Thursday, May 28, 2020

Peer Support

In my early years with T1D starting in 1945, when I was 6, I did not know another person with diabetes. I trusted my doctors, and did not realize that they knew so little about diabetes. I was told to test my urine in the morning, determine my insulin dosage, and take my shot. There was no additional testing or insulin until the next morning. I could eat anything I wanted, and as much as I wanted, as long as it did not contain sugar. I did not know about potential diabetes complications for many years. Diabetes seemed very simple, and I was not scared because of my ignorance. It was that way until I was 30, when I read an article that predicted the life expectancy for someone diagnosed in the 1940's. My life was predicted to end when I was in my teens, but I was already 30 when I read the article. I was very discouraged, and I was afraid for the first time since I was diagnosed. A few years later my wife, my two young sons and I moved to New York. We bought a home, and a few years later I wanted mortgage insurance. I thought I might have diabetes complications before the mortgage was paid, and I did not want my wife to have that burden. An insurance company sent me to a local doctor. He was supposed to examine me and determine whether I should be insured. He gave me a test strip for urine testing. I used the strip and it showed a very dark green. That indicated very high sugar. Based on that test strip, I was denied the mortgage insurance. That was a ridiculous conclusion based on a single urine test. Testing at home frequently showed good results, with low urine sugar. The doctor told me that I should prepare my will. He said I probably would not survive beyond my 40's. I was very much afraid that my lifespan was going to end in the near future. I was not scared by my diabetes for so many years, and then I was very much afraid, even though I did not have any diabetes complications at that time. I did approach another insurance company, Metropolitan Life, and was approved for mortgage insurance. They contacted my own doctor, and he gave them a good report. I was relieved!

I still did not know another type 1 diabetic until I joined an online support group in 2006. I learned so many things on that none of my doctors had mentioned. I had lived with T1D for 61 years at that time, and I finally found what proper diabetes management should be. In 2007 I joined and continued my online education. Friends there convinced me that I should use an insulin pump. I started pumping in June, 2007. With successful programming on my pump, I started having fewer highs and lows. My roller coaster control was greatly improved. Lower highs and higher lows made my diabetes so much easier to handle.

Friends on Diabetes Daily wanted to know what it was like to be a T1D in my early years. I started writing blogs, and there were many many replies. I was encouraged to continue my blogs. When the blogs concluded, my readers suggested that I should write a book. I did that, and it was published on Amazon in March, 2010. The link for the book is given here:

I wanted to give support to my fellow diabetics in all the groups I had joined. I received so much help online, and I wanted to return the favor by offering encouragement, inspiration and hope to my fellow T1D's. I have attempted to do that here on my own Facebook timeline, and in some of the T1 support groups. I have joined several parents support groups. The parents of T1 children seem to be encouraged to know a 74 year T1D who does not have any serious diabetes complications. I enjoy having discussions with the parents. I have met some of them, and their children at the Friends For Life type 1 conference meetings in Orlando.

Diabetes peer support has helped me so much. I joined Facebook in late 2009, and joined several support groups. I have found Facebook's groups to be the best. I get more replies with good discussions here than I get on support groups that are not on Facebook. The article below comes from DiaTribe. It discusses the value of peer support online in diabetes support groups. Several support groups that are not on Facebook are listed there. I belong to several of them, and they are very good! I am very pleased that I have joined support groups online, and I hope that you are, too.

The link below from DiaTribe gives a discussion about the success of Peer Support.

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