There was not always an ‘online community’. There was a time when after diabetes became the new norm, it was only you. There was no instant access to……well…..anything. Those of us who went through all of this during that time, I believe, have an advantage. When you have no one else to depend on; you depend on no one else.
We didn’t feel left out, because we were never part of something to ‘feel left out of’ when we began. Our family, our doctor, our child. That was it. We had to look in our neighborhood, our community, our hospitals to see what was available. Eventually there came some things with ‘threads’ of discussions online. But never like it is today.
The diabetes online community (DOC) is an incredible resource and there probably is not a person alive who will tell you that they wish they had it ‘back when'(OMG, I am now officially sounding like my parents). That said, when you don’t have something, you really cannot understand what it is to miss it……can you? You ‘make do’ with the resources you do have.
Even when no one we knew also had diabetes; even when we knew nothing of research, even when we knew nothing of insulin pumps, even when we knew nothing of organizations, we knew one thing……..we were not taking diabetes at face value.
We found out many things. Diabetes would just ‘not do’ in our household.
Where we did not know of science, we looked harder. When we did not know support groups we looked until one was created. When we did not know organizations, we did not stop until we found them. Where things did not exist, we created them. It was very different before the online community presented itself as it is today.
But the one thing that differentiates everything diabetes……..is only the desire to find out. Again, we had nothing to rely on when Kaitlyn was diagnosed in 1992; so we relied on ourselves. Phone calls. Phone calls. More phone calls. Visits. Meetings. Anywhere and everywhere we could go, we went; to find out what we needed to know. When we needed to create something, we found out who else had done it before. Where did they do it? What did we need to know to do it? How do we begin?
And we went forward. Sometimes not having a clue on what lay ahead; we moved forward. I tell you this because in today’s incredible amount of instant access; we are never alone. Even if we cannot find “it” in our own towns what we look for to fill the need to sustain us, we have an incredible resource right at our fingertips………world wide.
Remember that there really is nothing so incredibly unique in our world today that we cannot find someone else who has been there with their child dealing with diabetes.
Broken homes, other diseases, tragedy, siblings with other serious diseases, relatives who have no clue, no access to care, no money for care, no insurance, parent death, both parents’ death, and just the idea of feeling all alone is not a new feeling and almost all of us have been there……and some, more than others. Someone else has gone through it…….KNOW THAT!
In this world, this incredibly connected world called the diabetes community, online and offline, someone is out there for you. Even if it is just to sustain you until you find what you need, or create what you need, in your own neighborhood. In this day and age, you should never, truly, feel all alone.
If you do, remember this; there was a time that we couldn’t even really find someone who understood what we were going through and even in a big city, it was easy to feel isolated.
You may not have exactly what you think you need right now………but until such time remember this, at any given moment, at any given time, someone else is out there ready to listen, chat, and give you a hug………even if you have to settle for a ‘virtual one’ for now.
THAT has not always been the case……………….know that………………your diabetes online community………………Open 24 Hours.
I am a diabetes dad.
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