Age 17, just diagnosed

Hi everybody!
I was diagnosed with Type 1 on June 19th, just a few days ago (...and just a few days after my 17th birthday... what a great gift! haha)
I'm just looking for support. I'm already pretty good at using my pens and stuff, but I'm so nervous for going back to school in the fall, and going out to eat with friends, etc. (Although, my nurse gave me a Calorie King book and it looks really good)
I also do a lot of musical theatre so I am trying to figure out how to manage this with my physical activity and stuff.
Frankly, I'm pretty overwhelmed! Age 17 seems like a hard time to suddenly have a disease like this.
If anybody has some general tips, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks so much!

- Devin

Hi Devin! I know it's overwhelming at first, but don't worry, it does get easier. My daughter was diagnosed 15 months ago at age 10. She's also very into musical theater. Since she's been diagnosed she's played Cinderella in Cinderella, a homeless child in RENT, an Ancestor in Mulan, an old woman in Music Man, Yertle the Turtle in Seussical, and she's currently in practice for Sweeney Todd. Diabetes hasn't even slowed her down.

In the beginning you should be prepared to test often, and bring a lot of snacks. When Sarah's in a show, I have her test immediately before, during intermission, and after. She usually eats something during intermission. You will soon learn how your level of activity affects you.

As far as eating out, I'll admit that it's more difficult. We try as much as we can to eat at home because the stuff that's in restaurant foods can play havoc with bloodsugar. However, a lot of it is about making good choices. Try to stay away from really fatty foods and high carb foods. You will learn that different foods affect you differently. When we go out, Sarah usually chooses something like baked chicken or fish, a sweet potato (no toppings), and a salad. Sometimes she gets more adverturous, and she'll be high later - and we just deal with it because sometimes you just need to treat yourself!

Good luck to you. It's hard, but you can do anything you want to do. Don't let diabetes slow you down.


There are other teens on this site so keep an eye out for them. You are going to be just fine. You will have to learn a lot but you seem smart and ambitious so you will okay.

Try reading the book Think Like a Pancreas. It is really helpful. We also got a scale to weigh food that tells us the carbs. It is really helpful.

Hey Devin,

I'm 17 too, diagnosed at 9. It must be hard being diagnosed at this age though, as if you don't already have enough to deal with! All I can say is that it will get easier every day. I'm not involved with musical theater but I have played every sport you can imagine, I'm involved with lots of clubs at my school and I go out to eat with friends whenever I want. (In fact, I just did last night and afterwards I was 129!) Before you know it all this stuff will be second nature and it will never slow you down or keep you from doing what you want to do. Hang in there and good luck!


Hey Devin,

I was just dx'd in April after moving nearly 3 hours from my family in Jan. It's been rough esp since I'm on my own. For me I adjusted really well at first but then after a while it sunk in that it'll never go away, until they find a cure & since then I hacn't been handling it as well. Hopefully you have insurance  bc without it, diabetes is horrrrribly expensive. :/ If you need to talk let me kno! :)

hey devin.

i'm sure you're feeling totally overwhelmed right now. it's a lot to adjust to.  just breathe. take it one day at a time. let us know if you have questions.

you can do this!

Hey Devin,

I'm 18 and I was diagnosed last year, at age 17 too. When I went back to school last fall, I started packing my own lunch - It was just easier to count the carbs and much healthier than the school's food. Those calorie king books are great, but I'd still recommend you look up nutrition information on specific restaurant websites - there's more information and it's updated more frequently.

And lots of people remain active after diagnosis (it's suggested). I did lights for musicals at my school, and I ran cross country and track. You'll just have to take less insulin if you plan on exercising. They say to take half of what your dose should be, but I take a little less than half if I'm exercising in the morning. In the afternoon, however, I don't have to take any insulin with my pre-run snack. That's because of the "dawn phenomenon" - Basically, you're more insulin-resistant in the morning so you might require more insulin to keep your blood sugars normal.

Good luck with everything!



Like others have said, it's going to be all right and you will figure out how to take care of your diabetes while living a normal life.  

I loved theatre and acted in a number of plays in college.  As an adult, I earned a living as a stage hand and stage manager in Chicago.  You can totally do theatre with diabetes.  The tough part with doing it professionally is that you have no health insurance, which finally made me give it up for a more traditional job.

There are a ton of good D books.  The must haves are:

Think Like a Pancreas by Gary Scheiner

Using Insulin by John Walsh  (he also wrote "Pumping Insulin" for when you're ready to try a pump)

The Diabetic Athlete by Sherri Colber

50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life; And the 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It by Riva Greenberg

Make sure you have a doctor who you like and who will talk with you about real life issues.  When I was a teen my doctor talked with me about how to bolus while drinking, diabetes-friendly birth control, and managing D in college.  

If you have insurance I also really recommend trying an insulin pump.  It allows you total flexibility to skip meals or correct a slight high blood sugar.  

I'm middle aged now and have a healthy son and no diabetes complications.  I've traveled extensively and in my younger days loved camping and outdoor sports.  There's no reason you can do anything you want with diabetes, you just have to do it a little differently.  

Take care and post any questions you have as they come up.   -Jenna

Hey Devin!

I'm Beth and I'm 17 too. I was diagnosed when I was 8 though. I also do a lot of musical theater. It's pretty easy to just been a teen once you get used to it. Apart from what everyone has said, make sure you tell your friends about it (at least one friend), who can look out for you incase you become high or low.

If you want to talk, I'm here!

Hi Devin!

I'm 19 just got diagnosed 6 and a half months ago while in college (talk about bad timing!) I know it seems unreal right now, but you will start to get the hang of it. It helps me to joke about it and to be open with my friends and family. It's okay if you have bad days too! There could be days where you are so mad at God for letting you have this disease and you'll want to cry, and I promise, it's perfectly normal. Just don't be afraid to vent or talk about with someone. Juvenation is awesome!

stay strong, and good luck!



Definitely a life changer, I was dx'ed at 28. I monitor and test more than some T1D's but it works for me. There are many famous T1D's in sport, music and business and they are examples that the dx isn't a life stopper.

When I was first dx'ed I spoke to some people who already had T1D. They were good for tips, like having little juice packs stashed in convenient places or lollies. Another good one is that the calorie king website is easy to access on your mobile, so once you get a bit more comfortable you can leave the book at home and refer to the mobile web when you need to.  

After a year I went on to a pump, for me it was a good move (not always for everyone) it gave me, in my opinion, more freedom and is more advanced.

Remember you can have what you want and don't have to be restricted.


I'm 16 and was diagnosed when I was 2. About a week after my birthday. I'm really into musical theater as well! Once you figure out stuff, it gets a lot easier.

Since I was so young I don't remember anything about the honeymoon period but, running a little high during plays is better than going low right before you walk on stage. Believe me, it's not fun walking out there trying to remember what you're supposed to do when your blood sugar is low. :)

Let me know if you need anything.


I'm sixteen wand was just diagnosed earlier this year too, so  know just how you feel!

It takes a little while to get comfortable with everything, but, basically, my life hasn't changed - the only differences are that I have to take insulin before I eat, I don't graze constantly anymore (which is better, actually!) and I have to keep an eye out for highs and lows! I still do everything that I did before. I even flew from Pittsburgh to Colorado no problem. Don't let it get you down!