Sunday, September 8, 2013

Power in Numbers

You never know how much your actions affect the lives of others. I always try to treat others the way I want to be treated. With that being said, I have great news. 

A couple of posts back I told you all that on the day of my diaversary (diabetes anniversary) I met another diabetic. I gave her all my contact info and told her to never hesitate to get in touch with me if she ever needed to. That was in the beginning of June. Fast forward to three days ago...

This past Sunday was my first day in, literally, 2 months to sit down and relax. So I checked my personal email account (which is the email address that I gave to the fellow diabetic back in June). I had a bunch of junk emails from clothing stores because all I do is shop but there was one email with a subject line that said "I could really use some help". It was from the 16 year old diabetic that I met months ago. Here's the email that she sent me. Word for word. 

"Hey Shannon,
Not sure if you remember me but we met at the bowling alley on Brady street not too long ago. I'm 16 and diabetic and you told me to contact you if I needed anything. And right now I just need some support. I'm trying my hardest to keep my blood sugars in order but it seems that my best is never good enough. I went to my first endo appointment since my diagnosis and my a1c was 9.9. When I was diagnosed it was 10.2. My doctor is working with me and my insurance company to put me on the pump. Animas Ping, is that what you have? I don't know why I'm so upset about this right now. Maybe I just needed to vent a little. I checked myself before I started typing this. I was 409. I really do want to give up. How do you deal with disease on a daily basis? I try and talk to my parents about all this but they don't really understand so I feel like they're just pitying me and that's annoying. It would be better if I could talk to someone that lives with this daily. I understand if you don't want to help a complete stranger but I would love if you responded. 
Peace be with you,
Lauren "

I was astonished. And shocked. And grateful. And angry. And sad. I wanted to take away her pain, this complete stranger, and give her happiness of some sort but I knew that all I could do was tell her the truth. 

My response: Lauren, thank you for reaching out to me. I'm so happy you found the courage to ask for help. First off, I use a Medtronic pump but I could give you plenty of contact info for animas users. You asked me how I do this every day and the truth is, I do it by talking to people like you. I find comfort in knowing that I'm not alone. I reach out to others. I try not to hold in my anger. I cut myself some slack when I see a bad number on my meter. I keep reminding myself that these numbers do not define who I am by any means. I take deep breaths when I'm ready to give up. I keep pushing myself.I let myself have bad days. I cry. I laugh. I surround myself with people I love. I try to appreciate the little things in life. I change basals. I correct highs and treat lows. I get paranoid. I work hard and I make sure I'm doing my best. It sounds to me like you're doing all that you can. Keep contacting me. Keep trying your best. You may not always have perfect numbers but knowing you're not alone makes things easier. Lauren, do not keep beating yourself up over this. There's no easy way out of diabetes. You just have to live life with a few extra precautionary measures. Just remember that you can do this. I am always, always here for you. Show diabetes who the real boss is!
Much love,

Her response to my email was very short. She simply said " At some point in reading your email I had this gut feeling that everything will be okay. Thank you Shannon." 

The DOC has power in numbers. We're all in this together. Always remember that.

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