Friday, November 16, 2018

Tips For T1D in High School

Old picture from my high school

My Type 1 diagnosis came in my first semester of high school. No time to settle in. It was early October and I just learning what high school was all about.

The day I was diagnosed, my parents bought me my first cell phone. Not as a gift or a reward or anything. But because they knew that if I went out with friends I’d need to be able to reach them in case of an emergency. But I didn’t really care why I got the phone... I was just excited to get it. It kind of distracted me from the horrid thing that had just happened.

But again, it was the beginning of high school. I think everyone just wants to fit in at that time in life and that’s okay and makes perfect sense. But as such, I hid my diabetes. I did anything I could not to draw attention to myself. I went into a bathroom stall to test my blood. If I went low I’d secretly shove something down my throat, sometimes hiding behind my locker. I felt ashamed of my disease. Not only did I feel different, but I had such a fear of the stigma that comes with diabetes. I worried that people would think I did this to myself, that I ate too much sugar.

1- Don’t hide and don’t be ashamed.

You have every right to walk around just like every single other student in that school. You’re no different. You just have an obstacle that you’re overcoming everyday. And that makes you pretty awesome.

2- Talk with your teachers when the semester starts.

Let your teachers know about Type 1, and the things you might have to do during class. Let them know that your blood sugar might go low, and that you might have to have some glucose tabs, or other food. Or that you might need to leave the class because of that. Let them know that you might have devices beep during class, and maybe ask them not to call it out when it happens if you don’t want to be pointed out. Let them know what to do in an unlikely emergency too. Better to be safe!

3- Listen to your body.

If you feel yourself going low or high, don’t tell yourself anything like “Oh, I’ll just wait until class is over.” You don’t have to! If you’ve let your teacher know that you may need to be excused from the class, go do what you need to do to take care of yourself!

4- Have snacks available.

Don’t get stuck in a situation where you’re low and have nothing on you to bring your blood sugar up. My suggestions would be to always have something in your pocket, like glucose tabs or gummies, and to also have your locker loaded with snacks. Especially juice boxes!

5- Remember that you have power.

Sometimes you might feel like Type 1 has all the power over your life. But the truth is, is that Type 1 Diabetes is a bump. But you are the mountain. It doesn’t change who you are, and please, please, try to remember that. Don’t pretend it isn’t there, but know that it doesn’t change anything. You are a high schooler, you are the things you love. You just happen to have an illness that has probably made your stronger than most of your peers. You’ve got this.

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