High School - Marching Band....and Girls

I categorize High School as having full Acknowledgement and Reaction of my Diabetes. I never viewed Diabetes as holding me back but with high school, there is an undercurrent of self-consciousness and the last thing I wanted to be known for was DIABETES. 

After Middle School, I was now able to tell if my blood sugar was going high, dropping low and I was ready and willing to correct when feeling any symptoms. I made eating snacks covertly a science in all of my classes and if I didn't run low I typically gave my snacks away to friends over the course of the day. 

I always had a Snack Bag. My friends to this day, still ask if I carry around my Snack Bag. Not only for my well-being but in case they get a sudden urge for Teddy Grahams or Juicy Juice. My snacks were not super well regulated - I don't recall any specifics like grams of carbohydrates. It was essentially enough to get me out of 4 Low BG events if I ever had any. My pump and injections were always in a pocket or within arms reach. 

I was in Marching Band (cool I know) and played the Tenor Saxophone. On more than one occasion I had snacks stuffed into the bell of my sax while we were practicing marching. I felt like Low BG levels hurt me more than High BG levels so that was my focus. I fear, looking back, that I may have run in the High 400s for hours on end because I didn't feel that bad. All of my teachers knew and understood that I was Mr. T1D and gave me a ridiculous amount of freedom to treat/eat/leave when I wanted. Needless to say, the school nurse and I were super close and she always kept a close eye on me. During any performances, I was able to stuff a juice box and glucose tabs into my uniform- I was readily prepped for any lows. My injections would always be with a parent or in my instrument case. Outside of marching band, I also played the Bassoon (think huge bong that makes a duck noise). I was able to keep snacks with me on my stand though in the 6+ years of performing music, I never had to resort to eating any snacks. My control was relatively decent considering individual CGM systems were still floating in the imagination of some engineer's heads. My whole focus was that I knew what lows felt like, I knew what highs felt like and I knew how to treat. I was a self-contained Diabetes machine and I feel like my ability to be confident with my condition kept my parents from being overbearing. To this day my mom still asks, "Are you low? Are you feeling OK?", so that's never ending :)

Diabetes played 'zero' role in any of my attempts to talk or meet with girls. It wasn't an issue that I ever felt needed to be addressed or discussed and I probably was trying to be "cool". I also didn't think bringing up a Chronic Autoimmune Disease would contribute anything to the romance. Any girl I was interested in may have known I was a Diabetic but it wasn't until things got serious (Asking "Will you go out with me?") that I would bring Diabetes up and maybe see if they could carry my shots. 

I'm asked, quite often by parents of T1Ds, if their kids will be able to successfully have a relationship. I think early relationships will blossom regardless of a kid's health. If their child has the confidence in not only themselves but their control with diabetes, it is not likely to come up. They will continue to grow up normally both emotionally and physically with Diabetes playing a smaller role. 

In my specific case, I was always interested in this girl in my English class so I sat behind her and tried talking to her for the whole semester (Diabetes was never brought up). We ended up having several classes together and I built up the confidence to ask her to be my girlfriend that summer (Diabetes was never brought up). It wasn't until after our first date that I explained Diabetes to her and asked her to hold my Insulin Pen case. It took a quite bit to share my Diabetes with a person I was interested in but I can tell you there is nothing more attractive than having a girl carry your insulin!