Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dear Children & Teenagers With Diabetes

Dear Children and Teenagers with Diabetes:

I know your smart and a digital native, and I know you know almost everything, but please hear me out.

I’m an adult (which freaks me out to write, let alone say) with diabetes and I was once in your shoes.

Being a child with diabetes has its challenges, and some days it sucks- I get that. And I’ve experienced those days -still do in fact.

Diabetes is a lot to handle for an adult, not to mention a kid or a teen, but your doing a great job!

I know that shots can be scary, annoying and painful, and I know that pumps have their own set of challenges, like infusion site changes, doorknobs and deadspots.

Your bravery is AWESOME.

I know you want to be like your friends, and eat whatever and whenever you want.

And that’s not always possible when your blood sugar is high or the food isn’t gluten free.

I know testing your blood makes the tips of your fingers sore and freckly, and the more tests you take, the more rough and callused your fingers become.

Diabetes doesn’t change the fact that you’re a kid, you just

come with a different set of instructions than most of your friends.

Fitting in, regardless of the age or circumstances, can be challenging at times. All of us- Diabetes or not, have these great qualities that make us stand out.

Embrace what makes you special and run with it!

You’ll be surprised how others will follow your lead.

And the ones who don’t respect you and your diabetes- have other issues (most likely at home) that don’t involve you and D at all. Trust me on this fact!

Ignore what they say and focus on your real friends.

Diabetes will help you in other ways you never imagined or even thought possible.

Your diabetes will help you see who your real friends are.

Diabetes will help you see who your real friends are not.

Diabetes will allow you to develop something called empathy.

Now keep in mind, almost every one has empathy- or the ability to put themselves in other peoples shoes- but not everyone pays attention to their empathy gene.

Without a developed sense of empathy- humans become selfish and uncaring towards others thoughts and feelings. That will never happen to you.

Diabetes has given you a unique perspective at quite a young age. You know what it’s like to have a bad Diabetes day because of high or low numbers.

You, as a person with Diabetes have the second sight to see when others struggle, and know how to be a good friend to anyone who needs one. Seriously- that’s a cool gift!

Diabetes will allow you to recognize when your high or low – sometimes-even before you test.

Teenagers, this part of the letter is directed mainly at you.

Look, I know that you know everything- I do - I KNOW THAT.

But please give your parents some street cred when it comes to your Diabetes care.

If you want more independence regarding your Diabetes (which I think you should have- to a point) show your folks that your actually capable of taking care of yourself & diabetes.

Your diabetes isn’t going anywhere whether you choose to work with it or against it.

So TAKE OWNERSHIP of your Diabetes. Show your parents that your serious about managing your Diabetes and work with them.

Do this by testing your blood sugars 10 to 15 times a day, and write them down in a log book or phone app. Keep in mind that testing 10 times a day- it only turns out to be 50 seconds a day, and 15 times a day is only 75 seconds. I know you have an extra 50 to 75 seconds a day between texting, wii, texting,school, texting, work, texting, Starbucks, and texting.

Back in the Diabetes Darkages, when I started testing my bloodsugars, my parents wanted me to lug THIS around in my knapsack-

And this is the box it came it!

And it took 2 minutes to tell me what my blood sugar was.

You have it SO MUCH EASIER!

Back in the day, there was no such thing as counting carbs and ALL foods were off limits.

So take advantage of the fact that carb counting is key and nothing is off limits and bolus correctly (give your best shot-if your wrong, that's what a correction bolus is for) for carbs.

And then test your glucose later to see if you reached Blood Sugar Nirvana.

Carry food with you- ALWAYS. It’s your responsibility- no one else’s.

I know for fact that Glucose Tabs and fruit rollups can be discreetly carried- even in the tightest of jeans.

Dust off your empathy tool (which tends to get rusty during the teen years) and put yourself in your parents shoes.

I don’t know if your aware of this, but when

you were diagnosed, your parents world was turned upside down.

And if you were diagnosed as a child- they’ve spent years working 24X7 to make sure your healthy. You want more Diabetes freedom- show them you can handle it!

Parents will always be PARENTS- there's no changing that. They will worry about you even when your over 30 and working a real job and live on your own- trust me on that fact!

And one more thing, THANK them every now and then for all they’ve done. Because someday, when your healthy, on your own, and living the life you want, you’ll realize everything they’ve done was because they LOVE you.


Kelly Kunik


Cara said...

Ditto. Ditto.
Well said, "adult" w/ diabetes. And that's coming from another "adult" w/ diabetes....and saying that freaks me out too!

tmana said...

Great words, which mean a whole lot being that you've been there yourself. I'd love to send this to every kid w/ D...

phonelady said...

thanks for sharing.

Sarah and Sara said...

I wish I had read this when I was a kid!

Meri said...

With your permission, I would like to print this and put it on my 12 year old son's pillow.

Thank you. Everything I do is to help my diabetics achieve freedom from me. No boy likes a hovering mom. They don't always need, or rather want, lectures from me...they do however need/want encourgement from others like you!

Stacey D. said...

K2 this is freaking awesome!! I only wish that I had someone like you telling me something like that when I was young. And I cannot believe you still have that accu-chek!?!?!

DeclaringMyD said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. It's very unique and helpful.Even to me a 30 yr old dx'd 2 yrs ago with severe T1 & insulin right off the bat.
I wish Every child/parent could read this.

k2 said...

Thanks friend- you are such a grown up!

Glad you like it- Children& teens with D have this huge place in my heart- for obvious reasons~

Your welcome! Thanks for reading and commenting!

Sarah Jane-
That means a lot - THANKS!

WOW- of course you can print the letter on your sons pillow. I'm honored you'd do such a wonderful thing with my letter!

Stacey D-
THANKS! Your words make me feel wonderful!
Blame my mother for the Accu-chek & the box it arrived in (and display case; instruction book, lancing device, &cassette instruction tape) she never throws anything out!
I found it when I was cleaning out one of her many storage closets last year!

Thank you so much for your awesome comments and for reading Diabetesaliciousness. I know your new to D. HANG IN THERE! It does get better!!!


Scott S said...

Kelly, I had that meter (among the many I've had over the years), but it WASN'T my first ... I had 2 before that one!! And the older ones took not 2, but 5 minutes!! But I loved your letter to kids and teens with diabetes!

k2 said...

I'm glad you loved the letter!
I know the meters that you speak of- because we had them 2! Surprisingly, my mother threw them away.
I remember the 5 minute meter count down- I also remember that we could cut the test strips in half to double the amount.!

Zita said...

Awesome as usual. We're almost to the teen years. It is going to be an amazing ride. Will blog about soon.

Nan said...

i love this, Kelly!! i am going to print this and "tuck it away" for C when she's a bit older...thanks for writing this. this is what i love about the DOC...love ya!

Cherise said...


*standing and clapping* beautiful. That meter took 2 min to read your bg?!? Wow! This post is such an inspiration. I think every child should have a copy of this post:)

john said...

Hello! How are you? I have added your blog on my Diabetes blogroll, can we exchange link?

Shamae (Ghost written by Loren her hubby) said...

This gave me goosebumps. My daughter is only 5 and was diagnosed about a year and a half ago with T1. It's good to see the future and know that eventually Syd will be able to care for herself...even if it's a scary thought because my world revolves around her care now. Thanks Kelly.

Scott K. Johnson said...

What a great post K2. You really hit home with this one.

I love the part about the gift of seeing when others struggle, and the part about fruit roll-ups (I grew up with two of them flattened in my back pocket).