What to say to a newly diabetes diagnosed teen

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diabetes teens 300x199 What to say to a newly diabetes diagnosed teenThe  aura of invisibility I said to a newly type 2 diabetes diagnosed teen

Recently I had an opportunity to talk to a group of teens about type 2 diabetes. A friend had reached out to me about one of their family members whose daughter had just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and they were looking for some insight on the D life.

Talking to the family and the teen’s friends, I told them that my biggest challenge when I was diagnosed was the aura of invisibility.

I was diagnosed at 19 and I remember thinking that I had all the time in the world to take control of my diabetes. I don’t know if it was the way the doc explained it to me initially or the denial that I had diabetes or  that I had to Inject myself Insulin everyday with the little needle phobia I had going on or maybe it  was the fact that I had a job without Health benefits but these factors combined made me dump my initial diabetes management plan as soon as I felt better.

When I was diagnosed, the only two  things that I took from my doctor those first few days was that I needed to loose weight and that those nasty complications were more of a choice than a given, If I did the necessary things then I would be just fine.

Interpretation drop some weight, change your diet and you will be perfectly fine.

I wasn’t overweight by any stretch of the imagination but I wasn’t the ideal weight either so I focused entirely  on shedding the weight.

I upped my fitness routine, even went as far as using some Ephedra laced  weight loss pills (we didn’t know any better of the dangers back then) Lo and behold when I dropped the weight which by the way was only about 30 pounds or so, I felt much better and it was the excuse I needed to drop my diabetes management.

I mean I was feeling fine after all and I woulda given my left arm to stop those daily Injections.

While my circumstances might or might not have been unique, I think being out on my own at the time without the close knit support of family and making my own decisions without anyone else’s input made my justification that much easier.

Looking back, one of my biggest regrets was the fact that I didn’t my diabetes management sooner. Time will yet tell If I did irrevocable harm to my body because of those early decisions that I made.

In the  teen years, one  is just getting to understand their world and bodies a diabetes diagnosis if not handled correctly will lead to a lot of wasted decision making time.

The perceived time before diabetes complications can be misleading so the only advice I offered her was to not wait and start her diabetes management right away..

What advice would you offer a newly diagnosed teen with diabetes? please share your wisdom in the comments below and I will be happy to forward them. Thanks

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5 Comments

  1. While the complications of diabetes are always in the minds of adults, for kids, it’s more of a crimp in their developing independence. I think you need to ask what she sees herself doing in one year, five years, twenty years, and show how good diabetes management is needed to make those things possible. Ask her where she dreams of going, what she dreams of doing, and show how being as healthy as she can be — including good diabetes management — will help her get there.

    Another thing is that, while the whole diabetes thing is not cool, maybe she can bring some friends in on the act and they can *make* it cool for her…

    I don’t normally like the idea of “shock therapy”, but for some teens it works. If it is something that would work for her, then suggest she volunteer at a center that handles a lot of PWD with complications.

    If she is, like you, African-American, I’d also reach out to the ADA. There are programs aimed specifically towards African-Americans which may make it easier for her to find a place to “fit in” as a PWD. And don’t forget Divabetics! There are so many aspects of the Divabetic program that can dial right into a teen’s self-empowerment…

  2. Thank you, I have recently been looking for facts about this question for a while and yours is the best I have found so far.

  3. Much informative and useful article… I like it personally…

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