So my guidance councilor gives me the "don't let diabetes define you" talk every time we meet. Well today I asked him for a recommendation to work as a CIT at a DIABETES camp. He said "I would not recommend out control blood sugars like yours work at a diabetes camp because that is setting a bad example" I said "oh" felt the tears of anger start to come and walked out.
Eventually I will have to face my guidance councilor. What should I do? What would you do? Should I tell him how he stabbed me past my heart into my soul? Should I say "Well actually I was asking for a recommendation letter about me NOT MY DIABETES?
So the learned person who tells you not to let diabetes define your life wants you to make a life decision based on your diabetes. "I would not recommend..."
There is a big diference between suggesting – "You should (or did you) consider how...." and a flat out "I would not recommend.
Counselors counsel, they do not recommend or direct. If they get you to look at all alternatives, they have indeed counseled.
Have you considered that it may be time to start screening for your next counselor? Have you considered looking beyond academic history? You may want to consider interviewing potential counselors, PROBING to see how many interpretations they can give you for a single set of circumstances. Use your experience as a "hypothetical" and see how they handle this mock counseling event.
While it is reasonable to "not let diabetes define your life." it is also foolish not to define life choices and actions based on your diabetes. You would not stop BS control processes, for example. Your choice to control BS has defined at least that part of your daily routine (YOUR LIFE.) As my 8th grade English teacher liked to say - "watch out for glittering generalities."
TAKE CHARGE - not only of your diabetes, but also of the professionals you select to assist you.
But, if you want someone to make all your life decisions for you, it seems you've found the right cousnelor – make that LIFE DIRECTOR
Explain to your guidance counselor the process of keeping your sugars in check. In order to have tight control, you have to test. If you weren't testing often it would indicate lack of good control. With your a1c's, your frequent testing, and your desire to do more you are actually a VERY good example. Obviously your counselor is not qualified to make this call. Just take some time and talk to him about what type 1 entails and that you are looking for a recommendation based upon you, not your disease.
I would also consider reporting this judgement to your principal. The counselor is making medical decisions that he is not qualified to make. He also is not being a very good guidance counselor by tearing you down. You're doing well, keep fighting and you'll be fine without his letter.
Hi Gabby, Don't take it personally, whatever your "Guidance Counselor" did and said to you. It isn't a reflection of you. His words are a reflection of him. You will prevail. You will prove him wrong. You are wise and mature beyond your years. I want to commend you for managing your diabetes, especially under the circumstances whereby you do not have much support around you. I want to commend you for your interest in working at a Diabetes Camp. The fact that you want to do this kind of work says you are committed to helping others, hard-working and have a positive attitude. It is incredibly tough to have diabetes at your age, on top of all the usual stress teenagers face. Sometimes adults, even teachers, are not as sensitive as kids assume we should be. This is my perspective, as a former high school foreign language and social studies teacher, and as someone with T1 for 20+ years. Many adults have not dealt with a chronic condition such as diabetes, and therefore do not appreciate the 24/7 constant challenges of simply staying alive and well. Unfortunately, your Guidance Counselor, while he may be full of good intentions, has taken the wrong approach with you. He doesn't understand you. If he takes this approach with you, my hunch is that he has a pattern of judging and making assumptions. To share a related story with you to illustrate my point....I had a Guidance Counselor in high school my senior year, who told me not to bother applying to competitive universities. I don't know if he was being negative or lazy or both, but I recognized that I should disregard his discouragement. Against his will, I applied to 9 schools, and you know what? Much to his amazement, I was accepted everywhere I applied! I went to my 1st choice, Georgetown University. If I had taken his advice, I never would have lived my dream. Sometimes the right thing to do, is to listen to your heart and be your own cheerleader. You cannot change him. Focus on what you can do; for example, getting recommendations from other adults who know you: teachers, your diabetes educator or physician, a neighbor you have helped, or if you babysit - ask the parents to consider writing a letter for you. Heck, I haven't even met you, and I would be happy to be a reference for you based on your spunky initiative to reach out and ask for help in this forum. Keep us posted. I know you will continue to accomplish your goals! "TypeOneZoe" aka "Hoya Zoya"
Wow. Lots of great feedback. All of it is good even if not all of it is in total agreement. I didn't read each and every comment closely but I read enough to appreciate what a great opportunity this is for .... you, the CG, your school admin's, your friends and classmates, the D-camp, and all of the reader's of this blog. This is a great teaching/learning moment for pretty much everybody in the scenario. This isn't a right or wrong thing; it is a learning thing. Just print this thread, pass it around and ask for considered comment. Assuming your CG is open to self-assessment and willing to go there please do engage him in this conversation. This entire thread would make for a compelling discussion topic at the camp. Lots of lessons to be learned here covering very many different facets of not just diabetes management but also life in general. Simply put that's what the diabetes dance is all about; advanced lessons in paying attention. Happy dancing!
Please do continue to share on this thread re: further developments. I think it a worthy story line and I would love to hear how it all works out for you.
There are stories, and I'm sure they are just stories, of people getting drugged in a bar, slipped a mickey or something, and waking up with one of their kidneys missing.
I'm just letting my imagination run wild, and not serious at all, but it would almost be poetic justice for this mis-guidance counselor to wake up one morning without a pancreas.
Lots of great things have been said on this thread already, and I agree with most of them.
Points I would reiterate:
1. Diabetes is hard.
2. Diabetes has special complicating factors for teenagers.
3. Diabetes has more special complicating factors for females.
4. A 6.7 A1c is pretty good.
5. A high school student with a chronic disease like diabetes who wants to help other kids with the disease should be strongly encouraged do that.
I would write a letter to your guidance counselor so that you can express all that you want to say. I would begin by pointing out that refusing your request based on your medical condition is in fact discrimination and it was also hurtful. You could suggest that (if your BS is in fact out of control) you may benefit by being around others with diabtetes and gain some insight that may help you. School guidance counselors really should not be giving advice about any medical condition as they are not doctors and definately not well informed on medical conditions of any kind. I have had diabetes since I was 8 years old, and am now an adult. Mostly it is not that bad (I always comare it to other more serious medical conditions and feel glad that it is not anything worse- this CAN BE worked with!).
That said, discrimination is something you will deal with always. I have been fired from a job for taking 2 minutes to eat a quick snack when my BS was low. I was in school at that time and after my dad called the company they did apologize and offer my job back. I have been fired for "drug use" because a co-worker reported that I had needles in my purse (my boss knew I was diabetic and would not listen to my explanation). I have been questioned when my company found needles (most likely from truck drivers using illegal drugs) laying in the parking lot. It is frustrating, but you have to just explain yourself the best you can. Simply put, many people are very ignorant about subjects that they have little exposure to. Ignorance can be a nasty tool used against people, so do your best to educate others and hopefull they will understand.
Gabby, just curious, did you ever talk to your guidance counselor again after this? Please let us know what happens. I've been thinking about this a lot and am really curious!
First off Thank you to every single one of you who responded! I really appreciate it!
Okay, so here is the deal...
I everyone's responses and I contacted my endo who said she would be more than happy to write a letter of recommendation but she can't because she feels she is not allowed to do so. This upset me, but I am not upset with her its because Joslin has "lovely rules." However my neighbor who is Type 1 or 1.5 is going to. Also my resource teacher is going to write a letter of recommendation. She said I am a very mature high school student. We are very close! She has helped me with a lot of different things! I have learned so much from her! She has had such an impact on my life! Anyway so she is going to write one and that leaves me with 2 remaining. I have to find 2 more people! Anyway I have to admit I was 33 yesterday morning. It was my lowest blood sugar on the minimed and with in the past 2 years. I was scared out of my mind. My dog (who is not even a service dog) woke me up. But here I am! I guess even with a good amount of testing I can still have nasty BG's but I still had a good day! Today my BG's were truly amazing!Anyway so 2 down 2 to go!
A little about me...
I am 17 years old. I have been through a lot in my last (first) 17 years. I have a lot of other disabilities other than Diabetes but through them I have learned lessons that I swear some 75 year olds I have met don't I have been through serious times of depression but through each time I get stronger! Ever since I got my Minimed and Diabetes has been well "as good as it can for the teenage years" (as my endo says) I have been able to live my life and have learned so much in the past 4 months!
I would like to do as much DIabetes advocating as I possibly can. I want to advocate for not only me but other people with Diabetes and other disabilities. I have figured out my life purpose and that is to change as many lives as I can in my life! My goal is to have a positive impact on everyone I come in contact with! Even the people I see walking down the road! I love life and I think the earth is a beautiful place and I am so happy I get to enjoy it. I have been given a gift called life and I plan to maximize every second of it. I love to not only teach people things but learn from them too! Every moment-mistake, misunderstanding, misjudgment is a excellent teaching moment. I don't expect to know everything given I am a human but I plan on learning every day even after I go in to heaven! I believe we are ALL here for a purpose and my purpose is to teach and show everyone love. By love I mean a simple kindness and such as saying hello how are you to the person I pass by as I ride my pink razor scooter. No matter what even when get upset.
So there is my long overdue response again THANK YOU to everyone who responded!
Wonderful goals, Gabby. I think feeling the way you do that anyone would consider you an excellent role model for other people with Diabetes! Keep up the great work!
That's great news that you've found other sources of support! I'd also want to add that rather than "as good as it can", improving from whatever to 6.7 A1C-wise *during* your teenage years is an enormous and self-actualizing achievement. Don't beat yourself up if it drifts or whatever but I think that it sounds like you will be a great counselor and have a great attitude to share with other teenagers (and grown ups...) who may be trying to figure out how to figure it out?
Hi gabby. If you have a CDE, possibly he or she could give you a letter of recommendation? At any rate, you really are doing great. Looking ahead, I can hardly wait for your post describing your camp experiences.
What the heck....he's a guidance counselor, not a doctor, nor a counselor at a camp for diabetics!! What does HE know what constitute good control! If they WERE out of control, it can serve as a way to relate to the campers.
I would suggest to write it out in a letter. Put your feelings on paper, and give it to him with perhaps a foot note indicating that you may meet as a means for you to discuss the letter....or better still, to indicate that you merely wanted a reference letter and that the letter you gave him was a means of explaining why it is not in his realm of qualifications to determine whether you are in good control or not!
It takes all kinds!!