diabetes · family · teen life

T1D & Teenagers

Hello readers! Today we would like to share with you a part of our world that may be foreign to some, and that is Type 1 Diabetes. It was once called Juvenile Diabetes, but is now more commonly referred to as Type 1.

We have a few tips that we have found helpful in managing our 15 year old T1D, and we thought we’d share them with you in hopes that they may be helpful to you or someone you may know.

  • Our two biggest recommendations are to get a pump & a CGM. Pumping gets rid of shots and gives our sugar baby her basal insulin as close to a normal body as possible, which is every 5 minutes(instead of one big shot of a 24 hour insulin at night). Pumping also allows for more accurate dosing. She can take 1.25 units of insulin or 2.55 units or 16.10 units, which makes covering carbs less of a nightmare. As for the CGM, that is just piece of mind. It does not replace finger sticks, but it gives us a good idea of where she’s at and where she’s been. She has a dexcom G5 which allows her the ability to use an iphone as her receiver. This method sends her data to a cloud every 5 minutes and would allow us to see her blood glucose readings on our own phones regardless if we were with her or not. Sleepovers just got a lot easier! Because our sugar baby only has an iphone 4(which doesn’t support the dexcom G5 app) we do not use this feature and she has an actual dexcom receiver that she uses instead. We are in no hurry to get her an upgrade on her phone, as she is not allowed to have her phone 24/7 anyway and the one she has now works just fine.
    Insulin pump & infusion set


    Dexcom receiver, transmitter & sensor


  • The next thing we recommend is to do your research and live in reality. Raising a teenager is hard enough. Mood swings are bound to happen without any medical condition. Now throw diabetes into the mix. Hormones affect blood glucose. Growing affects blood glucose. Blood glucose affects moods. We do not excuse bad behavior and chalk it up to having diabetes, but knowing these things helps us be more sympathetic and less annoyed(which is a go to reaction with a moody teenager!)


  • A very frustrating part of parenting a diabetic in our opinion is all the supplies you need and having everything readily available before it runs out no matter where you are. Our advice on this is to be organized! We keep all diabetes supplies on one shelf. We have different bags full of supplies: one for the car, one for the purse, one for her backpack, plus we are always rechecking and making sure everything stays stocked up after it is used. For us, this is usually low snacks and insulin. Because we pump, we fill up reservoirs with insulin for a two week supply, which is typically 7 reservoirs, although we can only get 5 out of each vial so we usually fill 10 at a time!10271433_10153767540309754_4673758597594956562_o


  • Our next piece of advice is to not let your sugar baby get too down on themselves, and that can be really easy when they feel like their lives revolve around being a pincushion. Which it kind of does. Ways we’ve managed to do this is to try to cheer her up when she is down, but also to celebrate her diagnosis day, which is 11/11/11! By celebrating this day, we feel like we are empowering her to be a strong person. We are celebrating how far she has come, how much she has accomplished & how courageous she was along the way!
    Niece(left), Sugar baby(right)
    A little pick me up we made


  • Another important part of making sure your teen doesn’t get too down about their diabetes is to make it fun! As fun as possible! We have purchased products that help make things easier like GrifGrips and also products that make it a lot more pretty, like Pump Peelz. We’ve even jazzed up her glucometer case!
    GrifGrips Oval Athletic Grip
    Pump Peelz Dexcom receiver and transmitter skins
    Glucometer case that we DIYed


  • Lastly, we just hope that if you’re a parent of a child that is suffering from or managing a disease you get all of the support that is available to you and your child. As far as diabetes, there are support groups, mentors, summer camps and support through the JDRF and ADA. Remember that you are not alone!


One more thought –  Don’t take yourself too seriously, because life is far too short!

Sugar baby in action


Do you have any questions? Thoughts? Post them in the comments below!




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