|Me in my office with messy hair but a happy heart:)|
On average, I spend about an hour or two each month mentoring newly diagnosed families.
An email will be directed to me from either our diabetes clinic or from JDRF directly, politely asking if I would mind calling a new family and helping them find their footing in the new world of type 1 diabetes.
My first reaction is "OF COURSE I WILL CALL!" and I literally jump to grab the phone and dial the number. My only wish is that I could reach through the line to give a bear hug, but I suppose that would be weird, so maybe it is best that I can't do that.
The truth is that when I see those emails, I feel privileged. Those first few days, weeks, even months after a new diagnosis are often quite daunting. To me, the greatest compliment is someone entrusting me with the care of handling a fragile new family. I feel blessed to be able to give back.
The reality is that I was once the new family and trying to find my own way too. And if my mentor family could have reached through the phone to bear hug me, I would have gladly accepted. I cherished those first few calls because it was only through those conversations that anyone even understood a smidge of what I was going through.
And I remember quite clearly, that living in a brand new type 1 diabetes world can be more than just lonely, it can also feel isolating, sad and depressing.
Reaching out to others is one of the best ways of realizing that you CAN DO THIS and YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
I say that with emphasis today and as well as with a very heavy heart.
My oldest daughter recently learned that one of her dear friends, a child who attended birthday parties with her, had play-dates together, spent hours on Webkinz with her, and all through elementary school, even shared the same teachers, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes over the weekend.
Sad doesn't even describe my broken heart.
So today, I am doubling my efforts in helping. I want this family to feel secure and to understand that while this diagnosis of type 1 diabetes was not in their hopes and dreams, it will BE ALRIGHT and THEY ARE NOT ALONE.
We, all of us in the diabetes online community (DOC), are here to guide, support and to bravely conquer type 1 diabetes, one step at a time.
If you have a moment, please leave a message in the comments, with an offering of hope and support for our friends and all of the other newly diagnosed families out there. Maybe you want to share one of your best type 1 diabetes tid-bits, or a story that helps to explain that life that does not end at diagnosis, but continues in an even richer and fuller way than before.
Thank you from one 'mentor' to another... CURE!