Monday, May 9, 2011

Celebrating Our Differences

It's the 2nd Annual Diabetes Blog Week...and Sweetly Voiced's first annual attempt at it. Coming off of the 30 day Health Activist's Writer's Monthly Challenge, one single week of d-blogs sounds breezy!

Our first prompt challenges us to celebrate what we learn from bloggers with a different perspective on diabetes than our own - such as a type 1 learning from a type 2 or a type 2 learning from a parent of a PWD (person with diabetes).

In honor of Mother's Day yesterday, my mind naturally drifts to a certain mother, blogger, and D-mom I know - one who inspires me with her advocacy and her devotion to managing her son's diabetes - Lorraine of This is Caleb.

I have been following Lorraine's blog for some time. Not only is Caleb an inspiring young man meeting every challenge of his diabetes - first adorably, and now admirably and bravely - but I can appreciate Lorraine's perspective now as a mother myself.

I will admit that I have often had a contentious relationship with parents of type 1s online. As a teacher and a former child with diabetes, I often insert myself into their forum threads with the self-righteous belief that they need to hear my perspective as an adult who has come through on the other side. It's not always taken well. *laughs* It's why I don't venture into the CWD forums and why I volunteer very infrequently with my local JDRF chapter.

I don't even know why I am so impatient with these folks. They are going through hell - especially after a recent diagnosis. But I grow tired of talking in circles about how we just need a cure and I start getting preachy with them about how they need to focus on helping their child live with the condition today.

Maybe it's because that's the only side of the coin my mom ever let me see.

My own mom ROCKED the D-mom role. She was a dosage-calculating, food-measuring, teacher-conferencing powerhouse of strength and confidence.

Or at least that's what she led me to believe.

In reality, my mom sobbed behind closed doors, stalled letting me get my driver's license, and slept uneasily.

I need to just butt out sometimes and let these parents grieve and cope with the disease as they need to. As a parent myself, I need to respect their right to feel whatever they feel.

I am still shaking from reading D-mom Hallie's account of the Scariest Night of Her Life. I could have written something similar about watching my infant daughter have a febrile seizure back in December. Sweetie's wasn't D-related, but it doesn't matter. What a patient's parent sees and feels deserves respect, too. Helplessness. Fear. Questions.

Seeing how Hallie and Lorraine and other D-moms grapple with the small trials like insulin choices and the huge ordeals like 8-day stomach viruses or D-related seizures makes me wonder what my mother would have blogged about 20 years ago. Probably my DKA. My A1c's that hovered in the 13-15% range for years.

Lorraine - and other rockin' D-mom bloggers - have helped me change how I relate to parents of PWD. I consider them to be loving, proactive, empowering activists for diabetes awareness. And I think they should be celebrated on Mother's Day and during Diabetes Blog Week and the rest of the year, too.


  1. Oh Melissa. Words can't express how touched I am. I have such a deep respect for you, the support you provide others and your advocacy. To have you mention me as you have brings me to tears. Thank you.

    Your mom, however, sounds like an amazing woman. I'm afraid Caleb has likely seen much more on the other side of the door than your mom showed you. I applaud her - standing ovation in fact - for that. That may be my biggest struggle with D (with life) is trying to put on a happy face.

    It's from you and other adults living with diabetes that I have gotten my strength to cope. Thank you for that. It's heartwarming to know that it sometimes goes full circle too.

  2. this is a fantastic post, bravo to you!

    blessings to you and your little one from Angela (D-mom twice)

  3. Your mom did ROCK as a D-Mom. Well, she rocked in general :) ...but you're right. She was a pillar of strength - always there, always taking care of you, seemingly never showing just how frightening, overwhelming, and crazy trying to parent a child with diabetes really was. (You inherited a great deal of strength from her) Now that we're older, now parents, it's easier to see what a struggle she (and so many other Diabetic parents) must go through - and I applaud every single parent that goes through this. I can only imagine the myriad of emotions they must endure. Happy day-after-Mother's Day to every one of you!

  4. Thank you for your kind words! There is a lot of guilt that goes with being a parent of a child with type 1, or in my case 3....every number stabs us in the heart. We want what is best for our children...diabetes or not.

  5. Those D-Moms and D-Dads are so inspiring by their superhero-pancreas personas! Love hearing those perspectives, and finding ways we can all celebrate our differences and best use those in the bigger fight against diabetes. All of our passion combined is an incredible force, as this online community helps illustrate.

  6. Such a perfect topic for today as we come off of mother's day yesterday. Thanks for sharing!

  7. So many people (including me!) picked the D parents for our inspirations! They are something special!