Skip to content
Newly Diagnosed T1 17 Year Old Girl
avatar
malloryjane posted:
Hi,

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about 5 months ago and I am really struggling with the disease for a lot of different reasons. Really, I am looking for someone to talk to who has type 1 or just some advice, because I'm pretty sure I have become depressed due to my health problems and I am feeling really alone.

First of all, I have been reading all of this stuff online about shorter life expectancies in type 1 diabetics and it's freaking me out! Is it really true that t1 diabetics cannot expect to live as long as a normal person? I am also aware of the side effects of having long term diabetes and I am absoultely terrified of getting any more messed up health-wise than I already am. This probably scares me the most. Thinking about it makes me want to cry every time.

Also, I am going into my senior year of highschool and I already feel abnormal enough, having to stick myself with needles and check my blood sugar all the time when I'm with my friends. I was once extremely excited to go away to college but I now find myself extremely scared of leaving home. I do party in high school right now, and I think it's difficult enough having to do the whole alcohol-bloodsugar process now when I am not even drinking that much. I can only imagine how much worse college will be with all of my peers drinking and partying around me. I want to be able to party in college, but I don't know if I will be able to! Any advice on this?

I have felt very alone recently as I have never met another person with T1. Please, someone respond. I really, really need some advice (on anything in general if you can't help me with the stuff i asked for)!
Reply
 
avatar
nutrijoy responded:
This is a weekend and many of us do not frequent the forums as often. But first things first. Please put your mind at ease. Getting stressed only makes your blood sugar levels rise even more. Despite what you have heard, diabetes in and of itself is NOT the demon that it is made out to be. It is one of the few chronic diseases that is controllable. However, UNcontrolled diabetes is quite a different animal and deserves all of the bad press, myths and rumors that it has received. Your mission is to become one of the controlled PWDs (person with diabetes), the current "politically correct" term used to describe a diabetic (I have personally never found the term to be offensive).

You can live a normal (well, almost normal) life by simply keeping your blood sugars under control. As an example, I can relate (capsule view) my own personal experience. My diabetes was actually was a self-diagnosed (confirmed by an endocrinologist) when I began stumbling over objects that I should have been able to easily avoid. Then I began to develop neuropathy in my feet which eventually included foot drop syndrome (loss of ankle muscle control). After struggling with oral anti-diabetes drugs and getting worse, I started using insulin in a slow but tightly controlled fashion. It took three months for my symptoms to fade (essentially symptom-free) but I did not achieve full "recovery" for about two years.

I am currently 100% complications-free (its been over ten years since diagnosis) based on the absences of any detectable symptoms or tests. I also do not obsess over my BG levels because my procedures are now almost done on auto-pilot without having to dwell on them or consuming excessive amounts of time. I am using my own example so that you can be assured that it is do-able. It will take lots of self-education and the ability to determine what works for YOU. The educational process is an ongoing journey and not a destination. Just don't make the mistake of relying on stereo-typed ivory tower advice which is extremely common, particularly when it comes to dietary advice. There's a lot for you to learn and I (as well as other members) will post back with lots of suggestions. I'm currently tied up in an online workshop but had a short break. Please let us know more about the severity of your condition such as your A1c level, your average blood sugar ranges (before and after meals), etc. Be assured, however, that you will be able to join the ranks of the controlled and not be at the mercy of being UNcontrolled. It will just take the desire to do so and the ability to weather the ups and downs that go with the territory.
 
avatar
malloryjane replied to nutrijoy's response:
Thank you so much. I really appreciate your response and I am already feeling a little more at ease.

I too diagnosed myself with Diabetes when I noticed how much weight I was losing in addition to being constantly thirsty. When my doctors confirmed that I had type 1, they said that I had caught it very early and had probably only had it for a few months. My blood sugar then was in the 300s. Currently, my doctors still believe I'm in the honeymoon phase due to the fact that my A1C at my last doctors appointment was between 4 and 5 ( I don't remember exactly) and my average bloodsugar was around 126. This brings up another question I have, how long does the honeymoon phase usually last? The whole honeymoon phase also worries me because I am scared that when it passes, I will have a very hard time fixing my bloodsugars due to my previous lack of experience with them.

Again, thank you so much and I appreciate any kind of advice or support I can get.
 
avatar
auriga1 replied to malloryjane's response:
There really is no clear answer regarding "the honeymoon phase" because everyone is very different. You can extend this phase by keeping tight control of your blood sugars.

Nutrijoy has a very informative post. You are very young and want to do the things others do. I can't fault you for that. Everyone wants to fit in.

Even though I was diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic because of my age, I have been using two insulins since that diagnosis. I have never been tested for Type 1. My mom, her aunt and uncle also had diabetes, also using insulin. My diabetes was way out of control at diagnosis with an A1c of 13.2. It is currently down to 5.6. It does take diligence and patience to keep your sugars under control.

Take it one day at a time. It is a learning experience each and every day. It is easy to say don't stress, but can be hard to do. Your Type 1 is an autoimmune disease wherein your body does not make insulin and it never will. You will always require insulin injections. You will have to see for yourself which is the best way to keep your sugars under control regarding the insulin. Some use injections; others use a pump. My insulin usage has produced many lows because of my job which is very physical. Many have advised me to inquire about the pump for myself.

Keep reading and educating yourself. There are some Type 1's who post here. As Nutrijoy said, the weekends are very slow. If you see a MrsCora posting here, she is a Type 1 with experience and knowledge.

As an aside, you mentioned alcohol. Alcohol and insulin do not go well together. I used to drink, but no longer do. Alcohol can lower your blood sugar dramatically. Some diabetics are "hypoglycemic unaware", meaning that do not feel themselves going low. You can get into trouble that way. Just be careful.

See if you can ask your doctor or his office regarding diabetes classes at your local hospital/clinic. Many do offer these classes. I've attended seminars at our local hospital here. I live in a big city and most of our hospitals mail out circulars that have offerings inside regarding various topics. They cater to many different subjects. Most of these seminars are free. Take someone with you as a second ear.

Come back and check the forum during the week and see if someone else has responded.
 
avatar
nutrijoy replied to malloryjane's response:
MJ, your response suggests that you possess a greater sense of self-awareness than many teens your age. I am fully confident that you will be among the well-controlled (10%) instead of the mediocre controlled (15%) or UNcontrolled (75%). This post is intended to focus on a four-letter word called H-O-P-E instead of on specific tips and suggestions. For starters, Miss Idaho Wears An Insulin Pump , is an inspirational story about a young lady just a few years older than yourself who recently won the Miss Idaho pageant.

Then there's the considerable activity in the research and development arena for diabetes. Some of the research may produce tangible products this time around. They should enable more PWDs to get their diabetes under control to prevent serious complications. Some of these include:
1. VC-01 Diabetes Therapy , a BandAid-sized implant . Although this is an out-patient surgical implant, it does not require taking immune-suppressing medications for the rest of one's life and emulates natural beta cell output, not just insulin.
2. Human gut cells turned into insulin producers . This technology, if it reaches fruition, could be in the form of an oral pill that can activate the necessary mechanisms without surgery or implantation. Since the gut cells are already native, field trials should be easier to conduct and the opportunity for successful end results may be more promising. However, drug companies make their billions by hooking patients on meds that require ongoing refills. This one doesn't so it may never make it to market. But who knows? Maybe the government will step in because the cost to the economy for treating diabetes is enormous and could reach crisis proportions in less than a decade.
3. Bionic Pancreas WebMD/HealthDay has a feature article that describes the bionic pancreas in detail. While it is still undergoing trials, it may become available within the next few years. Clicking on the first link provided will give you a general overview but you can read the more detailed 3-part WebMD (1) article (2) here (3).
4. Non-invasive glucose "meters" have been under development for a while and one actually made it to market in Europe even though the product was developed here in the States. Sadly, the company's website and phone lines have since shut down and it is unknown whether they just lacked adequate funding or whether it was due to a large test strip or CGM company buying them out and then sweeping the product under the rug (to protect or preserve their strip or CGM profits). One that is still viable is the GlucoTrack but it's an overseas (Israeli) company. Their product performs BG testing by clipping an attachment to the ear lobe. I don't have any details on cost but don't believe that it has yet received FDA approval for sale in the States. Without such approval, it won't be covered by any insurance plans but has great potential. Another promising technology that's still virtually in its infancy is this optical device invented by a UMSL scientist .

Non-invasive blood glucose testing is on the horizon and I personally look forward to the day when I no longer have to prick my fingers (or any other body part). Noninvasive monitors will also end the virtual ransom of being held hostage to the use of over-priced consumables. Imagine being able to check your blood sugar on a whim whenever and wherever you desired without punctures, strips or other consumables. You would then be able to react immediately to either highs and/or lows. This would also provide you with the knowledge needed to be able to accurately determine how a given food affects you personally. If the food item didn't appreciably affect your BG levels, you would be able to embrace it as part of your diet. On the other hand, if the food item did spike your BG, you would know that it would be wise to simply avoid that item in the future. No more guessing and no more excuses. In my view, that's the closest thing to a form of diabetes Heaven.
 
avatar
miked177 responded:
I understand your concerns...I too have Type 1, but it happened later in life when I had my pancreas removed (cancer). But now that you diagnosed your problem, you have already increased your life expectancy (nice work!).
Now you need to assemble the tools and attitude to manage your blood sugar as a way of life, without it taking over your life. It takes a little practice, but you have a long life ahead of you to keep on beating this disease.

Are you using an Insulin Pump? If not, you should consider it, because it can reduce all those injections.

Has your doctor suggested that you "count carbs". It's the best way to determine insulin dosing and it is not that difficult. If you have a smartphone, then get a Diabetes app. I use an app called MyNetDiary (diabetes version) and it has a huge database of foods to make carb counting easier. Then the insulin pump can calculate the insulin dose for you.

You will find a ton of people who want to help out. Use their suggestions to form an opinion of what "works" for you and then it will become as ordinary as going to school each day. And don't be too concerned about what others think. Some time in their lives they will be hit by something unfortunate; you have got the chance to learn how to handle a setback early in life, so you are a more capable human being already!!

I know you can do this....!!!!!!
 
avatar
scsucic responded:
I was diagnosed Type 1 at age 36, so over twice your age, but some things about diabetes are regardless of age. I was playing adult soccer at the time, and you just have to learn to always test your blood sugar (before the game it had to be above 250 for me to feel safe, and again at half time). Being adult soccer, we would drink after the game, so blood testing took place then too. I have learned that no matter where I am or what I am doing, either testing or injecting (i.e. my health) comes before what "other people" think if they happen to see me testing or injecting. You have to be aggressive, not passive, about your health. If other people do not like me testing or injecting, then these are people I do not care to know or care about what they think. Breast-feeding mothers have a much more difficult situation than a type-1 diabetic.

High school is full of scary things. But you cannot hide. You MUST TELL friends, teachers, and administrators that you are Type 1. The problem is not the highs, but the lows. You need to have people who can recognize a sugar low, and help you deal with it (because often you cannot deal with it alone, like you can with a sugar high). I teach at a university, and I tell my students during the first day of class that I am Type 1 and what to watch out for in the event of a sugar low. My secretary and fellow teachers have learned what the problem is, and how to deal with it. You need to find the people who will be in your corner and how to manage or coach them. Diabetes happens to you unaware and as a shock. You cannot let that happen to the people around you - let them know so they can deal with it and hopefully learn about it in advance.

Besides other people, you have to learn to deal with this issue. Fortunately, diabetes is one of the most controllable of diseases. You can control it rather than letting it control you. Controlling it means knowing your blood sugar levels. As long as you stay on top of your blood sugar, you will win this life-long battle you are not involved in. After 24 years of dealing with this, I have come to the point of feeling thankful I got this disease rather than some other.

But again, you have to be aggressive, and not passive, in controlling your diabetes and all that happens around you. Diabetes just means you have to pay attention to so much information (blood sugar, carbohydrates, etc.), but paying attention is better than ignoring.
 
avatar
brunosbud replied to miked177's response:
Hi miked177, Thanks for the great post. Would you consider actually going through the process of using your diabetes app to calculate estimated total carbs for a sample meal? Also, once the carbs are calculated, could you also go through your considerations when estimating dosing for the meal you're about to eat? (I understand you have a pump but could you explain the thought process for those who don't have one?) Lastly, could you explain how the pump works and does it come fully programmed or does it allow the user some further fine tuning? Have you ever gone low on the pump and what if went low when you were asleep?

Your comments and insights, I'm sure, will be much appreciated. Again, thank you, mike.
 
avatar
auriga1 replied to scsucic's response:
Very nicely said, SC.

Imperative that this girl let others know what is going on. Many times you just don't know if and when a low will strike.

Othes can be "immune" to the dangers of insulin usage. I have had to tell everyone at work that I do use insulin and to watch if things aren't "normal." I really don't want them calling "911" if I start to slide down the wall. Just find me some sugar and I will be A-okay. I also have a medical ID bracelet in case something really serious happens.

I actually do not go out alone when I will be physically active. I hit a BS of 26 one time and couldn't move. Thankfully, someone was with me and I just gulped some juice. It can happen anywhere at any time because of what you ate or didn't eat or you just took one step too many. That low happened because I just didn't eat enough carbs the day before.


Helpful Tips

A Diabetes Reversal StoryExpert
Many people understand that they can probably improve their diabetes by eating right and exercising, but figuring out how to make it ... More
Was this Helpful?
74 of 145 found this helpful

Expert Blog

Conquering Diabetes - Michael Dansinger, MD

Dr. Michael Dansinger provides thoughtful tips for those with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes who want to reclaim their health...Read More

Related News

There was an error with this newsfeed

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.