I currently have a T1 daughter in her third year of college; she was diagnosed when she was 9. Before leaving for college and while living at home her A1C was consistently in the 7s and 8s. Since moving out to college, she is now at 10+. I am at a loss for what to do. She does not want to discuss this with me. She wears an insulin pump and admitted that she no longer checks her numbers. It doesn't sound like she even boluses after her meals. As a parent, what can I do? I cannot sleep at night knowing what could happen to her down the road. Is anyone else in this situation where they have lost all control? Will she eventually come to her senses and realize that it is up to her to manage this disease?
I think a lot of diabetics have gone through a similar period or periods during which they don't manage their diabetes well. I know I did.
However, from my experience a lack of control with diabetes, and moreover with any medical conditions, probably stems from something psychological. Just as a person with an eating disorder is dealing with invisible, non-food related problems, so, too, is your daughter (probably, I'm not trying to make any infallible claims here) struggling with something psychological.
If I were you I would focus less on the diabetes and more on her overall mental health. Does she show signs that she is suffering from depression? Is she simply "burnt out?"
Thank you for your comment. I agree that it could possibly be psychological. She seems happy and well-adjusted at college but sometimes things are not as rosy as they seem. I think she bears a lot of stress now with school and working part-time, on top of managing her diabetes and exercise. Factor in all the drinking that goes on around her and she may just be tiring of the whole scene. I'm always there to support her and encourage her from afar. I hope that she will start making some adjustments soon. Thanks again.
What your daughter is doing is common. Throughout college think my A1c was usually 14+. I know it had to stress my parents and they asked me to meet with a therapist at the juvenile diabetes center for a while, but the main problem was that I was just young and dumb. Young adults drink too much, drive too fast, and diabetics often blow off testing and keeping track of their blood sugars.
Despite all that, I graduated and had good jobs. When I was about 25 I realized that it seemed like I was always recovering from a low or feeling worn out from a high blood sugar. It was a waste of time. I started growing up, which made all the difference in the world. I also stopped seeing my meter as a judge and know it just tells me if I need to take insulin or eat a snack. I also got married and have since had a child, which of course are the best motivators to live a healthy life. I'm far from perfect and have a pretty relaxed attitude with my diabetes, but have maintained a 6.7 A1c (except when I was pregnant, when I got into great control and had a 5.1). I am 38 now and have no complications, despite about a decade of terrible control through my teens and early 20's. There are lots of us out there with similar stories.
I would encourage you and your daughter to read the link and see if you can talk about some ways to help her. Promise to respect whatever she wants, even if she asks you to stay out of her business. It's also okay for you to put limits on her, like if her diabetes is causing her to get bad grades then you can refuse to pay her tuition. If she's having low blood sugars and isn't testing you absolutely should refuse to let her drive your car. But beyond that, she's going to have to make peace with diabetes and figure out how to make it work in her life. Unfortunately you can't do it for her.
Thank you for your post! This has been soooo helpful and encouraging. I will sleep much better tonight. The link was also great reading and I will share it with her. The additional comments following were very insightful as well. I just found the Juvenation website yesterday and am grateful for the advice. I completely understand the day-to-day struggle diabetes must be for people who have it. Thanks again for making me understand what it feels like to be a diabetic and the constant struggle it becomes and, more importantly, not to lose hope. I often feel that the "D" subject is the very last thing my daughter wants to hear about from me, so being able to talk to someone and hear from you has been most helpful. Thank you for replying to my post! Take care.
Others have said that the family and friends of diabetics should be called Type 3 diabetics because loving someone with D has a dramatic impact on your life too!
Take care. You sound like a really good mom.
Type 3, yes very true! Thanks for your kind words also.