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Living with a T 1 D Teen

Raising a child with Type 1 Diabetes is hard enough; the teen years present a whole new challenge.

The first doctor we saw said, "You can still do anything you want in life." Amen.

My daughter, Elizabeth Mary, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at a regular well-child doctor's visit. She had been tired, and had lost a few pounds, but nothing unusual for a pre-teen; nothing we even mentioned to the doctor. (We noticed these changes only in hindsight).

When her urine tested positive for ketones, the doctor checked her blood sugar levels. They were off the chart and he said we had two choices: head right to the hospital or straight to a pediatric endocrinologist.

Having left my other children at home alone--with a workman in the house installing flooring--I asked, "Can we go home first and wait for my husband to be able to get back from the church?"


This began the journey of all things T1D.

We've had our ups and downs and have been exceedingly blessed that she has never spent a night in the hospital. But the teen years present new challenges because as the body and hormones change, the blood sugar levels are also in flux.

Not to mention the whole teen mojo: pizza and popcorn at movies, soda next to the pool... all things that wreck havoc on the next A1C reading.

Here are the two best things we've found to help the Teen Diabetic:

1. My good friend from a church in Fargo has lived with T1D for decades. She was my go-to for all things diabetes in the early days and weeks. She mentioned it has helped her to divide her Lantus (the long lasting insulin) into two daily injections rather than one before bedtime. We didn't do this at first because we had no problems. But puberty threw us a curve ball and taking half the Lantus in the morning and half before bed has really improved her blood sugar readings. Especially in the afternoons and evenings when snacking comes into play and the Lantus is beginning to wear off. This is a game changer.

2. We switched from Novolog to Fiasp. With Novolog (and Humalog) you need to figure out what you're going to eat, count the carbs, and bolus 15 minutes before eating. While this is doable, it's pretty hard even for the most self controlled of us, let alone a hungry teenager. I'd try to remind Ellie 15 minutes before dinner, but between cooking for a big family, and getting everyone rounded up, I often forgot the timetable. Dinner would be ready and she didn't know she was supposed to pre-bolus. At school this is especially hard; waiting 15 minutes to eat during an already tight lunch period is a pretty big burden.

Fiasp is a brand of insulin that is taken right before eating. No 15 minute wait. Game changer.

Dividing Lantus into 2 doses is something you'll need to talk to your doctor about. This is not the way it is designed to work. But it has been made a difference for my daughter.

Final Note: Never watch Steel Magnolias if you're the parent of a T1D.

Me and my little T1D

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