February's 2nd question for consideration (and blogging, and discussion, and videos...) is:
We talk often about how our loved-ones support us around diabetes, but not about how we support them. Being a "type 3" is hard work! How do you support the members of your personal diabetes support team? Do you ask how your diabetes is affecting them? What things can we do to make their support role easier for them to maintain?
Write your thoughts below, or write a blog and post the link in the discussion feed below!
When a friend asks an educated question about my diabetes, or shows a genuine interest to learn more, or checks in because they remember I'm on a new pump or am having a tricky BG week, I tell them how much it means to me. When someone has gone out of their way to remember what my life-with-d must be like, it means the world to me and it is important that I tell them.
And it's important that I remember there's no glory in toughing it out on my own.
I am lucky to have a loving wife that is also a RN. She has rescued me more than 200 times when I said I was fine, even though I fought her tooth and nail , sinking into a reaction. We have been together so long, she can just look at me and know that I'm not right. I don't thank my "Rock" enough.....She is everything to me. My partner, my doctor, my lifeline...She kicks my ass into line and for that I am forever grateful. I made a promise to myself that I would help her help me as much as I can. She is almost as unlucky as I am to have Diabetes. She married into it and she has more than lived up to her end of the bargain. I am truly humbled by her tenacity to help me get through the rough patches.
Honestly, I don't do anything directly to support them. I think my loved ones just me to be happy and healthy, and by taking care of myself I'm doing just that. But I do try to "Pay it Forward", and support others with D (both online and in real life).
When I decided, at the last minute, to participate in the JDRF Walk-for-a-Cure in the fall, I sent out an emotional plea for sponsorships to my close family. The e-mail response I got from my father was quite touching, and was, in a sense, a reassurance that in our family we all help each other.
He wrote, in part (I won't copy the whole message) a message that brings a tear to my eye every time I read it:
"Mom and I are proud to sponsor you ... We're also extremely proud of you. You have lived with diabetes now for about 30 years. We watched you having to make adjustments in your life at a very young age. We know it hasn't always been easy, but you handled it with such maturity and with an obvious sense of self responsibility. Your act ... just reinforces to us what we already know about you. You are a compassionate and caring person with a good heart and a soft spot for those who could use some help. We could not have asked for a more wonderful son..."
As a parent myself, I believe that the best way to express gratitude and support to those who raised you is to adopt and embrace the values they worked so hard to teach. Every parent relishes the opportunity for their kids to make them proud, and I think I've done that.
Someone pass the tissues please! Your dad's message brought tears to my eyes as well Scott. That is really a heartfelt, touching message.
As a mom of a child with diabetes, I feel the most important person in Caleb's support team is his school nurse. She cares for Caleb as she would one of her own children. She does so much more for him than just help manage his diabetes. She is a key, perhaps the most key, person in his educational environment and one of the few people who has been with him consistently for three full years. I consider her a personal friend.
My support of her is to include her in making decisions in Caleb's care plan. She's there every day and has a perspective I will never attain. I defer to her judgment whenever I can and treat her with the respect that she has earned and deserves. I try to show my appreciation with gifts at the holidays, her birthday, nurse's appreciation day and the end of the school year. I help out in the office whenever I can.
I try and say "thank you" each and every day at least once. It's not difficult as she gives me so many opportunities to do so.
I'm forever grateful that my wife dragged me to the doctor, after a month of feeling like crap, drinking continuously, and losing about 10lbs in that month.
Now I repay; she had knee replacement so I am quite happy to be her primary care giver, on call 24 hours a day, while she recovers.
I also try to repay this group by encouraging the discouraged to get motivated and enjoy the life they have.
I'm fortunate to have a wife who sees that I take care of myself, without having to nag me, of course, having had two T2 insulin-using diabetic parents makes me very aware of it. So I try to stay on top of things without it being on top of me.
My support system is helping others who are diabetic, or might be becoming (aka pre-diabetic). I ask them how their numbers look, how things are going, etc.. People actually open up for you when you ask. I'm not there to make people feel bad, or guilty. But my role is to encourage all of us.
I'm currently planning on bringing up on Monday at our church council meeting, whether or not, they would be OK with me starting a diabetes support group (for our church and as a outreach to our community). I'm sure the council will be in favor of it. So I guess then I need to see if I'm sitting there by myself!!
I hope that I support my support system by giving back to others!
I think the Church should favor your decision to create a worthy outreach group. I bet more people with diabetes would show up than expected....I applaud your efforts!
Kickatie - thanks for your kind words.
To follow-up, The church council didn't even blink in approving that initiative. I will have my first meeting on March 1st - and I know there are at least 3 more folks who will be there - right off the council table!!!
See, there you go!! You are doing a great service and the community is going to benefit. You should be proud of yourself and fight the good fight!
This question reminds me that I probably don't do enough. I try to apologize to my spouse when I get behind on my end of the household responsibilities on sick/tough diabetes days—and let him know often that I appreciate his help with laundry, dishes, and the things I get bogged down with. I try to be an 'enabler' for his snowboarding habit… encouraging him to take time 'away' from me and the kids, to get a small reprieve for his constant care for us!
Now it's my husband and he's been there for 27 years no matter what I said to him or how I said it. (U know lows and highs can make u do and say really dumb things) Bless him. When my mom was alive it was both him & her mainly. What have I done for them in return??? When my mom was dying I made sure I was there for her. She could say anything she wanted or do anything she wanted I just wanted to make surte she knew I would do as much for her as I could humanly do. My husband is the greatest at thking care of me now by himself. When my mom was alive we made it a deal that once a week if I could I took her & my kids along with my husband out to eat whatever they wanted too. Not much I know but it was my way of repaying them for helping me out. My dad was always invited too he just didn't come at all.