I’m doing a research project in my biomedical science class on how type 1 affects children and teens can anyone help?
Can you be more specific? Type 1 affects a person in a lot of different ways, physiological, physical, emotional, and in lifestyle and relationships.
I hate to pry but just a general idea of all of them combined. With my research I’m looking for how it affects most aspects of a type one life from childhood to adulthood.
Diabetes is a very big deal in anyones lives. You feel as if life is a constant battle that you must keep fighting. You feel different from other kids, you feel envy watching kids eat food and not having to do a shot afterwards. It makes you feel different, and it holds you back from being yourself. You are scared to do half of the things your friends are doing, or your afraid to go somewhere because of your sugars. For me I couldnt spend the night with a friend until i was 10 years old because i couldnt do my own shots. You depend on others to figure out how much insulin you need, and others to give you shots. It can make you very depressed, making it harder to take care of yourself. The constant doctors apts are the worst, having to leave school early to go get poked and prodded is not what kids dream of.
I dont know if that helps at all, but it helped me to rant a little about it! Lol!
I have been a diabetic my entire life. First when you are younger you go through the stage of wondering why you are different, and why you cant go spend the night at friend houses like your other friends can. You wonder why you have to get poked when none of the other kids have to. you feel envy towards the people who get to eat whatever they want and not have to take a shot for it. Then onto the teenage years, the time where you wonder why god did this to you. Most kids go through the stage of not wanting to do it anymore. It is exhausting in every aspect. It makes it so you cant sleep, your body is not your own anymore, it hurts constantly. You become depressed because you hate having to do it and you know you should. Its hard to understand why this happened to you, and you will never actually know. Finally you get yourself back on track, sure you slip every once in awhile but thats okay. Finally you start to get some freedom. You have to learn to manage your diabetes throughout your changing lifestyle, and it is the hardest thing you will ever do. For me I had trouble with work, my diabetes slowed me down and it held me back from so many opportunities. You then do the best you can to manage it, and it will have good and bad days. It just needs to be taken one day at a time.
I think everyone’s story/experience is different. I’ll try to describe mine as best I can.
I was diagnosed at 18 months old, so I never knew life without Type 1 D (I’m currently 30). I am the only child of two T1D parents, which must have helped me to think this was just normal. I knew other families and kids didn’t have this problem, but it didn’t really bother me. I can’t recall ever being made fun of for having D or anything like that. Insulin regimens were different back then–i can remember being on 1, 2, and 3 shots a day at different times, but that was it. I didn’t take a shot every time I ate something. I don’t think I learned about carb counting until I was about 12. Sure my control wasn’t great, but I didn’t feel sick and quite honestly didn’t care at the time. I was just a normal kid and diabetes was in the background. If I got low I ate something and went on with my life. My parents were involved with the local JDRF chapter, which used to throw family events for members like Halloween parties and ice skating parties and stuff like that. It was nice to meet other kids in my city that were diabetic too.
As I got older my friends got involved a little. They used to think it was cool to watch me test my blood and try to bet on what number would come up. Sometimes I would let them test too because they wanted to try it. I never tried to hide my diabetes. I was always open about it, whether people asked me or not. Also, I got to spend a week every summer at the most awesome diabetes camp ever growing up. None of my friends got to do that
One thing that diabetes almost prevented me from doing was going away to college. My parents originally wanted me to live at home and commute to school because I had a long history of having seizures due to low blood sugar at least once or twice a year. They were afraid that if I lived in a dorm no one would know what to do and I wouldn’t survive a seizure. In the end I chose a college about 45 minutes from home and did live on campus. My parents felt better because there was a hospital literally across the street from the school and I was still relatively close to home if something happened. Luckily, I had my last seizure in January of my senior year of high school and haven’t had one since (almost 13 years and counting now!).
I can’t say that diabetes has never made me angry or frustrated me or caused a few tears, but I don’t think I’ve ever gone into the deep depression that others describe because of it. It’s never bothered me all that much–it’s just part of my life. I’m also lucky that my husband, who I have dated since I was in high school, has always been understanding and supportive of taking care of my diabetes. He has learned a lot about it over the years and has never tried to criticize my care/control, even when things weren’t going so great. He is more involved than ever now that I am carrying our first child and poor control could possibly harm the baby. I have heard of others who dated people who were not as understanding and it ruined their relationships, so that’s another factor for some.
I think this post is long enough. Feel free to ask me questions if you have any.
Diabetes requires you to grow up quickly. I was diagnosed at age 4 and started doing shots at 5. I hated the shots. I was always encouraged to not limit myself because of my disease, so I spent the night with friends by the time I was 7 and did most of the normal stuff kids do. As a diabetic I learned I am tougher, both physically and mentally, than I think.
Back in the 1970’s diabetics ate strict meal plans and sugar wasn’t allowed, so at Halloween I donated my candy to kids at the hospital who were too sick to trick-or-treat. I learned early that life isn’t fair but someone else is always worse off.
I also struggled with eating disorders. It started at about age 6 when I’d buy candy at the corner store and hide the wrappers so I wouldn’t get in trouble. I’ve struggled with sneaking food, binging and starving myself. Diabetics are more prone to eating disorders and it’s not a surprise. I’ve had times when I was so hungry but was not allowed to eat because my blood sugar was too high. At other times I have been hypoglycemic and have had to eat even though I was nauseous.
Like any chronic disease diagnosis, you go through the stages of mourning. Being diagnosed as a kid you do it at different ages. I didn’t hit my anger and denial until I was a teenager when I would go for long periods without taking insulin or testing my blood sugar. I felt hopeless and unable to change and have since realized I was struggling with classic depression, which is more common for type 1 diabetics. In my late teens and early 20’s I binge drank and tried a lot of different drugs but was never addicted to any. I felt like my life would be short because of my diabetes, so why not?
By my mid-20’s the diabetes complications I’d been expecting still hadn’t come. I realized I was always recovering from a low or high blood sugar and had a job where I traveled a lot, so it was hard on me physically. I stopped partying so much and started testing my blood sugar to see when I needed insulin or a snack. I found swimming laps helped regulate my blood sugar without causing severe hypoglycemia. But I still had uncontrolled highs and lows.
Because I took 4-5 shots a day I had lots of bruising on my stomach and hips. Guys I dated were never turned off by my diabetes but I knew I had met my future husband when after our first date he researched diabetes and read a bunch of books about it so he could better understand what I dealt with. He cared about me and diabetes is definitely a big part of me.
When we were engaged I was stressed with planning the wedding, preparing to move to a new city and begin a new life. I had a hypoglycemia and passed out and my roommate had to call the paramedics. Then I started having more “surprise” hypoglycemias and would have died if kind strangers hadn’t helped me. I had developed hypoglycemia unawareness after 25 years with type 1. I learned another important lesson from diabetes: you are more frail and dependent than you would guess and should be grateful for the help of others.
Soon after getting married I didn’t wake when the alarm went off one morning and my husband saved me by squeezing cake frosting in my mouth. He was understandably angry and didn’t understand why I couldn’t easily control my diabetes. I went to the doctor, who said the only solution she knew was an insulin pump. I was hesitant because I did not want to be attached to something. But I quickly got over my fear and it was the best decision I ever made. The device doesn’t bother me as much as I expected and it stopped the highs and lows caused by long acting insulin that’s required with injections. My hypoglycemia unawareness reversed and I have not been incapacitated by a low since.
Best of all, I had a healthy pregnancy several years later because of the pump. He was born with a normal blood sugar. My doctor insisted on inducing because my diabetes made it a high risk pregnancy. I wish I had trusted my instincts and not induced. My body wasn’t ready so I had a cesarean. My pregnancy was completely healthy (5.1 A1c with no lows below 60). It was not necessary to induce but the label of diabetic made my OBGYN nervous.
My son is 9 now and not diabetic. I did stress when he was younger and would have symptoms of diabetes. Type 1 does not have a strong genetic link and he has only a 2% chance of developing diabetes it. I pray he is not one of the unlucky 2%. When he was an infant I would keep my blood sugar higher because it scared me to think a hypoglycemia could incapacitate me when I was home alone with my son.
About 11 years ago I had the beginning stages of kidney problems but it reversed when I started taking an ACE inhibitor drug. I am grateful to have diabetes in the modern medical era.
The diabetes management stuff that seemed so difficult in my younger days doesn’t seem that hard now. The glucose testing, carb counting, and insulin dosing is what I do to live life. I want to be as healthy as possible so I can be here for my husband and son.
My diabetes affects my whole family. My husband can tell I’m hypoglycemic before I can sometimes feel it. Diabetes costs my family a lot of money, but I’m grateful to live in America where I can get the supplies I need.
My only complaint is that the medical community is often misinformed about diabetes. I live with and manage my disease well every day and that deserves respect, just as I respect a doctor who an advanced education and experience working with multiple patients with this disease. You would not believe the arrogant, offensive, downright stupid things doctors and other healthcare workers have said to me about diabetes. That lack of knowledge keeps diabetics from getting proper treatment and causes complications that kill people every year. It is one of the reasons I am going to nursing school to become a diabetes educator.
I used to see diabetes as a burden but in more recent years I see that it has brought blessings in my life too. I would not be the person I am without it.