Thank you Karen Graffeo at Bittersweet Diabetes for hosting the 8th annual Diabetes Blog Week. Our community thanks you for making our voice stronger, introducing us to new sites and increasing our tribe’s strength of thriving with diabetes despite what diabetes throws at us. Today the following is the prompt for #DBlogWeek:
Diabetes can sometimes seem to play by a rulebook that makes no sense, tossing out unexpected challenges at random. What are your best tips for being prepared when the unexpected happens? Or, take this topic another way and tell us about some good things diabetes has brought into your, or your loved one’s, life that you never could have expected?
Many, many, years ago (ok, it was four years ago), there was a young woman (ok, i was in my late 40s) who was sent on quest by her new endo. She had been told after decades (this part is true) of not trying a pump, it was time. The young new doctor handed her pamphlets and said, you must choose which kind of insulin pump you need. But chose wisely, as it will be attached to you 24/7/365 for four years. The young lady was confused. Which one was best, she quizzed her new doctor, to which his reply came back: They all do the same job. You just need to pick which features you like best.
A daunting task lay before her. To pick an insulin pump is not a job she wanted and she was not even sure if she really wanted the insulin pump to begin with. She plead to the young man, but what if I do not like it, what if I cannot sleep with it, what if…. The young doctor smile gentle and interrupted her. If your goal is to lower your A1C, then we must get a hold of the dawn phenomenon you are experiencing. Once we get that part in a more in range number, then we can tackle the other numbers that are driving your numbers up. She lower her head. She understood. A pump must it be. A pump would help her attain her goals.
Since her diagnoses decades ago, she knew not a soul with Type 1 like her. Oh, she had meet a few acquaintance and some Type 1s here and there. But no one she could call and ask. No one she could say what do you think, or why did you pick that one versus that one. There simply was no one in her life who she could turn to. She pondered as what to do later that night. She read the pamphlets, and could not decide. Oh, what to do? What to do indeed?
It was one of her daughters who piped up a couple of days later with a brilliant suggestion on how to research the quest of deciding a pump. She wondered why she had not thought of it at all. Good Grief, she thought, sometimes the obvious has to whack you hard on the head.
She did as the daughter suggeasted and googled it. I- N- S- U- L- I- N P- U- M- P- S F- O- R T-Y-P-E 1 D-A-I-B-E-T-E-S (yes, it was misspelled…I tend be dyslexic with spelling) And then, BAM! There it was(Cue music to Aladdin)…..A Whole New World.
You see, I had no idea about the Diabetes Online Community (DOC). I mean, like none. Totally clueless. I was all of sudden connect to millions of people living, and thriving with Type 1, just like me. It was mind blowing to me. It was hard to contain my excitement. I poured over blog sites, I trolled on online communities such as TuDiabetes, and I secretly wanted to be friends with everyone.
It took me a few months to get comfortable with the online community before I finally said Hi. The cool thing is I have meet a lot of these people in person now. I have daily conversations with many of them. We have shared our everyday life with Type 1 and of course, our regular life. These people know my kids name, they know my achievements. They have stayed online with me while I sat in a parking lot with a glucose reading of 32. It was a day I could not reached my husband, and they just “stayed” with me until I was in a much safer range. (Yes, Rick, Sarah, Molly, Jenn, Kristin and Karen….that is you)
I found my tribe, with just a click of a button. A tribe who gets me. A tribe who is on a similar journey with me while we search for a cure. A tribe who cares and shares, the good and the bad. A tribe I can laugh with, cry with and no one judges. In a weird, but wonderful way, I had no idea living with diabetes would mean I would connect with complete strangers over nonfunctional pancreases. I found out I am not alone in my adventure with diabetes. And that my friends, was not what I expected and has made all the difference.