Teenager Jacob lives with type 1 diabetes. Here, Jacob and his mum, Linzi, share their experiences of adapting to a new routine during lock down.
Jacob: I’m Jacob, and I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged 10. I’m in year 11 now, and was studying for my GCSEs. I’m massively into sports.
Linzi: And I’m Linzi, Jacob’s mum. I’m his part-time pancreas and full-time nagger!
Tell us more about your first few days in lockdown?
Linzi: We found it pretty tough to start with, for example Jacob went from doing 15 hours of sport a week to not doing very much at all. We didn’t get into a routine to start with. There were no club sports available and he was not so keen to get up in the morning or move from his Xbox!
So, each day we re-evaluated how his glucose levels had been and made tweaks to compensate for this. We felt we almost had to go back to a complete restart as the situation was so different to what we were used to.
Jacob: Like my mum says, the start was tough because like many teens, you don’t want to get out of bed, don’t particularly want to move from the Xbox. I also didn’t have much information about my GCSEs and was missing prom and the last day of school. All this caused irregularities in my blood glucose levels. I was waking up at completely different times each day. During school days, I was having breakfast at 6.30am but most days during lockdown, I was eating at midday.
How have you adjusted to a new lockdown routine?
Jacob: I’ve found it beneficial to set alarms in the morning, have breakfast and get all my schoolwork done. My bloods are now more in tune with the daily routines at school. This has helped establish a new norm.
I also have a sports routine – I do two 45 minute sessions scheduled at the same time each day and have an hour out of house exercise each day. It’s more just to get out of the house for my own sanity!
Linzi: And mine!
Jacob: Since having that routine, I feel like it’s easier to manage my bloods as I’m more aware of how the day will go and I can plan and prepare more.
Linzi: When adapting to a new short term norm, any kind of new day to day routine you can incorporate is massively helpful. Type 1 still throws its curveballs at you, but they’re much easier to spot and deal with if a routine is in place. It’s not easy with a teenager or children but anything you can do to encourage them to get alongside with this will benefit not just you, but also them.
Do you still get Xbox time?
Jacob: Yes I do! I still get a lot of Xbox time!
Do you think being in lockdown has changed your view of having type 1 in terms of your relationship with your mum and appreciating her managing things?
Jacob: [Laughs] What I find helps is stepping away and giving myself some downtime – just to have some time to think about how to manage my blood glucose levels.
Linzi: One of the key things for me is that I see how frustrated he gets when he’s trying to just be a teen and bloods come into play – he’ll be high or he’ll be low, and there’s no reason for it. He gets annoyed that he has to deal with it and mum’s going “Jacob, your alarms going off, why haven’t you listened to it? I try to help him with decisions that he needs to make.
Jacob: Working as a team together – with my mum and dad – makes me realise that I’m not alone and these Discovery Day events means I have a new network of friends and people I can count on and reach out to. Because as much as my parents try to get it, no one else understands it as a fellow person with type 1, so having those people to reach out to is really nice.
Is there a social media group for type 1 teenagers?
Jacob: There’s a Facebook group called Type 1 Teens and it’s been really useful. It’s such a broad range of people and everyone’s willing to help each other out.
Linzi: There’s also one for parents, where teens aren’t allowed! So we both get to voice our opinions – we get to talk about them sleeping until midday!