T1D & Junior Year of High School – A Student and Parent Perspective

July 5, 2018

Kendall, High School Junior and His Father, Curtis

Editor’s note: We’ve been checking in with Kendall and his father, Curtis as Kendall moves through his high school years and prepares to head off to college. Check out his experiences as a Freshman and Sophomore.

Junior year of high school

Kendall’s questions

1. Looking back, how was sophomore year different than freshman year?

It was easier to manage time, I was a little more comfortable in what I was doing for classes, and managing what was expected of me at school, home and practice.

2. What was harder and what was easier?

My classes were a little harder because they were more advanced.  They became a little easier to manage because of tutoring. Basketball became harder because I was moved up to Varsity in my sophomore year.  Diabetes was less of a challenge because I got a new CGM and I became independent in my care at school. My A1C fluctuated a little, but it all settled down during sophomore year and I only had a couple days of absence from school.

3. Have you taken the SAT/ACT? How was that process, managing T1D and such a stressful test? Did you use accommodations?

Yes, I will be taking them for the 3rd time this year with the hope of continuing to improve on my scores. My scores have been good, but we want to see how high I can get them. I did have accommodations on all but 1 session. The accommodations helped because I could stop the clock, check BG and treat as needed. All in all that assistance made a huge difference and I did well.

“Diabetes was less of a challenge because I got a new CGM and I became independent in my care at school.”

4. How is basketball going? Has it been harder this year to juggle school and sports? They say junior year is the hardest!

Great, now that I am back on the court.  I suffered a fibula fracture during the season and was out for a couple of months to fully heal. The time off from the court forced me to spend more time on grades, which is always a good thing. A few of my classes were tough, like Physics and Calculus, but I managed to finish both honors classes with a solid B!  The class load will be a little lighter for senior year, thank goodness.

5. What are your plans for this summer?

AAU Basketball, several college visits and prospect camps.  Also a summer school class to complete my honors diploma requirement. Driving and getting a car are high on the list too!

6. How is the college search process going? Do you know where you are going to apply? How have college tours been going?

We have had several great tours, with some pretty good interest, but I want to make the decision based on academics as well as where I can play. I’m trying to narrow down to 5 schools. I get requests to apply to schools in the mail every day, but the basketball side has to work too. I have started submitting for scholarships and practicing essay statements for the Common App. We are filling out a few applications and I already have 1 acceptance.

7. Now that college is getting more real, how are you feeling?

 It all seems to be happening so fast now, it makes me nervous to think that this will be my last year of high school. It seems like I just got here!

Curtis’ questions

1. What has been the biggest struggle of junior year? What has been the biggest success?

I would say our biggest struggle is in understanding whether personality changes are related to growth and puberty or T1D. I think most parents feel the junior year is a transition year as our son is now slowly transitioning to independence. He is learning to drive and starting to really notice the opposite sex. He wants to hang out more with his friends and less with family.  Although there is a desire to be more independent his actions sometimes do not align. He has a tendency to forget blood sugar checks or forget to proactively manage his normal diabetic management activity.

Compared to freshman and sophomore years,  this year has without question has been the most fun.  Kendall has adjusted to his school and has become somewhat a role model for other T1D students  Most of his teachers, fellow students and teammates are aware he is T1D but do not see how much of an impact it has on his life.  His biggest success has been in maintaining a 3.98 GPA and becoming a very competitive athlete.

2. Has your son taken on more of his T1D care this year? Are you still doing overnight checks and ordering supplies?

Kendall taking on more of his T1D care remains a challenge. If he isn’t at home he does a much better job. We are very proud of the fact he does not shy away from testing and is open to talking to others about T1D.  T1D is a part of his life and he does not try to hide it. Kendall has stated that when he is out on his own at practice or school he feels very normal.

“I think most parents feel the junior year is a transition year as our son is now slowly transitioning to independence.”

3. How do you feel the college search process is going? How far away are you comfortable sending Kendall now that he is a junior?

The college search process is going great.  As a result of working hard and staying focused Kendall is receiving lots of academic recruiting letters. I am slowly adjusting to Kendall moving away for college.  Nighttime lows still really concern me so my preference is for him to find a great college within driving distance from Las Vegas.

4. Have you thought about how you will communicate about T1D with Kendall while he is at college? We know this can be a sticking point for a lot of families.

Our CGM will allow us to stay abreast of glucose readings. Hopefully all the talks and training over the years will guide Kendall on making positive health decision when he leaves home.  We will also make sure we have others that we can contact if necessary.

5. What aspect of diabetes causes you and your son to butt heads this year? Has it changed?

Given the importance of college tests and athletic camps and clinics I would like Kendall to be more aggressive when it comes to checking his blood sugar. A high or low can minimize his performance and have a life-long impact on his future. Recently we received the new Dexcom CGM which will hopefully allow Kendall to do a better job with eliminating severe blood sugar fluctuations.


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