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Question:

From San Antonio, Texas, USA:

I would like some suggestions on dealing with a 15 year old teenager who is "sick of diabetes." I just found out that, for the past few months, she has not been testing regularly before breakfast, some snacks and insulin doses. She has been very responsible for the past seven years, and knows how to take proper care of herself, but she just isn't doing it anymore. She has a very negative attitude now, just doesn't seem to care about herself and could care even less about diabetes. She wears a pump, and rather than test and adjust, just runs high. Her last A1c was 8.9, and she is still not doing the extra blood glucose tests needed to improve. I am frustrated and at a loss. The doctor and I can't do much if she won't help herself.

Answer:

It is completely normal to become "sick" of diabetes. It is, after-all, a disease that must be managed 365 days a year, 24 hours per day. If your child is no longer making safe choices regarding diabetes care because of feeling overwhelmed by the burden of the disease, then it is of the utmost importance that you take over the diabetes care tasks, at least for a while. Sometimes, taking a break from being the one to do all of the thinking, planning, and decision-making around diabetes is the respite teens need to be able to take over the demands of diabetes again. It would also be helpful to sit down with your child and ask your child to tell you all of the reasons why living with diabetes has become more difficult and more frustrating lately. You may be surprised by your child's answers. Also, ask your child what kinds of things you can do to relieve some of that burden. Remember that "knowing" what to do has nothing at all to do with being able to muster up the energy and emotional reserves necessary to do those things. You and your child might also benefit from reading a book entitled Diabetes Burnout by Dr. William Polonsky. It is published by the ADA, and has wonderful, practical advice about how to handle the times when you feel overwhelmed by the daily demands of living with diabetes.

JWB

DTQ-20041019001910
Original posting 20 Oct 2004
Posted to Behavior and Blood Tests and Insulin Injections

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:58
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