A day in the life of my teenager with Type 1

   There are people who think that teenagers are hopeless,that they know everything and nothing. I work with teenagers every day and I love them. I see the struggles they have as they grow and the frustrations they have with this crazy world we live in. It’s not all doom and gloom! They have great friendships, and many a belly laugh in their days. 

I now add to that the awe I feel for my own child who has Type 1 diabetes. He does everything a normal teenager does, but in amongst that, this is what he does in an average school day, with some realistic complications thrown in.

This will be different to every other person with Type 1 diabetes as it’s not a one size fits all disease. My son does not have a pump. He might choose to have one in the future but at the moment he prefers to inject his insulin. 

Growth spurts, hormones and a busy life means levels can be crazy. I read about this all the time in blogs of other people who have children with Type 1 or who have Type 1 themselves.

I showed this daily routine to one of my best friends and she started to cry. That was not the purpose of showing her but it made me realise how amazing our teenagers with T1 are. To navigate the teenage years is hard enough but to add this in is just awe inspiring!

A Normal Day
6.30am Wake up. Clean finger. Blood glucose test. Calculate insulin required. Inject insulin. Wait 15 minutes for breakfast. Weigh breakfast cereal. Measure out milk. 

Pack hypo kit for school – check enough insulin, needles, finger wipes, poppers, shapes for the day. 

Pack lunch for school. Check that the carbs are enough to cover recess, lunch and extras for emergencies.

Morning tea – recess. Clean finger. Check blood glucose. Have morning tea.

Lunch – Clean finger. Check blood glucose. Calculate carbs. Calculate and inject insulin

Afternoon tea – Clean finger. Check blood glucose, calculate carbs, calculate and inject insulin

Dinner – Clean finger. Check blood glucose, calculate carbs, weigh and measure food, calculate and inject insulin

9.30pm – Clean finger. Check blood glucose levels, inject long acting insulin, write down all blood glucose levels for day, go to bed

In Reality

The following things can be added to the list on a regular basis:

– Wake up hungry and with a headache due to hypos / high levels the previous day. Have to wait 15 minutes after insulin for food. 

– Refuse cake/lollies being given out as prizes and treats in class as you know you cannot snack.

– Hypo at start of morning tea – have popper, wait 15 minutes. Recess ends – no morning tea? Bell has rung. Decision?

-Sport/PASS/PDHPE – just had hypo but levels have come up. Safe to play but where do you keep hypo treatment?

-Hypo at dinner time. Do Blood Glucose test – cannot have dinner yet. Treat hypo – wait 15 minutes. Retest Blood Glucose levels. If levels in range eat dinner.

– BGL high due to having cold /stress of assignments. Don’t want to ask teacher for extension. Feel a bit sick. Stay up to finish assessment tasks. Go to bed at 11pm. Retest Blood Glucose levels.

-3am – woken up for a Blood Glucose test as levels were high/low at bedtime.


4 thoughts on “A day in the life of my teenager with Type 1

  1. As a mother that also has a child with T1D and is completely familiar with this day-to-day sometimes-soul-sucking-routine, I can say that this still sounds worse than our days. Maybe it’s the difference in country, in health care providers, I don’t know, but Kelsey never refuses a snack at school and she never waits to eat a meal. Our care providers told us from the beginning that she can have those treats at school. Ideally she should go to the nurse to take insulin first, but if she can’t, just to be aware that her blood sugar will be high and to take insulin to bring it down as soon as she gets home. For meals, they told us to treat the low and go ahead and take the meal as usual. Her A1C was 6.5 at her last checkup just this month and have always been really good, so they’re very happy with how she’s doing. They were adamant from the very first day she was diagnosed that she not feel different or that she couldn’t do something or eat something, etc. She now has a pump and a CGM and it has made a HUGE difference! I think her only regret was waiting 5 years to get it!


    1. Thanks for your thoughts! It really is such a complex issue and thankfully we are able to tailor what works best for each PWD.
      We have an amazing set of health care professionals to back us up and many of these routine details are based on my son’s individual reaction to various situations. My son doesn’t want a pump and I completely respect that this is his choice. He knows he can change his mind whenever he wants. Having a pump would perhaps give him other options to snack and currently, based on trying it out, we have found even small lollipops or chocolate treats between meals send his BGL way too high.
      The other details all came about through trial and error and looking at this with my son making the decisions along with his team. He is a central part of the decision making process.
      I’d had some issues with my son’s school and needed them to see that behind this big, strong boy was an amazing set of decisions being made every day. I didn’t end up using this with the school but found it an eye opener to write down the kind of decisions he has to make every day.
      Reading this blog (https://diabetogenic.wordpress.com), I was amazed to read that the average PWD makes 121 diabetes related decisions every day.
      Like you, from day one of diagnosis, we have made sure that diabetes had had to fit into our lives and not the other way around.
      Good luck on your journey with your child. Thanks for taking the time to connect!


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