Smmtc, I am so sorry that you are going through this with your son. I can't imagine what you are going through. I am the diabetic. But I will tell you this, nearly every diabetic goes through a period where they say "the hell with it". None of us wants to deal with this disease but ultimately we are left with little choice. Your son is 19 and there is still so much he wants to do and right now he just sees diabetes and something that just gets in the way. I have no easy answer for you. Wish I did. There are so many parents, spouses and significant others who deal with the same things you are dealing with. Check out the group of parents of kids with T1 http://www.tudiabetes.org/group/parentsofkidswithtype1 they might be able to help.
I am so sorry. He is going through a rebellious stage or "diabetes fatigue." I think everyone, myself included, gets so sick and tired of dealing with all of the nuances that this condition entails. Myself, I will NEVER like being Diabetic but even though I think it sucks I'm living a "normal" and healthy life because I've just accepted Diabetes as a part of it. He has to get to that sort of acceptance.
Honestly, aside from telling him the ramifications of such a decision (i.e. the complications that come from not controlling your blood sugar), there is not much you can do. The decision has to be his. And I feel terrible for not being able to offer a better a solution!
What's always worked for me was having hobbies. Even when they were not entirely productive (partying a lot, although I also learned how to play guitar, so it was not a complete wasted of time...), I wanted to keep my BG stable enough so I didn't kill everyone's buzz by passing out. It may also have helped that, in our circle, people passing out wasn't all that unusual so I was "just one of the gang" as opposed to "the guy who passes out!"
Since then, I've sort of kept it up, my "rough years" were when I was a bit older as I did ok but was very lazy and overshot a lot of insulin and gained weight. I started exercising after that, moderately at first and then sort of threw myself into it and, again, didn't want diabetes to stop me. Part of the reason I decided to try to improve my general health/ weight/ etc. was noticing some obits for guys my age, or even younger, w/ the JDRF listed for "donations". I'm very sorry your son is reacting that way to the challenge and hope that he can find some motivation!
Along with Acidrock23's excellent comments I would add the following:
i was detected/diagnosed as type 2 in the 1980's and I too did not do enough to get the mess under control.
While not peddling reformation and other issues, ones life can be extended and improved if one gets on to this mess, finds a good team of doctors, dietitions, exercise, helpful web sites and other good folks to chat with.
I started to deal partly with it but finally cleaning up mess took delay of 30 years?, a stroke ( I was most fortuantely with a very limited - in place calcified stroke due to excess glucose) and spent last 4 years driving issues, proper eating skills/diet and sufficient exercise ( all recommended by acidrock23 and others). Unless one is in the Pine Box, My experience suggests it is never to late to make changes - but the earlier the better.
Fix it now, and one can have a long and excellent life that albiet has some extra dancing and inconvenience but does not necessarily limit one's life totatlly or seriously.
There are worst ways to go.
i pray your son gets some help, guidance and assistance to see the light at the end of the tunnel and learning the dance needed to facilitate that. His future really is in his hands.
My 16 yo son was diagnosed almost four years ago and he still goes through denial like you've described. Your experience is not uncommon. My son lives with my ex-wife (thankfully we get along very well). His mother and I handle these situations differently. As a point of understanding, perhaps it will help to know that he is trying to exercise control - not the kind of control you'd like, but control nonetheless. In addition, as a 19 yo, your son is likely responding to you (as an authority figure) with as much resistance as that reserved for the disease. In addition, my experience has revealed that scare tactics (in the form of trying to explain the long term health consequences) don't work. In fact, in many cases, my son can't be reasoned with. My ex-wife is especially skilled at managing the kind of situation you've described. One important and particularly effective tactic she's learned is not to over-react out of fear.
The A1C is important and reflective of blood glucose trends but it is hard to use as a tool day-to-day. If the day-to-day management improves, the A1C will likely improve. When in the moment, unless his sugar goes dangerously low (doesn't sound like that's a problem) or it goes so high that ketones become an issue, don't go crazy - be matter of fact, respectful, informed and prepared. Control issues driven by fear add to an already tense situation. How you react is important and it sets a standard for how he will eventually respond.
I have to second everything that type1moms has said. Scare tactics or trying to reason with your son about how his behavior now will negatively affect him in the future won't work because his brain isn't wired to think that way yet. The part of our brain that gives us the ability to think about how what we do now affects the future doesn't even develop fully until age 25! So, it's hard for teenagers and young adults to see the consequences of their actions because their brain literally physically hasn't fully developed that ability. Additionally, like type1moms said, he's probably trying to find something or someway to feel in control of his life. I agree whole heartedly with the suggestion to not over-react and keep a level head when discussing things like this with your son. Additionally, something that helped me immensely when I was his age was meeting other diabetics my age, too. Even if they weren't the "perfect" diabetics it was SO helpful to know that there were other people out there like me, in my same situation, who understood what I was going through. It almost "normalized" diabetes for me, if that makes any sense? Another suggestion I have is to find a counselor that specializes in chronic illness and have your son see them if he's open to it. If he's not open to it, it may be helpful for you to meet with the counselor so they can help give you some strategies for dealing with your son and helping him find his way through navigating this illness. Hope things start getting better for you guys, hang in there!
Hi Smmtc - I can imagine how frightening this is for you and your family - and especially your son!! My youngest son is now 18 - he was dx when he was 2. It is to be expected that your son will hate his D - the question is how to get him to want to feel better both physically and mentally (which means taking care of his condition). It is so hard to advise on a message board since none of us know the daily ins and outs and what you have tried in the past 11 months. SInce your son is a young man it is important to get him to see that D will not limit him in anyway - unless he let's it by not taking care of himself. I am sure he has told you that he has no interest in meeting other people his age with D - but I can't encourage you enough to get him to the Children With Diabetes conference in July in Orlando - not sure where you live but there are many people his age there and they all have to deal with the same issues as he does - sadly.
Is your son in school - working? what are his goals - has he changed his goals or abandoned his goals since his diagnoses? are his friends involved in helping him? Any and all of these things might be able to get him looking forward again and that will help him want to take care of himself.
I hope this helps - please don't hesitate to reach out or private message - I am always happy to help if I can!!
I am sorry to hear about these difficulties. You are certainly not alone. It sounds like there is a lot going on here. Not all of it is necessarily related to diabetes. My perspective would come from closer to him than you. Be patient. nudge him in the right direction when possible. Avoid being preachy, heavy - handed, or panicking. This may provoke him to be even more reckless and self destructive, as young men tend to be at this age. Say your piece, if you must, and move on. Managing diabetes is about the long term. Good luck to you both. I wish you the best.
Wow, I am sorry for what you're going through. Unfortunately, given that your son is a legal adult, there's only so much you can do. Preventing him from driving was smart, and I hope he's complying because you're right, he could hurt someone.
Scare tactics don't work. But perhaps talking with him about how this is making you feel as his mother might. I would also seriously recommend finding a counselor or psychologist that has experience in these issues to assist your family. Also, talk with your son's endo if you can about other professional resources that might be available.
Be honest with your son - tell him that there's nothing you can do to force him to take care of himself. T1 is a bad hand to be dealt but you can live with it. He has to want to live with it.
If he is feeling depressed, he needs to understand that those feelings may be partially the result of the really high blood sugar. With an A1C of 14, he's running average blood sugar level of over 400. That makes my head hurt just typing it. A BG that high makes you feel horrible and can dramatically increase symptoms of depression.
Will he discuss this issue at all with you? When you do approach him, what is his reaction?
So true. When I went into the hospital, pre diagnosis, my A1C was 12! I can't imagine going at 400.
My son is only 12, and was diagnosed at 8 so we are in a very different place. However, we heard this guy in 2009 at a conference and we really enjoyed it. There are some good thoughts and ideas. I don't know how much would be applicable in your situation but I think it's still worth watching. The second half is the more useful info if you don't have a lot of time, but the whole thing is good if you want to feel like you aren't alone. :)