Before Prom: The Preparations of Prom with Diabetes

Prom is the final dance for teens finishing high-school. A night of catered food, group photos, dancing and reminiscing about the past four years. In general, planning for prom can be a task, finding the perfect dress, matching heels, and  a date.  We spoke to Cayla (17) about how she is preparing for her prom.

What are you most looking forward to about your prom?

“I most look forward to dressing up, spending the night with my friends and having a date to do the date rituals with.”

When you picked a dress for prom did you take into consideration where you can put your pump? 

“When picking a dress I did not consider my pump at all. I don’t think that should affect your decision. I am most likely going to wear a leg band. When choosing a clutch I kind of took my supplies into consideration but mostly what I liked best and went with my dress because I can always wear my CGM if I do not want to carry my meter around.”

Do you have any worries about going to prom with diabetes? 

“The only worry is getting to my pump when I need to bolus as I will have to leave the dance to go to the bathroom. I am not concerned about carb counting as I consider myself an old pro who often checks in with the dietitian to make sure my skills are still on point.”

Have you read any blogs or resources about prom and diabetes or are you going to just experience it on your own?

“I have attended D-tour which has young women with T1D who have experienced prom and offered me different pointers based of their experiences and friends experiences.”

Do you have any advice for teens going to prom? 

“Make sure to be prepared. If you do not know how the evening is planned out ask a teacher who plans it, and older sibling/friend. This way you will know where and when you are eating and how all the excitement will affect you. Remember, having your diabetes taken care of ahead of time will help to make prom just as perfect as you dream it would be.”

We will follow up with Cayla after prom to see how it went and if she has any new found information to share with us!

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From Pen to Pump: Starting Insulin Pump Therapy in High-School

There are different methods of administering insulin for those living with type 1 diabetes, some prefer syringes, others use pens and there are also insulin pumps. No method is worse nor better, they all provide different pros and cons and each person living with type 1 diabetes finds what works best for them.  We spoke to Melissa (17) about her recent switch from pen to pump while attending high-school.

What was it like going from pens to needles?

“I love my pump! Sometimes I wish that I could go back to pens because of the site being in the way, but overall I love not using pens.”pump

How long were you on pens? How long have you been on a pump? 

“I was on pens for 19 days short of a year. I have been on my pump since April 7 of this year (2015).” 
How did life change for you in regard to going to school with a pump versus pen?

“There is a lot of beeping that is involved with the pump that I didn’t have on the pens. But my friends and I like to go out for lunch and it is so much easier to walk and eat with a pump.”

How did your friends react when you went on the pump?

“My friends were awesome when I went on the pump. They accepted me and asked questions about it.”

Has the pump benefited you in high-school?

“The pump has helped me a lot because of being able to eat anywhere and take insulin so easily.”

Have you experienced any bully like scenarios because of your pump/diabetes?

“Not really. Some people will say that it must be hard or that they could never have diabetes but that’s just because they are ignorant towards diabetes.”

 Has anything embarrassing happened in regards to school and your pump? 

“I’ve had my pump beep during presentations which is loud. I’ve got my tubing caught on my binder and yelled. That’s about it.”

Overall, has pumping been a positive experience thus far?

“I love my pump so much! I can’t imagine ever going back to pens now. Sometimes it is hot and bulky but I just remember how life was with pens then I don’t complain anymore.”

Special Event: Yoga in the Park

Last night fifteen eager yogis set up  yoga mats on the cold grass and stretched their bodies and  minds. T1 Empowerment hosted their first yoga in the park at Springbank Park in London, ON. A community event to help spread awareness about T1 Empowerment as well as to give all a chance to clear their minds and relax after a hard days work.

With great attendance we were guided by Kendra, a nurse practitioner who knows diabetes all too well, with a four year old t1 daughter and a t1 husIMG_6146band as well.  Kendra started off with light stretching, but guided us right into some tough poses, that tested our strength and endurance.  We held planks while groaning, but it was all worth it in the end when we laid on our backs, eyes closed and relaxed our bodies from our feet to our heads.

The raffle was great, giving away a bright green yoga mat & bag to a lucky winner.  Our little helper E, waved around the yoga mat encouraging our participants to enter the draw.   We all enjoyed cold bottles of water and fresh apples and engaged in great conversation.

A special thanks to Kendra H., Medtronic Diabetes and Mike O.

For more information about yoga & diabetes, check out our resource page.

Party Mix: Partying, Alcohol and Diabetes

High-school can often be the start of a lot of experiences
that are often full of choices that are hard to make.  The party scene continues into college and while it calms down in later adulthood, high-school is often when teens have their first drink.  According to www.ccsa.ca 70% of Canadian youth have tried drinking and Canadian youth first consume alcohol at the average age of 16.  But, when you throw diabetes in the mix, partying can become much more of a risk.

I spoke to a teen (16) about her experiences with attending parties. She gave the following answers:

What changed from attending parties as a non diabetic versus now?

I didn’t really attend parties so much unless it was birthday parties before Red Cups 18ozbecause I was a young age. But if it was a birthday party/function before I was diabetic I felt comfortable normally with the situations and wasn’t very worried. Now that I’m diabetic I get anxious about all the things I need to keep with me and counting carbs. I also get anxious about not wanting people to stare at me because I have to test my blood sugar or bolus. It tends to make situations more uncomfortable for me.”

Do you feel less inclined to take care of your diabetes in public at parties because of the social aspect?

“I always feel less inclined to take care of my diabetes in public or at parties because I feel very watched. I feel like it’s easier to avoid testing for awhile and bolusing just so I don’t have to deal with weird looks and questions so often. It tends to take up a bunch of my time too and starts to worry me, so I often fool myself by thinking I’m fine if I don’t test. Which I know isn’t right and it’s a bad habit.”

When entering high-school and parties with friends became more of an occurrence did diabetes ever detour you from attending? If so, why? How?

“At first when parties started becoming more prominent in my life and reoccurring, I found that for a long time I stayed well away from them because I was way too scared that something would go wrong with my diabetes. I also felt that none of my friends would care enough to help. I was detoured from socializing in that manor. I felt as if me going out and having fun would mess with my diabetes.”

How has alcohol played a factor in your diabetes? What precautions do you use to prevent something bad from happening such as passing out or going low?

“I don’t really drink alcohol often, and if I am at a party I will sometimes have a drink or two if my friends are drinking. If you choose to drink, especially if underage and without adults, there are precautions you must take in order to have a safe night.

Always always bring your tester, an emergency kit with any extra supplies you may need, and lots of treats and snacks for lows, because of the way alcohol effects the blood sugar it’s hard to tell how your body will respond to it. I know taking all these things with you seems really hard like  “how can I fit this all in a purse?” But don’t be ashamed to bring a backpack, trust me people bring bags to parties all the time! And put all your supplies you need in the bag. If you take the bag off always talk to the owner of the house or wherever you are and ask them to put it in a safe spot where it won’t be stolen or seen and make sure you know where it is.

Make sure before you go to a party that you have insulin in your pump or have your pen. Make sure your battery is full on everything including your meter and pump also, make sure your phone has closest to full battery as possible invade of emergencies. Always make sure you have at least one friend that you trust 100% that you can go to if you have ANY problems throughout the night!

Also, always plan your ride home, that goes for anyone even if you’re not diabetic. Always have at least 20-25$ if possible depending on where you are in relation to your home or where you’re staying, incase you ever need to cab home. Also, keep a cab number in your phone so you always have it.

I have forgotten supplies at someone’s house and had to have them bring them back to me at school so make sure you remember your stuff when your leaving! Set a reminder in your phone if needed! Don’t ever feel ashamed that you need to bolus or test! Keep track of your numbers. I promise that  most people don’t care, and if they do all they’re going to do is ask what you’re doing and  a lot of people are just curious and care about you. If you are drinking, have reminders in your phone to test your BG at least every hour, if not every 30 minutes. Some people don’t feel their lows when in certain party environments.

If you feel sick or if something wrong or you BG is off, TELL SOMEONE. Take a breather, test, sit outside, go to the washroom, grab some water, whatever you need. Remember parties and events are meant to have fun! That means sometimes we just have to do a little extra work in order to have a safe and fun night!”

For more information about diabetes and alcohol please visit: Diabetes & Alcohol or check out the resource page on our website.

Sleeping Bags & Test Strips: Sleepovers & Diabetes

Sleepovers are a common occurrence in elementary school and high-school.  Late nights, junk food, scary movies, all nighters and gossip make weekend sleepovers the best. But what is it like to attend sleepovers as a person with type 1 diabetes, I spoke to Mackenzie (13) about her experiences.

Do you feel like diabetes affected your freedom to go to friends/sleepovers?sleepover

“Yes, I do feel like diabetes as affected my freedom. There will be times where I will have plans with my friends to go shopping, to the movies and then go back for a sleepover. I will go really low or really high and I will have go home or if I have had a really bad low day and I can’t go at all.  Sometimes I think that if I didn’t have diabetes I would have more freedom to sleepover.”

What extra steps are needed in order to go sleepover at someone’s house compared to when you didn’t have diabetes?

“Some extra steps are, when packing for a sleepover you have to make sure that you have extra supplies and make sure you have your tester.  I also test every hour or so to make sure I’m fine. You should also make sure you have extra food for the night so if you go low in the middle of the night you have food or juice and also making sure you ask your friends what’s for dinner so you know the carbs .  If I didn’t have diabetes I wouldn’t have to any of that.”

Have you ever felt discriminated against by a parent or friend who neglected to have you over because of your diabetes?

“I guess I have. There have been times where I have been the only one not invited to sleepovers and that was more towards the beginning when I was first diagnosed not so much now. I was close and really good friends with a couple of girls and when I got diagnosed it was as if I wasn’t there anymore they didn’t talk to me and never invited me to anything.”

Has anything bad ever  happened while you were at a sleepover? 

“Lots of things have happen to me. Such as,  I don’t know how many times I have forgotten my tester , supplies or I have gone really low or high. Sometimes, my site has come out or it’s not working right.”

What advice do you have for teens with diabetes when going to sleepovers?

“Some advice would be  to bring extra supplies, bring extra food, test blood sugar when needed so you don’t go low and have to go home. Also I bolus for everything even if I have a couple chips.  It is really important to bolus and test so that your blood sugar does not go too high while you’re at your friend’s house.”

Hide & Seek: Highschool & Diabetes

Diabetes in high-school can be a game of hide and seek.  Testing, pumping, injecting is often done in lockers, bathrooms or in private for both fear of others judging or embarrassment. Teens can be very fearful of what others will think or how they are going to manage their diabetes while in school.

high school.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-largeEarlier this week I interview Cayla (17) who was diagnosed at age six.

I was curious to know how teens deal with the fears of high school & diabetes I asked these questions and got the following responses:

What fears did you have in regards to your diabetes when you entered high-school:

“Talking to teachers about having diabetes because I no longer had one teacher, but four and many more for the next four years. I didn’t want to address my teachers at first but, I found it was more affective than telling them on the spot when I ran into problems.”

Did your diabetes care decline in highschool because of peers/social events?

“Literally if I didn’t do something it was because of my own issues not because of other people. I guess there were times when I would wear certain outfits and have my pump clipped to my bra but only because the outfit looked better that way. Then I would forget to bolus because it was in my shirt and I didn’t want to reach up my shirt.  But eventually I just started reaching up my shirt regardless.

I pretty much never test at lunch at school because I find it a hassle to go get my meter. When I do test, I test at my locker  or at the lunch table but I generally avoid it. As much as I am open about my diabetes, other people don’t have to test. They just eat. So, I start eating too and before I know it I forgot to test. If I feel low I generally just eat and do not worry about testing. It’s easy to brush off not testing. It’s just one prick a day is what I always think. How big of a deal can it be? But, the thing is, it does matter. That one blood sugar can affect the amount of insulin you take for that meal which can affect you for the rest of the afternoon. If you don’t you could be low in a class which is a disruption and I often will just suspend my pump to avoid having to leave class for a low (I keep my food in my locker, my car, or the office).”