January 4, 2012

Of Diabetes, The Lion King and Paying It Forward

At our most recent Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Parent Network meeting there was a newly diagnosed mom having a tough time. Diabetes is hard. Having a child diagnosed is devastating. Truth be told at every meeting, everywhere, there is almost always a family in the emotional deluge of a recent diagnosis.  
Why us, why now, we don’t know what to do.
Our family has been there. Twice. The second diagnosiwas no easier even with the skills to manage it. Maybe because we had the skills and experience and knew more clearly what a diagnosis meant.
That’s the deal with a diagnosis like diabetes. As I become closer to people living with other chronic conditions I learn that the flood of emotions associated with diabetes isn’t unique. A lot of my e-patient friends with other conditions to manage share similar stories. Many also share the value they have found in patent communities. There is a common theme of receiving much needed support from communities and ultimately providing. 
So climb up on Pride Rock and queue the music, that is part of the circle of support. Sometimes I wonder who is doing more for who in that process. Sure the newbie needs a shoulder to cry on. Still I think there are those with experience also have a deep need to offer that shoulder. The truly gifted turn the circle a little farther. The make their chronic condition valuable and see it as an ability.
I read this on the Facebook page of Glu*, It was written by Jen Block, “I consider diabetes to be an asset. Its presence in my life has brought many challenges, but with each challenge I face, I emerge a little stronger.” She is a 15 year veteran so she isn’t all pollyanna and goes on to add, “Don’t get me wrong this is a challenging disease and I have no idea of the challenges you face in managing diabetes; but I do know you are all incredible people.
In there is a rock solid answer to, why us, why now, we don’t know what to do. Because you can be better for all the challenges you will face. You can be a little stronger and that is incredible. 

*Glu (myglu.org) is a T1D community launching this spring. I have been having fun with the beta.   

1 comment :

  1. It's so true. Each challenge does make us stronger. I love the Lion King Bit :)