What I Want to Say to Those Supporting Me on My Diabetes Journey
Having a chronic illness shows you who is in your corner and who is not. I guess that is something positive? I know who loves me, who supports me and who not to waste time with.
I have had diabetes since I was a kid. In fact, 17 years this year. I have been blessed with the most amazing parents who will drop everything and come help me. They always made sure I had the medications and supplies I needed. They also prepared me with coping skills and how to handle a chronic disease. They also enrolled me in a summer camp and showed me I was not alone. This set me up with my first set of friends. I can call them in the dead of night to cry about how shitty of a day diabetes dealt me that day. They just get it! They live it and they understand it like no one else. They take the loneliness out of the everyday monotony of diabetes.
I also have a select group of close friends without diabetes. I have gathered them around me from high school, college, a random meeting at a festival, and my son’s swim class. I cannot take credit in gathering them. I am no glue by any means, but they walked into my life at the precise moments I needed someone. The friend that got me through the small town high school. The random college roommate that knows me better then I know myself. The friend that I met randomly at a music festival with my 18-month-old son and introduced my self with “is that an amber necklace? Oh my God, you cloth diaper too?!” She came into my life just as a lifelong friendship broke apart and helped me through the several years that I questioned other people’s kindness. She reminded what a true friend was. She was the one that helped me through that heartbreak of being truly let down by someone you trusted most. And then, finally, the friends I met through swim. They came in and built my confidence, reminded me of what an amazing person I am. This group is my ride or die and for them I am thankful beyond words.
Next is my husband. Man, did he not know what he was getting into when we first met. I randomly told him I had diabetes and he just said, “OK, cool.” He got the scare of a lifetime when I got sick and went into diabetic ketoacidosis early in the relationship. He had to sit there with me in the ICU while my parents drove over two hours to the hospital. After he stuck around, I knew he was the one. He has been there for the highs and lows, the sick days that lead to hospital stays. He has given me shots, helped with pump sites, and continuous glucose monitoring sites – all while being afraid of needles. He is there to tell at me that I am low when I tell him I am not, and he is usually right. We have a son who has his rambunctious spirit and my sweetness. Our son is learning how to step up and help and I am grateful for a husband that shows him that. I had surgery to remove a fibrous lesion from my femur recently and my husband has had to be mom and dad for the past several weeks. And you know what? He has handled it amazingly. For I am lucky he can cook and clean.
What makes living with a chronic disease easier is your support. I was reminded recently just how important they truly are. They have kept me grounded, sat with me when I haven’t been able to get around, taken me to my doctor’s appointments, and just called and checked on me. These are my people and for them I am lucky.
If you are newly diagnosed or your child is newly diagnosed go out and find a camp, or others with the same disease. They will lead you to where you need to go. And then hold onto those special souls that walk into your life and show you that you matter, that your voice is heard, that you are loved. And those that do not support you and let you down repeatedly, walk away. Your life is too short to dwell on them. Find your tribe, posse, inner-group, circle, whatever you want to call them – just go find them and keep them close.
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