It's just a bit more than two months since my two-year old was dx. I'm stunned by the lack of support I've received from some family and friends. Thank goodness for online support and Tu Diabetes.
To be fair, I think most of my family and friends are simply clueless. And reportedly my husband and I "seem to be doing just fine." My toddler certainly appears to be well; she's a joyful child who often performs her own happy dance. So, I think it's easy to simply treat us as if "no big deal, nothing's wrong, just treat them like everyone else."
But to us that feels like being ignored and unloved. We're really not that great. We're deeply hurting and we could use some nurturing. Make that, A LOT of nurturing.
So I thought maybe we could put together a "TO DO" list that could be handed out to family and friends of those dealing with a new diagnosis.
I'll start -- and my list is a bit more for parents of kids with type 1 -- but ideally this list could be handed to anyone. If it looks good I'll compile it together in one entry. And if someone has already done this, feel free to point out a link.
Here's how you can support someone dealing with a new diagnosis of diabetes :
1) ASK how they are feeling. ASK if they are OK and would like a shoulder to lean on. ASK how you can help. But then also go ahead and do one or more of the following:
2) Send a letter, card or e-mail. Let them know you are thinking about them in this trying time. Bonus if you do this more than once!
3) Give a donation to JDRF or somesuch (even $5 is meaningful) in the name of the person newly diagnosed.
4) Bring over a meal. Maybe ask first if certain foods are now to be avoided, but you can not go wrong with a gorgeous veggie salad topped with grilled chicken.
5) Offer to make a grocery run, a load of laundry, walk the dog or mow the lawn.
6) Ask if there is anything you can read (book or website) that would help you understand more about diabetes. Understanding translates to nurturing!
7) If the newly dx is an adult you're close to; ask what you can do to help with the daily management. How can you help recognize lows and help in that situation? Offer to be an exercise buddy or diet buddy.
8) If the newly dx is a child or toddler then their parents are likely overwhelmed. Nothing would be more helpful and loving to these parents than having another adult trained to care for their child. This is a huge responsibility but would be the greatest gift of all. However, don't be insulted if the parents simply can not trust anyone else to manage their child's diabetes.
9) Don't push miracle cures. Those newly diagnosed are starting their own PHD education in diabetes and will seek out the medical care they need. Trust that they already know more about diabetes than you do, unless you have first-hand experience.