Sunday, May 20, 2012

D-Blog Week Day #7: Diabetes Hero

Today's prompt:

Let’s end our week on a high note and blog about our “Diabetes Hero”. It can be anyone you’d like to recognize or admire, someone you know personally or not, someone with diabetes or maybe a Type 3. It might be a fabulous endo or CDE. It could be a d-celebrity or role-model. It could be another DOC member. It’s up to you – who is your Diabetes Hero??.

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Oh, my heroes! I love all my fellow DOCers, but you guys are more like my comrades-at-arms. But my heroes? They're the Type 3s. The people who are there for me not because they're stuck with diabetes like I am, but because they choose to be. I have a lot of T3s in my life, but some of them loom larger than others - a lot of where I am today is because of my trio of T3s.

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My mom was my first Type 3. She was there post-dx in 1993 when I was sobbing in the jam aisle at Hannaford, completely crushed and utterly lost. I'd been told to avoid foods with sugar in the top 3 ingredients and how could I possibly eat PB&J anymore? Or live my life like I had been? I was counting Cheez-Its, people. We weren't in Kansas any more.

She switched the whole family to diet soda and diabetic-friendly meals without batting an eyelash. She drove me to my far-away endo appointments, and tried to keep quiet about the fact I was logging weeks' of BGs on the way there. She managed to walk that tightrope of letting me take care of myself but also being there for me when I needed it - no small feat, as I was 15 years old and teenagers are HARD.

I went away to college, and Mom was the ultimate team player - we had a crazy insurance system worked out, and she battled them for every copay and reimbursement....all I had to do was charge my supplies. College was hard for me, and she was there for my first double-digit A1c, with a hug while I cried and without judgment.

My mom was a huge part of my formative diabetic years - a lot of why I take care of myself as well as I do is because of the determination and "Well, this is what I have to do" doggedness she instilled in me.

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My little sister came a bit later to the party, when we were both adults. She is a giant biology nerd. She is the one that emails when she hears about new T1 developments, who is actually interested when I talk about new tech, who wanted to watch me change my set when I was new to pumping. She cheers me on for our annual JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, and she is an insanely generous donor.

Her interest in all the nitty gritty is invaluable. I could talk the ears off a fellow PWD about site changes or my excitement about upcoming Dexcom integrations - they would listen because they also have a vested interest in those things. But my sister? She's legitimately interested, and asks nerdy-bio questions no one else (often, not even me) thinks to ask. Guys, she even goes off to Google and researches stuff on her own. This is not your run of the mill support, and it means the world.

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And then there's my ultimate Type 3 - B, my husband, my co-pilot, my rock. Did you notice where I said "our annual JDRF Walk"? B is why it's "our." Everything is our.

We were looking for apartments a few years ago. He found a duplex that looked interesting and went to check it out. His report? "There's a spiral staircase, so that's out." I had no idea what he was talking about. Why would a spiral staircase be a deal breaker? "I don't want you to have to use it if you're low in the middle of the night." The thought hadn't even crossed my mind, but it had been at the forefront of his - my disease is an ours.

I couldn't have managed my disease throughout pregnancy without him. I couldn't have summoned the bravery to try pumping without him. I couldn't have the control I have without him. He is the solid rock I lean on when I can't bear the unrelenting chronicness of it any more. He fetches juice without complaint, and checks to make sure we always have some on hand. He understands that sometimes I just need to eat a metric ton of french fries regardless of the BG consequences - that I need to blow off some steam, but that I'll get back on the diabetes horse again after I've done so. He's the least judgmental person I know. He is supportive without being pushy, lends strength without being overbearing. He tracks T1 athletes for me, listens to my d-rants, and never mentions all the diabetes detritus I leave around the house. He is the most tenacious fund-raiser I've ever seen, and Team Hoffmanderson benefits from that.

I wish every PWD could have someone like him around to help them out when the diabetes burden is too much to carry alone.


  1. Awesome that you have these people in your life, great post.

  2. i was diagnosed in '93, too!

    and my mom sounds a lot like your mom. and my husband like your husband. when it comes to diabetes, anyway. you know what i mean. ;)

    "He is the solid rock I lean on when I can't bear the unrelenting chronicness of it any more." yes. just yes. that is josh for me, totally and completely. and i feel so blessed.