Today I had the privilege of meeting an incredible young lady. Lucy is 24 and was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 9. We shared stories and it was interesting to hear her perspective as a young person and I am hoping my perspective as a parent, was interesting to her. It gave me an insight into how my 14 year old may be feeling and may feel in the future. Lucy is working within the Australian Type 1 space creating a resource directory named Stitch Hub and is keen to continue to support the T1D community.
Meeting Lucy today was not by chance – it stemmed from a very teary afternoon meeting with the Principal of my daughters school in May 2018. Anna was attending her first camp after being diagnosed 6 months earlier – I thought I had it all covered and I thought I had thought of everything. Knowing me, I probably did. What I couldn’t manage however were Anna’s levels and after the first night, she was needing to be collected and brought home on the proviso she would return each morning and collected at the end of each day. We could work with that.
I know that schools are presently headlining for lack of support, and for some rightly so, however not all schools are the same. You see, it was the Principal during our meeting that calmed my sobs and made me feel like it was going to be okay. She asked if I had spoken to any other parents and at that time, I had not. She suggested I speak with a parent of the previous school where she was the Principal and gave me her number. The Principal provided support when I needed it and I am eternally grateful for that conversation.
I made contact with Lucy’s Mum Viv, the following day and it was this phone call that changed everything for me. Speaking to another mother who understood the difficulties and intricacies of Type 1 was powerful. She spoke language I didn’t understand and told me ‘I promise you, it will get easier’. I believed her when she said that and it was true. So, almost 12 months on, they are the words I use when I speak to newly diagnosed parents.
Why am I telling you this?
Because peer support, no matter what age the person is or how long they have lived with Type 1 is important. Connecting with others removes the isolation, helps to alleviate fear and can help to clear your mind. Studies have shown that peer support is an important element in the management of Type 1.
So, if you are struggling please reach out for support. There are people who understand this journey and what it involves.