Saturday, April 14, 2012


Shortly after being diagnosed I went on a cruise, then moved away to college, attended parties, had sleepovers, shopping trips and visited friends and family for dinners and at no time did someone tell me they didn't want me over because I was too much of a burden being diabetic.  At no time was I refused because I 'might' go low or have high blood sugar.   I did what I wanted and was welcomed anywhere that I went, so how come children are being refused by their company just because they are seen as a 'burden' being diabetic.

After talking to a twelve year old diabetic today I realized that it isn't uncommon for children to feel like diabetes is holding them back from being a 'regular' kid and at first I thought it was their parents that was the cause of this (and I understand sometimes it is...) but to my surprise it also is the children's friend's parents.  It broke my heart when she said to me, "I was supposed to go to Port Dover this weekend with one of my friends, but her mom didn't feel comfortable having me for that long . . . But I know that I can do it by myself, but I guess they are just nervous to take me in their care, which sucks."  

I couldn't help but feel like I should drive her to the beach so she could enjoy a day out without worrying that someone was too worried about her.  As a 12 year old girl, she is being refused by her friends parents because they are too worried.   Is this happening with other children that are allergic to bees? prone to falling? that have strange phobias?  Why are diabetic children not even given a chance to enjoy a great sleepover or an afternoon adventure with their friends?

My concern is that this could be psychologically damaging.  Diabetic children never experiencing the over night birthday party their best friends are hosting or a night at the movie theatres.  Although I understand that parents think dealing with a diabetic child may be time consuming, it really isn't hard to follow the steps of making sure they check their blood sugar, take insulin and feel good.  Most of all diabetic children aren't totally oblivious about their diabetes.

When I talked to a few parents of diabetic children I learned that many of the diabetic parents I knew seemed to consider themselves lucky having their children make friends with more involved mothers and fathers.   The parents said that for the most part it is about preparing your children so that they can have that independence when going to a sleepover or a day trip with another family.   But, when talking to a few diabetics that have since grown up it seems that the hesitation was coming from all different ways.

Most said that it was their own hesitation on going with other families on trips or sleepovers because they didn't want to have to give themselves needles on their own.   Funny enough those that did venture off to friends houses for slumber parties were in the care of their friend's mother, who was a nurse. Others note that it wasn't so much the other children's parents that were not willing to take them on, it was more so their own parents that were worried about leaving too much responsibility to other parents.

But, like the mothers of diabetic children noted, is it important to prepare you children so that going to a sleepover isn't out of the question. When a child is prepared - sending she/he off won't be a problem for the parent, the child and the his or her friend's parents.   Lara, who was diagnosed in grade seven and is now in her twenties said that was known as the 'resposible' child because she was prepared to act on her diabetes and because she was seen this way she said that many of the skating parents were fine with having her over or taking care of her if her mother wasn't available.

So, it must be true that there is a mix bag of reasons why diabetic children and teens are sometimes feeling like being a 'regular' kid is tough when it comes to exploring things on their own. Educating those around you about your disease is the most important part about it, so that when you look back on your childhood you don't feel like your mixed the late night phone pranks, drawing marker on the first person who feel asleep's face and the day trip to the splash park your friends did.



  1. Kayla, I am really inspired by your blog. Your good intention within the blog and your writing sets a smile onto my face. You seem to be a really experienced blogger, so I would really love some feedback from you. I just started blogging a week ago and really have no idea what I'm doing.

    I hope you give my blog a visit! You have a new follower =).

  2. My dearest Kayla, I live in Jordan which is thousands of miles away from you, but I love reading your post because you make me understand how living with diabetes can be for a young lady. As I read you are surprised that parents would hesitate to have a diabetic child sleep over at their home, but in my country my dear schools would hesitate to accept a diabetic child, and when I say schools I mean the good private schools that are quite expensive and applies the most recent educational strategies and yet they do hesitate to accept a child and in most of the cases if they can find a way out to reject the child they will. So don't blame parents because they are afraid of the additional responsibility that diabetes brings. Keep on your good work and god bless you

  3. I was diagnosed in 1965 at the age of 5. I never had a home glucose meter until 1984, and I only got it because I was pregnant with my first child. In the 1960's we did not count carbohydrates, we were on a "diabetic" diet. A diabetic diet was basically a calorie diet. You had so many calories of fruits, vegetables, breads (carbohydrates) dairy, fats and proteins for each meal. Our insulin was based on what our urine sugars read and were raised or lowered according to that. Until I was in high school, I was on one injection of NPH Beef insulin a day.

    When the diabetic child talks about a birthday party, a sleep-over, going to movie, their parent(s) must contact the parents of their child's friend and ask if there are any concern. Let them know their child has things under control. This is why I never had any problems with any of my friends or their parents about me going places with them. I had many sleep-overs. Most of my friends had siblings and THEY wanted to watch me inject myself with my insulin.

  4. i LOVE this post Kayla! Since Emma is now 8 years old...we are fast approaching the sleepover age. Yes it terrifies me, but I hope that some of her friends parents will be willing to step up to the plate and help make this happen for her. I hope that we are one of the lucky ones.