Type 1 Diabetes

Parenting a teen with T1D

Man, it’s rough. If I’m being as transparent as possible I have to keep it real. Joey is a senior in high school, how? I shouldn’t have blinked! 🤭

We raised a very independent young man. Which can be a blessing and a curse! A blessing because he doesn’t let any obstacle get in his way. A curse because he doesn’t let any obstacle get in his way! And he doesn’t think he needs our advice!

When Joey was diagnosed at age 8, end of 2nd grade, I had to be at school for everything! At a private school there isn’t a nurse to check blood sugar and go on field trips or to the Birthday celebrations which include treats. It was all me. For 6 years I went on every field trip, attended every class function if food was involved. Once he could check and dose on his own, he still had to call me every lunch or party, along with the office staff to make sure he was dosing the right amount of insulin.

So by the time Joey went to high school he wanted independence, but was he always doing what he was suppose to do? No. His A1C went up. I figured out that he wasn’t checking his blood sugar at lunch. He’d cover his carbs with insulin, but not get a correction if his blood sugar was elevated! It’s a constant struggle!

And then he gets his drivers license. Another constant worry/struggle, “are you checking your blood sugar every time you get into the car to drive?” At his last appointment we discussed this with the endocrinologist. She again recommended the Dexcom. With the new Dex G6, blood sugar checks aren’t necessary. So we got it and we couldn’t get it to stay connected to our Bluetooth, which Dex support admitted was a known issue with IOS. So he stopped wearing it. I found myself being obsessed with his number when it did work! And I’d text him! Joe would tell me to chill, I have to work on finding a balance! We will try again as soon as football ends.

Let’s talk 🏈! It’s our families fall sport. Has been since forever! But this brings me so much angst! Thankfully the team trainer is fully aware and keeps Glucose tabs with him at all times.

Joey was selected as a Co-Captain on his Varsity team. He makes us proud everyday!

We depend on his best friends and teammates because they know the signs of a low blood sugar. His best friend has been trained to administer Glucagon.

We spend a small fortune keeping Gatorade and other healthier drinks available to him! Of course water is the most important especially in our heat, he knows staying hydrated is key! Chocolate milk is his go to for a low, he sips Gatorade at practice and during games.

I knew how independent he was going to be when after I was on the fence with letting him play football, he reached out to Jake Byrne,


at the time a tight-end for the WI Badgers! Jake then contacted me and a new friendship and mentorship for Joey started.

Jake told me that it’s important to never say no to Joey based out of fear because of T1D. A valuable lesson I needed to hear.

As he gets older, and wants more independence from his very over protective mother, I’ve had to recall that talk many times! When Joey and his friends went to Devils Lake for the day, I worried the entire time! I should have remembered from when Tony was becoming a Senior that it was a go-to place to hike, swim and be with friends, 2 hours from parents! 😖

One of my hardest things is that Joey depends to much on his body alerting him that it’s low. Might sound ridiculous that this is hard for me but what happens when his body doesn’t wake him? A little girl in our T1D community is fighting for her life right now because of a horrible low blood sugar. When we talked about it his response made me cringe! He said “I’m glad my body wakes me up!” I hear him up a lot during the night. Sometimes I get up, and he’s ok with that, but sometimes I lay in bed, trying unsuccessfully to hold back the tears.

For parents with kids with T1D, no matter the age, nighttime is scary. It’s our enemy.

Raising an independent child is the best thing that we can do for them. I just wish he realized that I need him to need me just a little longer.

In 12 months we’ll be sending our independent son off to college, with my best friend, the Dexcom! 😳


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