When James was first diagnosed, Craig was in art school and I was in grad school. We weren’t “struggling,” but between the cost of tuition and books at our various institutions, there wasn’t a lot of extra to go around. I remember spending some time on the Children with Diabetes® website and learning about all the great type 1 diabetes books. I wanted so much to be able to read one. With the idea of maybe asking for one for Mother’s Day, I posed a question in the forums there: “If you had to only buy ONE, which would you buy?” I explained that the library didn’t have any and I was trying to work on an interlibrary loan. I received a very sweet private message that pretty much said, “Hey, don’t get yourself a diabetes book for Mother’s Day, I’ll send you one of mine. It’s great, and you don’t owe me a thing.” Thanking him profusely, I sent him my address, and in a week or so the book ended up on my doorstep. I read that thing so many times and learned so much useful information. It was truly a godsend!
That was only the first of many times that I’ve been helped out by members of the diabetes online community. Another occurred when we discovered that James was sensitive to the various infusion site tapes and adhesives and was having a problem with his sites falling off. I was about as discouraged as I have ever been by diabetes at this time. I had lost four infusion sets in five days and was dealing with terrible welts all over James’ upper waist area. I thought we might have to give up pumping. But a sweet forum member again got my address and mailed me a strip of tape that she’d used with great success. While we didn’t end up using that particular adhesive, I felt so much better after receiving it. I didn’t feel alone, and I truly couldn’t believe that a stranger would care so much to take a trip to the post office to help out my child. It warmed my heart and changed my feelings about diabetes that day.
Since then, I’ve had countless encounters both in the forums and social media with knowledgeable, caring parents who “get it” and who are able to help me when I’m having trouble, say, locating blood ketone strips, or who happen to be online during one of those long nights monitoring blood sugar and just chat with me while I wait for a recheck. Truly, my experience “meeting” people in the diabetes online community has been amazing.
So when I heard that a friend of mine had her pump supplies stolen off her porch, it was super clear what I needed to do. (First off, I do consider this person my friend — we’ve never met in person or even chatted on the phone, but she has been very supportive whenever I have a question about James. I remember her encouraging post when I decided to try homeschooling James, and she similarly weighed in when I decided to send him back to public school!) So it was with great pleasure that I then got to send HER a private message explaining that because James recently switched infusion sets, we had acquired a huge surplus of the kind that her son uses, and it would make me happy to send her my extra supplies. She wrote back that that would be helpful, and last Friday I dropped the package in the mail to her.
She said she was so happy that “tears were running down her face,” and I can relate to that feeling, having been there before many times. But I confess, I think it feels even better on MY end, being the person who brings a ray of hope and becoming part of that huge chain reaction of caring that binds together us parents of children with type 1 diabetes.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.
All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.