Thursday, June 19, 2014

#tbt: Dear Children & Teens With Diabetes

Today's #tbt post was written back on October 13th, 2009 and I thought about it today for several reasons:
1. Children and teens with diabetes are down right amazing, as are their parents
2.The Children With Diabetes Friends For Life Conference in Orlando is less than 2 weeks and I can't wait! 
3. Sometimes, regardless of whether we are a child, teen or adult with diabetes - or a parent of one and or all of the above, we need to be reminded how wonderful and magnificent we truly are~
Dear Children and Teens with Diabetes:
I know you're 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 t1 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 you're 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 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 9 to 15 times a day, (OK, try shooting for 8 times a day)  and write them down in a log book. OK, I'm terrible at that, how about looking into a phone app for logging blood sugars - Heck, you're on your phone all the time anyway so why not? 
 Keep in mind that testing 8 times a day only turns out to be 40 seconds a day, 9 times a day is 45 seconds a day and 15 times a day is only 75 seconds. 
I KNOW you have an extra 40 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.
Back in the day, there was no such thing as counting carbs and ALL the "good" 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 and if you're 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.
Also: I know for fact that Glucose Tabs and fruit rollups can be discreetly carried- even in the tightest of jeans.
Take a moment and dust off your empathy tool (which tends to get rusty during the teen years,) and put yourself in your parents shoes every now and then.
I don’t know if you're aware of this, but when you were diagnosed, not only was your world turned upside down, but so was your parents.
And if you were diagnosed as a child- they’ve spent years working 24X7 to make sure you're healthy - Living with diabetes is hard for them, too. 
And I totally get and can relate to wanting more Diabetes freedom- And freedom in general, so show them that you have a handle on you deserve it!
Here's the thing: Parents will always be PARENTS- there's no changing that. They will worry about you even when you're well over 30 and working a real job and living on your own- And you will miss them terribly when they are no longer here to worry about you. Trust me, I know what I'm talking about.
One more thing, THANK your parents every now and then for all they’ve done (and vice versa parents,) because someday,when you're healthy, living on your own and living the life you want, you’ll realize everything they’ve done was because they LOVE you.
Kelly Kunik


tina said...

click, open in safari, select all, copy, paste, send.
The steps I took after reading so I could share with daughter.

Laddie said...

Wonderful post, Kelly. It should be on every D-teen's reading list. And on their parents' list and oh well, on every PWD's reading list.

k2 said...

Tina -
Send your daughter to the link to the blog - I'd love to hear what she has to say!!!

Laddie - Thanks Lady Laddie!

Sarah said...

Thanks for posting this. I was feeling a little down about realizing that I'm not normal, but this reminded me that diabetes isn't all terrible.