Making a Connection

September 12, 2012By 3 Comments

It’s no secret that while there are numerous resources and support for people with T1D, that there are still some who feel they have no one or nothing around them to lean on for encouragement and help.  It is hard for me to understand this, as I grew up, with the help of my mom, finding every resource available for me to participate in; diabetes camp, support groups at the hospital, JDRF walks and events, etc.  Not every child with diabetes has had the opportunity to be exposed to these things, for various reasons.  There are so many adult Type 1 diabetics that I meet who will say to me, “Wow, you are the first person I have met that also has Type 1.”  This makes me want to stand at the top of a mountain and scream “You are not alone!! And while you may not be aware of all the support that is out there for you… let’s meet half way!

I understand that not everyone with diabetes likes to advertise their disease or talk about it at all.  Whether it’s diabetes or a sinus infection that I have, I’m going to tell everyone and their mother about it, that’s just my nature.  So whenever I meet people who are not aware of what the diabetes online community and other resources have to offer, I am as excited as a kid in a sugar-free candy store to talk their ear off.  It’s so important, for those of us that do live on top of the diabetes soap box, and who give a voice to this disease, to make it a goal to reach out to someone who is unaware, any way you can, whenever you can, to help bring them into our family.

I have mentioned before that taking a prenatal yoga class has been exactly what I have needed to keep calm and healthy during my pregnancy.  Whenever I take any type of exercise class, I often share with the teacher that I have diabetes, and not to worry if I stop half way through to leave, or drink juice, or test my blood sugar.  I don’t like the class to be interrupted and have everyone looking at me, so it’s better to let the teacher know in advance so that they don’t make a scene.  When I went to my first prenatal yoga class, I informed my lovely teacher, with a thick spanish accent, that I had type 1 diabetes and wore a pump.  She smiled her soft smile and said “Okay Mammy, no problem!  I had a Mammy in my last class that has type 1, I should introduce you to her, she just had her beautiful baby girl.”

That’s all it takes, one connection.  I emailed back and forth with the girl who my teacher connected me with, and funny enough, a few days before we were supposed to meet for coffee, she saw me at a town event, checking my blood sugar, and came right up to me and right away the connection was made.  When we met for coffee, it was great for me as well, to pick her brain about her pregnancy, and birth experience, since she actually saw the same doctors I am seeing.  And to see her perfect little girl on her lap, made it all seem so fine and perfect for me at that very moment.  It all works out.  She has expressed to me, how nice it is for her, a diabetic of over 30 years, to finally have met someone else who she can take out her meter in front of and not feel embarrassed.

While I was waiting in the OB office the other day for my 16-week ultrasound, I saw a young girl in her early twenties come in.  I hear her tell the receptionist that she had just come from Joslin.  When she sat down, I leaned over and came right out and asked “Do you have type 1 too? ”  She smiled with innocent eyes, and said “Yes, you too?”  I could just tell, the moment she walked in the door, she may need support.  I gave her my blog and email, and told her that I was working with my Endo at the pregnancy clinic to try to start an online support group.  She seemed so excited, and also said to me “You are the first person I have met with Type 1.”

I don’t just seek these people out because I feel that I have to pledge them into the sorority of diabetes resources, but I also do it for myself, because for every connection I make, I don’t feel as alone.  I do believe God gave me this disease for a reason, because if anyone could draw attention to it, it’s me.

Take a moment, next time you are waiting in your Endo’s office (type 1 or type 2), or next time you do see someone waiting in line at the coffee shop with a pump, or notice a grown adult drinking a juice box and looking out of it, and ask them if they have diabetes too, they may just be aching to talk about it, but no one has ever asked.

 

 

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Comments (3)

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  1. Veronica says:

    Your advice is always so uplifting and encouraging.

  2. Veronica says:

    Wonderful. Love Dad. So proud of you

  3. Sativa says:

    I’m so glad we made a connection and I’m so glad that you are on your diabetes soap box making those connections with others and bringing them into the “group.” BTW- I’m MORE than happy to help you facilitate an online community to help make more connections and have fewer people saying, “You are the first person with Type I I’ve met!”

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