I am fortunate to have so many people supporting me every day and in different ways.
My parents were there when I was diagnosed. They taught me that diabetes was not what defined me. They taught me self confidence and to be proud of my accomplishments. They never made me feel like an inconvenience or that I was different. They allowed me to be independent, and to make my own mistakes. They supported me helped me learn to understand diabetes.
My brother and sister put up with me. :-) Their lives were affected because of my diabetes, but I never felt like they resented me for that. My sister, who was deathly afraid of needles, learned to give me a shot for a silly reason. We were on a vacation and I forgot syringes. The only kind available to buy were different from the brand that I used. I just couldn’t fathom using it. So my sister gave me a shot... because she loved me. As an adult, I realize that my brother and sister had to live a different kind of life because I have diabetes. They are my family, and they have been my support through everything.
My friends that I made while at Camp Needlepoint were amazingly important support. It was at camp that I realized that other people had diabetes. It was there that I felt in the majority for the first time in my short life. Some of the kids that I went to camp with are still close friends of mine today, and I rely on their perspective and help problem solving. I met B. when we were both 8 years old. We grew up together, writing each other letters during the year that said, “only 285 days until camp.” We cherished our relationship. We didn’t have much in common. Different interests, different lifestyles. But we both had diabetes, and that was most important. She went on an insulin pump first, when she became pregnant. She made it safe for me to try and to know that I wouldn’t be alone. We have laughed and cried together. I wouldn’t have made it through my teen age years without her. 30 years later, we are still friends.
I have friends at work who I trust and appreciate.
My teaching partner is my school family. She was with me when hypoglycemia unawareness reared its ugly head. She found juice and found ways to get me to drink, even when I was uncooperative at times. She recognizes the work involved in living with diabetes, and encourages and supports me. When I decided to pursue getting a diabetes alert dog, she helped to set up fund raising and made me believe it was possible. Without judging or hesitation, she lets me bring a big, black dog to work every day. She supports me to eat a healthy lunch, and cuts up the vegies for our salad every day.
My friend W, who also works at school with me, loves my dog. She keeps me grounded in where I’m at. She acknowledges the effort that I put in to managing my diabetes. She brings Dixie birthday presents in gift bags. (which Dixie LOVES-- the bag as much as the present!!) She picks ticks off of her, and scratches her every day. She makes my job easier because of her skills with kids.
The friends from the D-OC who I’ve met up with are amazing. Their support doesn’t usually come live, but via posts and responses. I appreciate their willingness to share ideas and help me celebrate the daily victories.
Then there’s my Dixie. The dog who loves me unconditionally. The dog who is with me every day. She has changed my life. She is wise beyond her years. I trust her.
To all my friends, my family, and Dixie... thank you for your support. You’re the best.