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Need advice from those older and wiser: Losing a friend because of diabetes

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by BrendaK, Sep 8, 2014.

  1. BrendaK

    BrendaK Neonatal Diabetes Registry

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    Yesterday Carson ran his 3rd half marathon. I'm so proud of him. He beat his time from last year by a full 15 minutes. He has a good friend who he trained with 4 days a week since May or June. They've run every single run together the entire time. The plan was for them to stick together for the race yesterday. There were 10,000 people in the race, the friend was the only one with a phone (because Carson had his pump, dexcom, and carbs on him), and both sets of parents were very strict about staying together and stressed the importance of sticking together rather than trying to get a certain time. You can probably see where this is going.....

    Everything was fine until mile 8. At mile 8 Carson felt like he was going low so he said he needed to stop and check his Dex. He wasn't super low but needed carbs. His friend didn't want to stop. So he didn't. He ditched him and left him alone and going low. Carson ended up being fine (I was running too, but not as fast) but he was very very hurt by his friend. We talked about it a lot last night and Carson decided he needed to talk to his friend about it. So today at school, he told his friend he was hurt, he felt like he just ditched him. His friend made a couple of excuses then flat out told him that IF YOU DIDN'T HAVE DIABETES THERE WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN A PROBLEM. Carson was speechless and so am I.

    Would love some advice from those who are older and wiser of how to handle this with Carson. If he was a little kid (he's 14 and in 8th grade), I would have gone straight to the parents and said do you know what your kid said to my kid??? (I still might do that because I'm friends with the parents and they would probably be horrified by what their son said). But that doesn't change what the kid said and the fact that Carson is having to deal with the fact that 1)Diabetes DID slow him down. As much as we teach our kids they can do anything with diabetes, sometimes it DOES interfere, like yesterday. And 2) His friend basically said screw you and your diabetes, I'm outta here. Stone cold.

    It would be easy to say, get a new friend. And he might. But how do you help an 8th grade boy work through those very complicated feelings? It didn't help that his goal was to get under 2 hours in the race and he got a 2:02 (and friend got a 1:47). He would have made his goal had he not been so crushed by his friend leaving.
     
  2. jenm999

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    I have no wisdom, just sympathy. Just awful.
     
  3. mocha

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    First and foremost, I have been there Carson, and it sucks. And I want to offer you my sympathies because it hurts.

    Secondly, I have both kept and dumped friends who have done things similar to this. It depends on if you think that the friendship is worth it, salvageable, and if the person is capable of learning some basic human empathy, AND if you are willing to try again.

    That doesn't mean that you aren't allowed to be ticked or hurt or infuriated or whatever word you want to put here. You are allowed to feel that way and you are allowed to feel that way as long as you want. That also means you don't have to accept any fake apologies (oh goodness, I hate those).

    What it does mean is that there does need to be some time, at least a day or two, to think things through. Gather your thoughts, maybe make some lists. Explore some different things and meet some new people for a day or two. Give yourself some breathing room before making a big decision.
     
  4. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    I'm sorry to hear that :frown:

    Was there a plan in place for what to do if Carson had a low? I mean, had it been discussed that part of the bargain of being training buddies was that if your DS was low that it would likely impact the other kid's time? I'm not looking to make excuses, it's a rotten thing to do, abandoning a friend, not to mention possibly dangerous, and the comment is inexcusable but I'm just wondering if it was clearly articulated or just assumed that he understood.

    In your unenviable shoes I think I would remind my kid that the competitive energy of a race may have gotten the better of his friend and that then in school he may have been embarrassed and ashamed of himself and lashed out instead of admitting that he had behaved horribly. I probably wouldn't try to give a D pep talk now, just stay focused on helping your son frame the experience so that maybe, when feelings are less raw that they can talk and the "friend" can have the space to admit his mistake and apologize.

    I don't know if that helps, what a lousy experience :-(
     
  5. BrendaK

    BrendaK Neonatal Diabetes Registry

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    Yes, it was super clearly articulated to stay together no matter what. The friend's parents were even more strict about it. (I would have been fine if they ran separately.) It was the friend's first race ever and the parents were terrified about him running in downtown Chicago with 10,000 people. Since it was his first race he had no time to beat. If Carson were to have gone too low to finish he would have gotten to a medical tent (they were about every mile) or a race ambassador (uniformed medical people running in the race) and the friend could have gone on then. This wasn't the case at all. He just needed about 60 seconds to get out his Dexcom and to eat some carbs.


    Thankfully DH is amazing at talking him through stuff. He's doing better than I am. I just need to cool off myself. As parents, we work so hard especially when they are young, to protect and control. We have to do that all the time when they are little. We are entering in to this new phase of life where I can't do either, and our job is to help him work through hard stuff like this. It's less and less about the carbs and blood sugar numbers and more about the shaping of his character and the kind of person he becomes.

    My gut tells me that they will work through it. I hope so. But either way, it's part of growing up for Carson. Something he has to deal with and make decisions about that I can't protect him from and can't control.
     
  6. dpr

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    That's a terrible thing to do to a friend. As bad as the action was the words were probably worse. I think the parents need to know everything. He was partially there for the safety of Carson and it had been arranged for them to stay together. And as for the words, it's probably time for an attitude adjustment. Parents need to know when to have a talk with there kids. If you don't tell them they will probably never know the whole story.
     
  7. Lakeman

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    I have a son in eight grade. At that age they are still learning and DO do stupid hurtful things. This can be an opportunity for growth through hard experiences for both boys. I hope your son learns that we are fallible and learns how to forgive. IMO forgiveness can take place within the context of a friendship that continues with a new understanding of what to expect from friends or alternatively in the context of the knowledge that sometimes we move on and friendships sometimes end.

    I wonder of the friend knew he was in the wrong and the hurtful comment that came later was his way of creating a means of avoiding that admission even if he did actually feel that way.

    As adults we expect mature people to talk it out and resolve conflict through reconciliation. In eighth grade they might let it blow over and bury it; they are not always mature enough to handle it. That might be a learning experience too either if they talk about it or if they bury it. In fact no matter how it is handled whether well or poorly they can learn from it.

    Best wishes.
     
  8. wilf

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    I would tell the parents.

    The "friend" did not follow their instruction, and ditched a friend he was running with. Never mind the diabetes issue, it is a side issue here..
     
  9. sszyszkiewicz

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    I know this is not why you came here, but really......2 hours and 2 minutes is a great time with or without a friend. There are not many people who can run that far, T1D or not, so I find that very inspirational.
     
  10. katerinas

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    I don't think that it has to do with diabetes but more with the friendship. I think that if something else had happened the behaviour would have been the same eg hurt his leg. So I wouldn't put it in diabetes terms.
     
  11. coni

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    I agree. A bigger friendship issue is that he didn't keep his promise. A person of integrity keeps their promises. It's also not a healthy response to lash out and blame others (Carson's diabetes) when the real issues are with him.

    Diabetes is a red herring in this, in my opinion.
     
  12. Lisa - Aidan's mom

    Lisa - Aidan's mom Approved members

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    I'm so sorry, that is awful. Congrats to your son for his amazing time with the marathon.

    Were you and the other boys parents at the finish line -- didn't they realize that their son finished 20 minutes before Carson and wonder what happened with the buddy plan??

    Hope you can smooth this over.
     
  13. Junosmom

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    I don't know the other parents, but my friends would want to know that not only did the boy not follow an agreed plan (safety for both boys), but then behaved badly after (blaming diabetes). From what you wrote, it sounds as if the parents would want to know. One idea might be to get together with the mom and mention that her son finished at ~1.42 and your son finished at 2.02. Then, give her a chance to say something. If she's bright, she should figure out that they separated. Maybe she will open the discussion....?
     
  14. Christopher

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    This is a 14 year old boy and 14 year old boys say things and do things that are not always the most mature things to say and do. Feelings get hurt but then they get over it. On one hand, he is right, the reason Carson had to stop was because of his diabetes. The friend has a right to be irritated by that. On the other hand, if the plan was for them to stick together no matter what, then he did not follow the plan. It would be the same if Carson got a stitch in his side and had to stop to recover and the friend left him and continued on. Just wondering, how did Carson being crushed about his friend leaving cause him to not make his time goal? Wasn’t it the fact that he had to stop because of his low that he didn’t make his goal?



    I think you really answered it yourself here. I think this will blow over and they will continue to be friends. I also think that you that you need to let him work this out for himself. I don’t think it would be productive in this case to go to the other boy’s parents.

    The bottom line is that diabetes sucks and it does make our children different and it does impact their lives in ways that people without diabetes are not impacted. It is a tough lesson to learn but it is important that our children do learn it, even if it is painful.
     
  15. BarbDwyer

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    There are several things to learn from this. 14yo friends (boys especially) may not really be open to sitting down and hashing it all out. Your son has learned a hard lesson on different kinds of friends and some can be counted on and some can't. Kids say thoughtless hurtful things to each other and they live and learn - on both sides. It is part of growing up.

    If there is any kind of desire to address it between the two of them - make sure the other boy has the skills/words he needs to not agree to a plan. If he wanted to make a good time he should be able to say 'I can't be your racing buddy on race day because I do not want to wait for you.' and that should be OK. Disappointing of course, but he gets to decide which sacrifices he'll make for his friends. On the flip side he also really needs to know how important it is to keep his word to anyone once he makes it - and most especially in a situation that has serious health consequences for a friend. He may not really get how serious the situation could have been.

    I also feel badly for your son. I imagine it must have been really hard. There are going to be so many of these hard days in the future of our kids :(
     
  16. myshell

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    My son plays tennis. He was playing a tournament match last year and went low. He needed just a few minutes for the carbs to raise his BG. The official and the coach would not allow any exceptions to the rules concerning breaks. He was forced to retire from the match. He was devastated. I am sorry for your son. I am glad he finished the marathon.
     
  17. shannong

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    14 year old boys, both very competitive, and trying to get PR's in the marathon - I think the probability that these two boys not finishing together was already there. I know lots of adults that agree to run marathons together and then for whatever reason (usually competitive spirit) they end up going separate ways. Now of course there was the issue of diabetes and that your son would have been safer had his friend stayed with him. I can understand him being disappointed in his friend. But it also doesn't surprise me. The other issue of having a low during the race. Yes, that's hard. My son plays all kinds of sports and I've seen him have a low in a championship hockey game that left him sitting on the bench for most of the game. It's heart-breaking.
     
  18. wilf

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    Actually, not all 14 year old boys are jackasses.

    I ran many races with friends in my cross-country days (which started at age 14), and we stuck together through thick and thin.
     
  19. Ali

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    This is very true, but many are not the best, and as the Mom of two boys I needed to learn how different boy language could be from girl language. Again it is never 100 percent but even with my super sensitive boys who would not have left their friend behind, neither one of them would have wanted a talk about it. Talk for my boys was so different from talk with my sisters or girlfriends or daughter. I know generalized but just be aware that it may be different.
    Ali
     
  20. caspi

    caspi Approved members

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    This. It's difficult as a mother to stand by and I've had to fight the urge a couple of times to intervene because I didn't think they were handling it the way *I* would, but they communicate differently. Strange creatures, these teenage boys.... :wink:
     

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