Dear DOC (Diabetes Online Community),
I've got a few things on my mind that I've wanted to express for awhile. First, a giant Thank You! I've met some of the most amazing people in the last two years, and learned so much. The doctors and nurses certainly do their best to educate when your child is diagnosed with diabetes, but they have only a few minutes every few months - and most of them don't have practical experience, only clinical. The knowledge I've gained from people who live this day in and day out is astounding. I've learned;
- To listen to my daughter and her needs. To give her help when she wants it, and let her be independent when she needs it. I've learned to let her own her diabetes, but I pay as much of the mortgage as necessary.
- That there are still many ways to manage diabetes; pump or MDI, different types of insulin, carb counting and fixed carb programs. And different plans work for different people.
- That Sarah is a person with diabetes, not a diabetic. She will not be defined by this disease.
- That I can manage things like ice cream and pizza (some times better than others).
- That I'm not alone in my worry and sleepless nights. That most doctors tell you to sleep, while most parents ignore that advice.
- About continuous glucose monitoring - though I don't understand why it isn't universally available (even though it turned out not to work for us, in a rather spectacular and icky fashion)
- That there's a far greater variety of items available to treat lows than glucose tablets (yuck!).
- That there are amazing people with diabetes in all sorts of professions who are healthy, happy, and thriving.
- That parents in the DOC have many of the same challenges with constant worry, stress, schools, daycare, playdates, friends, activities, spouses, and sleep deprevation.
Again, thank you! Because of you I am definitely saner, smarter, tougher, and more ready to handle the daily challenges of diabetes.
While I've met some amazing individuals, I want to remind all of my friends that people in the DOC are still...well...people. With all the positive qualities and terrible failings that make us human. For every hundred amazing people I've met, there's also been someone who isn't so amazing. There are people (just like in the real world) who are only looking for attention, who are trying to take advantage, who are hoping to make a fast buck, who have questionable moral character, or who are just negative and unhappy. It shouldn't come as a surprise, because we're all people and, in fact, we might just have a little more stress in our lives than the average bear.
Don't let negative people get you down, and don't let them change you by making you angry or cynical. Remember what we all learned in grade school about fire? Stop...Drop...Roll
Stop - Don't let others negativity affect you.
Drop - You have the power to drop a conversation, or block a person who isn't who they say they are (oh yeah - I have experience here...)
Roll - Negativity call roll right off you, if you let it. Don't let it sit on your shoulder making you angry - shrug those shoulders and let that negativity roll away. Then smile, because you are a strong, wonderful person who won't let anyone else determine how you feel today!
My messages are these:
- Choose your friends wisely.
- Be patient and kind when you can, and firm and kind when it's called for.
- Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself, but try not to drag anyone else down in the process.
- Sometimes we can agree to disagree, and sometimes we are too different and need to go our own way - and that's okay!
- Be honest - we're all in this together.
- Be supportive of different points of view.
- When responding in writing, think about the tone before you hit enter - once it's out there, it's hard to take back.
- If you're upset when you write something, put it in MS Word first, then go have a cup of tea, take a bath, read a few pages of your favorite book - then reread and decide if you still want to hit enter.
I love you guys, you are my sanity and some of my best friends. When you're hurting, I'm hurting. When your kids are sick, I worry for them as I know you worry for Sarah. My only regret is that most of you are too far away to hug, and there are a lot of times I want to reach my arms out and give you a big one - and there are times I need one from you as well.
Thank you, my friends, for being there for me and allowing me to be there for you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.