Our Diabetes/365 Community IS our cuppa!
It's a lot like a game of "Where's Waldo"
Thank goodness for organizations that help us to meet others, social media & other resources that are available to link folks up with information & support.
When you were first diagnosed, did you find that it was an overwhelming experience of figuring out new physical care regiments as well as processing feelings towards this thing called, diabetes? Have you found that even with the passage of time, that ongoing support is priceless on this diabetes journey?
There are several genuine phrases that can give us each comfort. Some may include: “I understand how you feel”, “I have found that to be true too”or simply, “me too.” Within each of these caring sentences, we find human compassion, caring, belonging & understanding.
Have you found that you want to shout it from the rooftops that your glucose reading at a particular moment is 5.5 & you want to celebrate that with someone who understands what that number means? How about when our meters register that daunting number of 18.9? Those are the times when many of us would love to express our frustration & reach out to someone in support who “gets” what that number means. Please don’t get me wrong. It is amazing beyond words to have battle buddies who are encouraging who do not have type 1 diabetes on our teams. We are more apt to have a plethora of non type 1 battle buddies on our teams for logistical reasons alone. Type 1 is not statistically high in terms of diagnosis in relationship to say type 2 so it is difficult to even meet up with other folks with type 1 frankly.
Do you remember the saying “wallflower” in reference to being at a dance? It conjures up memories of high school dances of many years ago where the boys sat on one side of the gym & the girls on the other. Sooner or later, someone would get up enough courage to ask another person to dance. After a while, the vast majority of the students would be up dancing & having fun. Being a type 1 “wallflower” is something that I decided not to be. What in the world do you mean by that, Saundie?
Being a type 1 “wallflower” to me would mean waiting to somehow, someday by some magical formulation meet another type 1 “Mom” (the mom with type 1). Five years ago, when I received the diagnosis of type 1 as an adult I was shocked. It is a diagnosis that at any age has to be a shock initially. Right away, I began the process of building a support team because I knew that “I do not know what I do not know.” The part that seemed easier was that of finding an outstanding medical team including an endocrinologist, diabetes centre nurse & dietician. The next thing that I did was to reach out to our local JDRF Chapter. Then, I started going out to JDRF Chapter events which are always awesome. Three years later though I realized that meeting up in person with another adult with type 1 who is a Mom like me was beginning to take on the appearances of the game, “Where’s Waldo.”
You know something, I started to wonder where adults go at a certain age who have type 1 diabetes. Everyone is unique yet I wondered how it was that adults with type 1 who are raising families of their own were managing without an encouraging word from another person with type 1. Once in a great while, I happen upon another adult who is wearing an insulin pump or that other “pumper” notices my pump. It is like there is an instant connection. It is like a moment of being in that secret club, “pumpers R us.” There is an understanding nod & that inevitable question of , “how long have you been pumping?” Here’s the thing that is strange though. I have not yet in 5 years met another adult with type 1 who is over 25 years old let alone of “mom age” like me in person. Stranger than that is the fact that I have tried pretty diligently to find others out there. The great news is that I have found several “moms with type 1” through social media groups on-line. That absolutely makes my heart smile. There are a lot of Moms with type 1 out there that are enjoying encouragement, understanding & a sense of belonging thanks to social media. My heart goes out to folks in compassion though that either had to go through type 1 before the on surge of social media or even now who have not yet linked up with others.
Meeting other adults with type 1 parallels that high school dance a bit too I think. We each have to make an effort to take a chance & find ways to reach out to “friends we don’t know yet.” It can seem a little like playing a game of “where’s Waldo” because frankly it is not easy finding other adults with type 1 diabetes out there. The best news is that it is so worth it to take that step outside our comfort zones. In the past 6 months especially, I have found that there are some amazing new friends out there that I am honoured to know.
My heart’s hope for you is that you go ahead & reach out to folks that you feel would be encouraging, compassionate & understanding. Where’s Waldo? Oh, there you are!
Smiles, Saundie :) Oh, & looking forward to sharing time together next Monday entitled, "If We are What Eat, Then...."