Best Advice For A Type 1 Teen

If you had to walk into a class full ot type1 teens looking for you to give them advice,what kind of advice would you give?

To never get into a rut and think you can glide through your day-to-day care, that was a personally a problem. And I think that the invincibility idea starts to play a role in a teenagers life.

probably that what other people think doesn't matter, you aren't any different than they are, and you only life once so take care of yourself but don't let your diabetes hold you back from experiencing life?

That's a great question, because to me, in essence it asks the broader question of "what is (or are) the most important issue (s) regarding the self-management of Type 1 diabetes."  Yes, while it's true that there are certain issues which are specific to "teens", in my opinion the most important issues of self-management apply to ALL type 1 diabetics in ALL age groups.

That being said, here's my speech:

OK, guys!  You are all here because you have a "manageable" and "treatable" health condition known as Type 1 diabetes.  The key words are "manageable," and "treatable" because they correctly imply that there are aspects of your diabetes condition which are in each of your control.  Accordingly, it's up to each of you to decide to make the commitment to employ all the educational and technological tools which are presently available to successfully manage YOUR diabetes.  If you make this commitment (or should I say to the extent to which you do so) you will have the same opportunity as any non-diabetic to enjoy a long, productive, healthy and happy life.  And, if you don't (or should I have said to the extent to which you don't) you are accepting the possible consequences of your taking unnecessary risks.

It's no different than driving an automobile.., something  probably many of you are now learning to do. .  A car is equipped with certain tools, like the seat belts and a speedometer, which are designed and installed to minimize your chance of a bodily injury or even a fatal accident.  While it's true that with motor vehicles we have laws, in the end it's your decision to either use these tools and obey the laws,... or not to.  Again, the extent to which you make the decision and commitment to utilize the tools will determine YOUR individual risk, as well as the risk to which you subject innocent others.  And don't think that YOUR decision regarding your diabetes control is any different because it won't put others at risk.  No, what you do will surely effect your family and friends as well.

So, if you want to take away from this meeting the single most important tool regarding diabetes management it is this:  Until there's a permanent cure for Type 1 diabetes, LEARN HOW TO USE YOUR BLOOD GLUCOSE METER AND NEVER STOP USING IT!  YOUR GLUCOMETER IS YOUR BODY'S SPEEDOMETER.  LEARN WHAT THE NUMBERS MEAN... what's too high (too slow?) and what's too low (too fast?).  USE YOUR GLUCOMETER TO SUCCESSFULLY MAINTAIN HEALTHY BLOOD SUGARS  between 90 and 110.  Does this sound a little like using the speedometer in your car to successfully maintain a safe driving speed of around 55 miles per hour?  It should, because it's exactly the same concept and just as important.

So guys, it's up to each of you.  Make the correct decision.  Make an unwavering commitment.  You CAN do it.

To never give up even though it can be really tough because this is your life and you won't have another shot at this life. And, if you let your health go, you are letting down those who care about you.

I liked Paul's speech.  And to it I'd add:

In regards to how you deal with friends, coworkers, strangers, etc. I've found that it's easiest just to inform other people when the moment arises.  People say dumb things, or look at you oddly, when they don't know what the deal is.  So rather than take offense at all the people who don't know (which is probably 80% of the population), then take it as an opportunity to educate at least one more person.  Here's an example:  A family member raises an eyebrow at you, or watches everything you're putting on your plate at a holiday family meal.  Just say something like "it's great that I have a pump (or take shots, etc), because it allows me to eat just like everyone else.  As long as I bolus and test my BGs, I'm not restricted from any type of foods.  I'm just like everyone else."

That'll save you a lot of hurt feelings, frustration and heartache in the long run.  Trust me.  Nobody will ever know what it's like, like you do.  So the more people know, the easier it'll be on you.  You'll save yourself a lot of frustration.

This has meant so much to me lately: you can't always be strong, but you can always be brave.