Parents, adults, and teens having a child with T1 diabetes or having T1 yourself, I ask you the question: Who’s got your back? Who do you depend on? Who’s do you call when you’re at the end of your rope? We are very early in our lifelong process of caring for Ryan and being a family with all the adjustments and unexpecteds of diabetes, but I will tell you that I think it incredibly important to have a support group or team that will offer encouragment, help, advice or a listening ear. And as far as I’m concerned, that group cannot be too big. These are common sensers, but let them serve as reminders for you. Here’s what I suggest:
- Medical care. Find a good endocrinologist, one you trust, who encourages you and one who has a team of support that makes them available to you for questions. If you do not have that in an endocrinologist, find another one!
- We are blessed to have family on both sides who really support us. And I do realize some people just don’t have this. I can’t write about family now . . . there’s just too much to write! They’re awesome.
- And my church family . . . they are incredible. I believe part of the reason God moved us down here was for our church. The prayer support, the calls, emails, and just simply asking and listening has been such a support for us. Our church runs 350-400ish. And we have only been there for a little over a year now. But since December, I have learned that there are at least eight people who came to us and said that their children, grandchildren that they raised or they themselves have T1 diabetes; Ryan makes nine. That is 2% of our church . . . 1 in 44! But it’s the spiritual support that has been the God-send!
- Friends and “Friends”. Friends that have been your friends for years, for life or your social circle right now, they play an important role, particularly those parents of your children’s friends. Our friends are AWESOME and have provided Jason and I so much love and support! And facebook “friends”: You know as well as I do that not all your “friends” on fb are not always those you would normally depend on through hard times. They are acquaintanances, friends of friends or those you have lost touch with for years and have just reconnected with to say hello. But it has been amazing the connections (friend of friends) with those who have diabetes and the unexpected encouragment from others that makes a huge impact that has come across my computer screen.
- And the last thing I would suggest to anyone who has been touched by this disease . . . let people know that you or someone you love has diabetes! Let them know any way you can. Post it on facebook, join a fb group, start a blog, attend a support group, share prayer requests, find any and all other means possible. I have met some pretty amazing people on facebook. I have connected with two moms in particular on facebook (Allison & Carrie, so thankful for you!) who have 5 or 6 year old boys who have been diagnosed in the last year or so who offer me that unique support that only a momma who has to give daily shots and pokes can fully understand. As hard as this may be and as much energy as it might require of you . . . JUST DO IT!
God did not create us for isolation . . . he created us to need each other . . . to support one another. We all need this type of support. Isolation or the feeling of isolation is NEVER the answer. You may deal with diabetes and if you do, let’s get connected! Let’s see what we can do to help each other. But you may be dealing with another illness or health issue, a job loss or financial devastation, marriage or family problems, a wayward child, hurt relationships, whatever the trial or struggle in your life . . . Reach out, be vulnerable, say when you need help and watch how God works in your life.