Diabetes is an incredibly isolating condition to live with. Nobody around me can see the relentless decision making, thought processes and feelings that I am left to deal with on my own. To add to that, I do most of the housework including finger pricks, pump maintenance and eating glucose tabs in a quiet place.
When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t know a single other person like me. Over the weekend, I connected with three fellow type 1s, each of whom had developed strong peer support networks within a short timeframe after their diagnosis. I was in awe. I didn’t even think of searching for diabetes in my search bar or on Facebook. Mind you, I can’t say that I would have had an open mind to peer support at the time. Regardless, I kind of stumbled across it by accident.
Abbott’s first DX event in 2016 is a memory that will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the first real time I had spent in the company of a group of people with diabetes just like me. It was a place where I was finally able to put faces to many OzDOC folk who I had only ever chatted with online.
Today, I count myself lucky that I have so many more ‘tribes’ of people with diabetes that I can rely on for peer support. They truly have changed my outlook on life with diabetes for the better.
Some are near, while others are further away. Some are people with diabetes, while others are connected to diabetes. I chat with them online and see them in person at diabetes meetups. I’ve learned a lot from them, and they have definitely inspired me. They are the ones who truly ‘get’ it. They are a reminder that I am not alone in the highs, the lows, the unicorns, the emotions and everything inbetween.
I’m also super grateful for my own two parents, who have supported me unconditionally since the day I was diagnosed (or should I say, born!). Little things like offering to accompany me to appointments in the earlier days, listening to me talk about diabetes, helping me out financially and reminding me that they’ll always have my back.
On World Diabetes Day, Diabetes Australia are asking us to shine a light on ‘My Diabetes Family.’
Today I’d like to raise a coffee mug to mine.
You have all truly changed my life for the better.
I honestly don’t know what I would do without all of you.