Friday, 19 February 2016

T1 Diabetes & Teen Troubles

Undoubtedly, growing up with type 1 diabetes adds extra responsibility to an already overwhelmed teen (that's me ;) ).  In my case, I've had to deal with multiple insulin injections, carb counting, the fear of overnight hypos for years and moving over onto a pump. Throw into the mix shifting BGL and social issues related to feeling different from peers and frustration, my situation led to diabetes burnout and DKA - several times.

After a recent blog post I've decided to move over to an insulin pump. I'm yet to go on the waiting list - I dread to think how long it could be but I'll update you in the meantime if things change. I have no doubt that a pump will bring me new challenges, but there is no struggle without lessons, so I'm looking forward to taking the leap. My mum seemed to sum it up well; 'If you want to do something then you're halfway there' (thanks babes).

A huge part of my struggle with diabetes is the psychological side. Over the past year I've struggled with both anxiety and depression - I don't feel as if there's half as much support as there could be. Both are not linked directly to my diabetes, it was not the cause, however it does affect my attitudes towards it sometimes. It makes my 'bad days' even worse - without going into too much information. For some reason, I do still hide my injections i,e; go to the toilets to inject, but my confidence is growing :)

One of the reasons I started diabetesgeek was because I feel as though there is not enough peer support for adolescents with T1 diabetes. I truly believe that if there was groups that was started via a social media platform, it would be beneficial in terms of psychological support. Once I'm in the right place this is a major goal for the future.
When I launched diabetesgeek I decided to make diabetes a big part of my life, in terms of care, my general control is so much better. I spent a lot of my time prior to January 2016 not ignoring my condition but I never spent a lot of time thinking about it. I find that the more I am myself and make space for diabetes in my life - the happier I've become. I guess you could say that my teens years taught me how to accept my diabetes (14 years on), and I'm beaming just typing this. Diabetes does not define me, but it is a big part of who I am.

Stereotypical Teen Things

Piercings; the recommended diabetes care for piercings is that you watch out for hypos pre and post getting pierced due to increased adrenaline levels. I currently have 6 different piercings in my ears (RIP anti-helix) and they have all been completely fine. After getting a piercing I always have a snack and that seems to work for me.

Alcohol has never been a problem for me, in fact it's quite an opposite :') and as mentioned on previous blog posts - I am not one to turn down a glass of red wine. The advice I have is; eat a carb filled meal pre drinking, give slightly less bolus than you usually would (this is so the food can soak up the alcohol). In terms of correcting highs - DON'T, this can lead to 'dead in bed' syndrome. Obviously if you go hypo correct as usual. Personally, I find spirits (specifically Jager and Vodka) tend to spike my BGL more than any other alcohol. The next day resume all of your normal routines, correct, treat, inject ect. I've had no horror stories yet but have heard some (i,e, dead in bed syndrome), I live the alcohol life as any other 17/18 year old; the odd glass of wine and a party every couple of months.

Sex is a strange one to be advised about from my 40 year old male consultant so all of my education on diabetes and sex has come from people with diabetes themselves. The moral of this particular story is to be completely honest with your partner and ensure glucose is close by.

I hope this post gave you a little peak into teenage life with diabetes - I could go on for days writing about it!


Amber xx

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