During college, I babysat for a family with one child who has type 1 diabetes and one child who does not. Immediately I saw how excited the child with diabetes was to be with someone else like him, someone who had to do all the shots and finger pokes and carb counting. When he first saw my syringe, he excitedly proclaimed, “HEY! I have the SAME one.” (As far as I know, I think all insulin syringes look about the same.) But the high point for me was when his non-D sister walked into the room while we were both checking our blood sugar. He took one look at her and said in a slightly bragging tone, “Your pancreas works, but OURS don’t!!” At that moment, I realized how much easier it was for him, for me, for all of us to face diabetes knowing that we ARE NOT ALONE.
At the age of six, this young man taught me a lesson that I have only recently come to fully appreciate, living with diabetes is much easier when you know that you are not alone.
After years of feeling the need to prove to myself and the outside world (and even my doctor) that I can do this ON MY OWN, I now accept and rejoice in the fact, that there is no need to. I handle my diabetes better from day-to-day knowing that people all around the world are living similar lifestyles, dealing with similar issues. Through the diabetes online community, and TuDiabetes in particular, I have found comfort and strength in knowing that there are people that understand.