Thursday, January 21, 2016

Teens with Diabetes

I have three teenage boys with Type 1 Diabetes. I haven’t blogged much because I’m trying to respect their privacy and don’t want to throw them under the bus, so to speak.

But I feel as though it’s important to write a little bit about it. It’s been a confusing and frustrating process watching my once diligent, conscientious children turn into what seem to be careless zombies who have no idea that they have diabetes, much less a disease that demands any amount of attention.

How does one go from always remembering to literally overnight, never remembering.

Did someone sneak in during the night and take away all their common sense?

Should I call the police?

The only thing I can count on these days is routine set changes, and only because insulin is gone and they don’t like throwing up from ketones. Everything else is a crapshoot.

It’s frustrating.

Frustrating also is the fact that they all have good A1C’s.

Yes, I wrote those words. Sure, I’m thankful, but it’s luck. One day a consequence will rear it’s ugly head and I’ll have to watch. As a parent, worry breeds at an alarming rate in the depths of my chest cavity. I wonder what happens when there is no more room for the worry to grow. Will I explode?

I’m pretty sure my swelly brain has already exploded, as most days I feel like I’m herding cats.

Every day I ask myself: Why am I herding these cats? Can’t these cats herd themselves? Why am I even trying to herd these very capable cats?

More importantly, cats don’t want to be herded. You herd them and then they run away seconds after you get them in line. Do these cats have brain injuries? I’ve trained them since they were kittens and they used to herd themselves in perfect formation. They did it for years, now it’s like they have amnesia and don’t remember ever have herded.

It absolutely feels like a losing battle.

And I absolutely feel like a failure every night when I lie down to sleep.

And then I read an article about teenage brain development and suddenly it all makes sense.

No, they don’t have brain damage…but close:

“The brains of teenagers literally aren’t physically fully connected. In an adult brain, there are a number of neural connections that allow the different parts of the brain to all work together. In the teenage brain, these connections aren’t fully formed yet, and it, unsurprisingly, impacts the brain’s ability to process information in a way that looks at the entire picture. It’s been found that the last part of the brain to finish developing its connections is the frontal lobe, which is also the part of the brain that governs attention span, impulses, and motivation.”

Thank you science for helping me realize I’m not a complete failure.

I’ll continue herding and they’ll continue growing connections until one day, my zombie cats will turn into responsible adults.

In the mean time, solidarity to all the parents of teens with Diabetes. There’s hope for us yet.


  1. Two teens (one freshman in college). Unite! *raises a heavy fist*

  2. Very timely for me...thank you. My son will be 16 in June and wow it can be difficult! I've actually jyst ageeed to stop trying to manage him...he's on his own (within reason of course) he's in charge of checking his bag, etc. He's had good a1c's too and I swear it's luck! As long as he keeps it under 8, I'll leave it to him...makes it easier on both of us!

  3. Hello! Yes. Overnight. Change. Cats. Clueless. Fail. Zombie.

  4. I really get how much it sucks. But I will honestly tell you, I was one of those zombie cats at that age too. It really will be okay!!

  5. I have a zombie cat these days too!!

  6. I so needed this today. Thank you. I feel like a failure. This puberty thing is kicking my tail. The amount of food he can eat. Not wanting to be a nag. Forgetfulness. College in four years... Freaking. Me. Out. I can't worry about it now. One day at a time. Thanks for the reminder that we are not alone.

  7. Yup! Over here too!!! Zombie-cat!! Ugh

  8. You're blessed they have good A1Cs My 16 year old girls latest A1c was really bad😫

  9. I have two boys with Type 1, neither with good A1c's. And though the older of the two is no longer a teenager, he acts like one in every way. I can't be the hover mother, I work full time. I wouldn't be as concerned if A1c's were better (currently high 9s to mid 12s). Any suggestions? Or can you tell me about your routines and maybe I can implement some simple steps to help us all remember? I swear the squirrels have run amok here and stolen my brain with theirs... HELP!! Seriously... help! Thanks in advance!

  10. I am new to this whole game. My 15 year old son was diagnosed on December 22, 2015. It is so hard not to micromanage them when you know the consequences that can occur if they let things slip. So far he is doing really well taking care of himself but my mind does race in bed at night wondering if he will be alright.
    Reading these posts is reassuring.

  11. I can tell you that once you stop checking on them because they are doing so well...the floor drops out from under you and you realize they have not been being honest about their blood sugars...or they forgot! My 15 year old daughter was diagnosed at age 8. Have a look at the glucometer now and again even if they seem to be doing ok and have a decent A1C...things are not always how they seem!It is a tough time in life for both the teens and parents of a diabetic child.


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