Diabetic Mentoring

Hi, I'm a senior in high school and through a program at my school i mentor 3 middle schoolers in our district with diabetes. Right now i'm trying to help one of them keep her diabetes more private. This is hard for me because I have always been really open about my diabetes, but I was hoping that somebody might have some ideas for her. She is on an insulin pen, and needs to give injections and check her bg at school. Also, she says she gets embarassed because she is late to lunch since she has to go to the nurses office before to check her bg, and she doesn't want to tell people about it. I'm open to any advice! Thanks!

Hi.  First I want to tell you how wonderful it is that you are mentoring other children.  I only wish our school had such a program.  That being said, I can totally relate to your situation and question. I have a fourth grade daughter with T1 who feels the same way and does not like any extra attention drawn her.  She is often late for lunch, gym, misses classes due to highs and lows periodically, etc.  I don't know how other children would react, but I contacted the school social worker who met with my daughter each week over the last few months.  That has helped a great deal as they are trained on how to help a child cope and understand it is not something they need to feel embarrased by.  Of course, the parents would need to concent, but it did really help my daughter.  In terms of what you can do, I think sharing your experiences and your openness about your diabetes would also help her to see she will not be judged.  My daughter recently brought a book aabout diabetes to school and asked that the teacher read it to the class since so many kids were asking her questions about her diabetes.  This was a huge step for her.  I realize you are working with older children so that may not be an option.  Best of luck to you and this child!

You might also want to introduce them to Juvenation :) There are a lot of middle school aged people on this site that they might relate to about daily issues...

I have a hard time with this too.  A few years ago I took a class where I had the opportunity to work with students with autism.  One was a type 1 diabetic.  The trainers asked me to talk to him about not testing in front of others, etc.  I told them that I would not do that.  I test in front of others and I used to inject in front of others.  If the "others" didn't like it, that is their problem.  Why should I make diabetes even more inconvenient for myself than it already is?  I'm the one who has to live with it.  They're the ones who get to go home to their nice diabetes-free existence - I don't.  I carry it with me 24-7.  I can't run from it by going to the bathroom to test, all they have to do is avert their eyes.

On a more helpful, less angry nore, it is hard, in school, to do anything other than be private.  You have to walk a line between acting like a victim and being a martyr.  I think just listening and sharing your thoughts and feelings is the best way to be a mentor.  The biggest thing you can do is be the person who can relate to her when none of her friends probably can.  You can help her find her own path and show her that her level of comfort is directly related (in most cases) to how people respond.

My daughter has always been private abvout her d care--No shame invoved . If someone wants to do all their d care in the open-that is great.But if someone wants to be on the descrete side--That is just fine too !

Why does she need to check her bag? And does that just mean bringing it to the nurse's office? Do the other students have to do that?

No, sorry, not bag, her bg is her blood glucose. i'm just to lazy to type it out, lol.