrong. I get it, but it is my own life, you would think that I’d take care of it.

Luke (age 15)
My freshman year is when I started being more independent.  I can go off campus for an hour so it’s the first year I don’t take my own lunch to school.  I think things have worked out pretty good.  I still need some help, but I am doing a lot more on my own.  I think waiting until I was this age has helped since I am older and have learned some things from working with my mom.

Cody (age 14)
I think my parents gave me more responsibility in my day to day maintenance in my type 1 diabetes when I started middle school.

Ashley B (age 15)
My parents gave me more freedom with my diabetes care when I started doing everything before they would ask me to. “Did you change your site?” Yes, I did it this morning. I also changed my insulin, and the battery. Basically, just do everything before your parents nag you about it, and do it well.

Jayden (age 16)
When I was 9 because I was a gymnast and was in the gym 15 hours a week and my mother couldn’t be with me all the time.

Joseph (age 15)
I’ve always had full responsibility with my T1D. I was 14 when I was diagnosed.  It didn’t take much; once they saw I could handle myself at home and in school they stopping worrying about it.

Page (age 17)
My parents probably gave me more leniency when I was around 10 because of a the teacher I had. My parents would still write little notes on how many carbs I would have when I would go places and then I would take my own shots and check my blood sugar.

Teen Topic #22:  Do you advocate for diabetes, like do walks, give speeches, or other advocacy?  If so, why do you feel it is important to do so?

Skylyn (age 15)
Yes. I do the JDRF walk at Mall Of America every year. It is important because the money raised all goes to research.  Not only that, but the walk is also very fun!!!

Mercedes (age 16)
I do advocate all the time, like mud runs, charity work, etc… I think it’s important because people need to know the truth about type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Lots of people out there don’t know the difference between type 1 and type 2 and doing these things help people to learn. It also lets them now that we are out there, that we do exist as a charity, and as a wonderful group of people.

Claire (age 16)
I have yet to do a diabetes walk, but very often I write poems and essays about what I have to deal with. It’s important to bring attention to diabetes, because it’s important to educate those who don’t know what it is.

Ian (age 13)
I haven’t been given the opportunity to do so yet, but if I hear a wrong fact, I correct it. If people ask me about it, I tell them. And If I hear an offensive joke, I shame those who made it. I would like to advocate very much though.

Jessica (age 19)
Of course! I volunteer and walk every year at the Walk to Cure Diabetes. I have also given 4 speeches at various events (including the Dream Gala and Walk Kick-off), been interviewed by Dr. Max Gomez with CBS, and been in a video for the Bag of Hope; all with JDRF. I also am a mentor to newly diagnosed families and babysit several kids with T1D, as well. Being an advocate is something I adore and empowers me every day.

Ashley C. (age 14)
We participate in the local JDRF walk to raise money and promote awareness.

Jordan (age 17)
I do because it helps raise awareness, and also raise money for JDRF, which helps to better my life.  I have done the JDRF walk, and I mentor a family with a young diabetic son and babysit for them.  I also started the Diabetes Awareness Club at my high school.  We do the JDRF walk, and held a Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser to benefit JDRF.

Cameron (age 16)
I usually don’t do that, but when I do, I feel it’s important so that people can understand how serious it is and that diabetes is different from just being “overweight” (most people have type 1 and type 2 confused).

Luke (age 15)
I have participated in some local fundraisers for diabetes because I feel people don’t understand what we go through.  I also want to raise money so a cure can be discovered.  I know my mom knew what the symptoms were which helped me get diagnosed before something really bad happened.  Education is important.

Philip (age 16)
No, I do not.

Ashley B. (age 15)
I have done a 5k for diabetes awareness.  The only other time I advocate for diabetes is when a waiter at a restaurant gives me regular coke instead of diet. They’re usually pretty nice about it, but now and then there’s that one who thinks, “They don’t need diet, they’re skinny,” and don’t think of it as a big deal when they mess up the order.

Cole (age 15)
I do walks, go to camp, go to support groups, and babysit for diabetic kids. It’s important to do these because it sets an example. People will always be ignorant of what diabetes, especially type 1, really entails, but by being an older kid that younger kids can look up to, you can show them that there is a future for them, and it could be a pretty good one. I prefer advocating by being a role model and spending time with younger kids. They’re the future of this disease and the ones we should focus on showing it isn’t the end.

Garrett (age 16)
Yes. I walk every year with a group and raise money for research. I also try to help and encourage others that I know are diabetic too. It’s important to have people around that really understand what you’re going through.

Cody (age 14)
I have never done anything.

Josh (age 18)
I do the Diabetes walks. I love to talk with families of newly diagnosed children, and speaking to service clubs to get their support in funding diabetes research.

Zyler (age 15)
I do I feel it’s important because a lot of people have no idea how to manage it or even what it is, so it’s good to meet others with diabetes and show more people what it is.

Laura  (age 16)
I do not. I’m sure it is important though, to raise awareness. Also it could be motivational to other T1D people.