TEEN TOPICS – WEEK #79: When did you start becoming interested in taking care of your own diabetes needs?  Which things did you take over first?  How much do you do now?

Annelies (age 15)
I think I’ve been fairly independent from the beginning. When I was diagnosed at age 6, my school didn’t have a school nurse and so I learned how to take care of myself more at an early age.

Andrew (age 15)
I became interested in taking care of my own diabetes needs after I started to realize the long-term implications diabetes will have on my life. After making that realization, around age 9, I started to take over simple things such as: testing my blood sugar, bolusing and making sure I have my supplies with me at all times. Starting my own care at a young age now lets me manage my diabetes individually (with the help of my parents and doctors when needed); I now test, bolus, do sets, reservoirs, lead doctor’s appointments, and do any other task you can think, of on my own.

Cameron (age 18)
When I was diagnosed in the second grade, my parents did everything for me. Throughout elementary school, I gradually started to count my carbs, inject myself with my insulin, and check my blood sugar by myself. Now, as a senior in high school, I pretty much do everything by myself. My parents will help with pre-filling my cartridge for my pump. Also, my mom handles all the insurance stuff of course. But other than that, I mostly do everything by myself.

Caroline (age 15)
I was diagnosed at 12 years old and I gave my first shot in the doctor’s office by myself. I wanted to do it all by myself and I wanted to be independent. The doctor had to force me to let my parents give me some shots so that they could have some practice in case I was ever not able to give them to myself, or I needed help. My parents and I always carb-counted together, ever since the beginning and even now, I have them check after me when I am not 100% sure of something.

Christina (age 15)
Since I was diagnosed at 13, my parents gave me a lot of the responsibility of taking care of my diabetes from the beginning. At first it was just testing and then giving my shots with their supervision. But now I test and change my sites and take care of everything on my own. I still go to them for guidance and moral support because this disease is a lot and you need support.

Claire (age 18)
I was diagnosed at age 7.  I’ve been completely independent for about 7 years now, ever since I got on pens, and now that I’m 18 and  I’m on my own, and have little to no input from my parents. It’s usually closer to none, though.

Erin (age 18)
I became interested when I was diagnosed at age 10, and have been independent since then in all of my cares. I have done everything since then on my own.

Haley (age 14)
I’ve always wanted to take care of myself. I was diagnosed as a baby.  I started checking my blood sugar on my own when I was around six years old, and I started giving my own shots around nine years old. I pretty much handle everything on my own now. But, I run my decisions by my parents and they do night time checks and give my morning Lantus.

Ian (age 15)
I started about a month after I was released from the hospital when I was 11, beginning with testing and then to shots etc. I do most of it now, but am still taking advice from my parents.

Jon (age 16)
I was diagnosed at age 7.  By age 8 I was more interested in doing my own finger checks and trying to learn about carb counting.  But when I was 11 was the time I really felt comfortable giving myself my own shots in 5th grade. The summer of 5th grade I went to Joslin Diabetes Camp and that is when I really started taking more of an interest in my self-management.  By middle school I was still going to the nurse during lunch and for treatments, but I was doing all of that by myself in the office.  When I went on a pump and a CGM in 7th grade, I took on a lot more responsibility. By high school I was no longer going to the nurse and no longer relaying numbers to my mom during lunch.  Today, in 10th grade, I do all of my self-management, with my mom checking in with me to review the CGM and Pump information to make any adjustments together on the weekends.

Jordan (age 19)
I’ve always been interested in doing my own stuff for diabetes. I first started with testing myself when I was diagnosed at age 9, then I moved to counting carbs. I’ve always been good at guessing carbs. I started doing my own shots (and then the pen) within a few weeks.  By 7th grade I only had to visit the nurse if I was having a stubborn low or high.  After that I started changing my own sites, but I liked it when my mom helped me.  In high school when I was 15 I had a lot of burn out, so my parents helped me a lot for a while. Now I am away at college and do everything for myself besides dealing with insurance.

Julia (age 15)
I started taking care of all my diabetes when I got home from the hospital at diagnosis at age 11. My mom and dad gave me one shot at the hospital and since then I’ve done everything else. My parents monitor me but I am independent when it comes to physically dealing with diabetes.

Laura (age 18)
I was interested in taking care of myself from the beginning when I was diagnosed at age 11. I did my own shots, checked my blood sugar, etc. My mom helped me for a while when I first started on the pump and also with the Dexcom. Another thing she helped me with was counting carbs. Now I do everything on my own. She does check in with me time to time, though.

Lexi (age 16)
I was diagnosed when I was  11.  Well, when you get older you start wanting to do things on your own. Diabetes is one of them.


Maggie (age 17)
I think I was about 7 when I was diagnosed, and around  8 I did my shots for a while and then I did my pump. I am almost completely independent except for when I’m in a rush or too lazy to fill my pump.

McKenna (age 16)
Well since the day I was diagnosed I’ve always been interested in doing it myself. I do everything myself unless my blood sugar is too low for me to function.

Skylyn (age 17)
I would say that I have always been at least a little interested in taking care of my own diabetes needs since I was diagnosed at age 8. I first learned how to count carbs and test my blood sugar. Now, I can do most of my diabetes needs. I still get help with set changes and temp basals, but otherwise I try to do it myself.

Vanessa (age 16)
I became interested in it just about the same time I was diagnosed when I was 5. I wanted to know why I needed to check my blood all the time and why I needed a shot every time I would eat anything.   I started doing my own shots before anything. I liked feeling independent.   I do it all now, but of course mom still reminds me to check or ask if I’ve done my shots when she sees me eating something. lol I don’t think I’ll ever deal with my diabetes alone, it’ll always be my mom & I.

**To see all of the previous topics, please visit our archive at https://pbntype1teens.wordpress.com **

TEEN TOPICS – WEEK #78: Is it better to be open about, or hide your diabetes?

Annelies (age 15)

I think that it’s better to be open about your diabetes. It’s a part of you, and it’s not going away, so why hide it?

Andrew (age 15)
I find it better to be open about your diabetes, that’s how I am personally, and that’s because it allows you to be more open in general. If you are constantly worrying about hiding your diabetes it can take a toll on you emotionally. In addition to the negative effects of hiding your diabetes, being open about your diabetes also makes people around you more comfortable with your diabetes which can make you feel more confident.

Cameron (age 18)
I think it depends on how you feel about it personally. It’s not a bad thing to be open or quiet about your diabetes. It all depends on how you view it. Personally, I’m open about it, but I think that’s mostly because I’m an extrovert (which means I’m outgoing).


Caroline (age 15)
I think it is much better to be open about your diabetes. For a long time, I didn’t want anyone to know that I had Type 1 and that made it really hard for me, looking back on it. I was always having to go to the bathroom to check my sugar or going behind something in the nurse’s office to give myself a shot because I didn’t want anyone else to know. I feel like it is harder on you to hide your diabetes, and I think you shouldn’t care what other people think about you because everybody is different, special and unique in their own way. Sometime, diabetes happens to be the way that you are different than others.


Christina (age 15)
From my diabetic journey, I have come to realize it is so much better to be open about your diabetes. It took me a long time to learn this, but it feels so much better when you feel you don’t have to hide a part of yourself from people at school. Now, I can nonchalantly share that I have diabetes without being embarrassed and freaked out that I will be judged. Instead I take a second to educate someone and feel better that I can do what I have to do to take care of myself and not have to hide it.

Claire (age 18)
It’s ALWAYS better to be open. Yes, it can be embarrassing to talk about, and even frustrating when you get the repetitive, “Oh, so you can’t have sugar?” Or the, “Wow, you must’ve eaten too much sugar as a kid.” Or from the really gutsy people who say, “Oh, well you’re not THAT fat.” Yes, it can be annoying to even bring it up, but as far as your overall health goes, it’s better if as many people around you know what’s going on and what to do in case of an emergency.

Erin (age 18)
I think it depends on the situation but I think overall, it’s better to be open in case something happens such as super low/high blood sugars.

Haley (age 14)
It’s probably best to be open about diabetes. I think if I started trying to hide it, I would just create more stress for myself. Also, if people know about it I have more opportunities to educate them about the disease and if I ever needed help they would know what to do.

Ian (age 15)
It is best to stay private. You eliminate the possibility of discrimination, and you can truly say “I don’t want sympathy” without being hypocritical.

Jon (age 16)
In my opinion it is better to always be open about having type 1.  There is really no reason to hide that you experience life in a unique way where you have to monitor your blood sugars.  It is also good for others to know in case of an emergency.  I have found most people to be very understanding and nice about the fact I explained what I’m doing when I stop to check my number or treat and the reason I need to.

Jordan (age 19)
I think it’s better to be open, because it’s better for your safety, and it lets people know the responsibility they have to help you if you are having a problem. I also don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of, so why would I hide?

Julia (age 15)
I think it’s better to be open about diabetes. That way if I need help with something people will know what to do.

Laura (age 18)
I guess it just depends on the person. I’m mostly open about it, if need be, but if I’m in a situation in where it’s not needed information, I just keep it to myself. The best option of the two, of course, would to be open. That way if there happened to be an emergency people would be prepared.

Lexi (age 16)
I feel it’s best to be open about it. I like explaining it to people and getting their reactions.

Maggie (age 17)
I am open with my diabetes. I don’t hide it at all and I teach everyone how to take care of me in case there is an emergency.

McKenna (age 16)
It is always best to be open about your diabetes.

Skylyn (age 17)
Having diabetes for over 9 years, I can say that I have done both. When I was younger, in elementary school, I mostly hid my diabetes. I didn’t want people to know and thought they would treat me different if they knew about my diabetes. Now, I don’t really care and I let people know soon after meeting them that I have diabetes. I have learned that most people don’t really care either. I haven’t ever been treated badly or anything because of my diabetes.

Vanessa (age 16)
I’ve always been really open about it. I would tell my friends and everyone around me that I had diabetes, and if they had questions I was more than happy to answer them and educate them. I hate how so many people are uneducated about the disease and think they know what it is off of the same “if you eat too much sugar you’ll be a diabetic” saying that people have always said. I feel like the more I open up about it and tell people, the more people learn. That makes me feel good knowing I’m educating people about it.