Diabetes Blog Week the prompt is to write about your Diabetic Hero, "anyone you’d like to recognize or admire...".
OK, so I've changed my mind *lots* of times about who I should write about. First I thought about some of those stand-out members of the Diabetes Online Community whose blogs, posts, insight, brutal honesty, encouragement and downright laugh-out-loud hilarity that have made such a difference to my experience of living with diabetes - even the ones I have only 'met' this week.
[Apologies to the (many) people not linked there - that sentence was getting stupidly long. You know who you are.]
Next I felt that I should acknowledge the members of the diabetes forums which have become my immediate go-to whenever I have a problem that is grinding me down, a pattern I can't spot or just need to rant and rage about the overwhelming stupidity and inconsistency of D sometimes. The folks here and here are without question the first place I go whenever I have something that needs fixing, discussing or could do with some ideas bounced around with my control. I find fascinating research papers linked. Thorny issues debated and discussed. New tactics and approaches for improving BG control. For upwards of 15 years I barely spoke to another person with diabetes, aside from maybe one or two 'friends of friends' I bumped into, whose experience of D seemed to be nothing like mine. Before I joined those forums I had almost no understanding of type 2 diabetes. I am so glad that that has changed.
I considered acknowledging *everyone* who follows @everydayupsdwns on Twitter. I have lost count of the times my day has been turned around after I've posted a "Blaaaaaaaah! Diabetes is rubbish..." tweet only to receive an instant 140 characters of encouragement from folks in all corners of the globe, day or night.
Too many options. Too many people that I would miss out, whoever I chose.
In the end, the answer was so blindingly obvious I wonder why I didn't think of it immediately. I've thought it often enough! In the end it has little to do with me and my experience. In the end it is a group of people who are often overlooked in the whole diabetes equation. And yet they are some of the most powerful advocates. Some of the most brilliant managers of this trickiest of conditions. It is simply this:
Parents of Children with Diabetes. All of them.
I was diagnosed in early adulthood (aged 21), but I know some of the psychological impact it had on my parents. My Mum still blames herself and wonders what she did wrong (nothing Mum, really, honestly, truly - nothing). She also still worries which of the grandchildren "might get it now". From the start my family were a huge support and encouragement in coming to terms with my diagnosis. By and large though, I was responsible for my own care.
I am now privileged to have two beautiful, inspiring, ferociously clever, teenage daughters. I have watched them grow and blossom. Become amazing people. I know the nagging parental worries connected with anything they ever do. Wanting the very best for them, all the time. I know the emotional wrench of any illness and discomfort they experience. The agony and ecstasy considering of what their future may hold.
I know how hard it is to play at being your own pancreas. I know how much of the time the 'rules' make little sense. How hard to have to be on yourself to keep things in control. How some days the weight of possible complications can feel like an unbearable weight to carry. How darned difficult the day to day can be - even when you have your own body senses giving you little tiny clues about levels all the time.
I cannot imagine what it takes to play pancreas for your child. All of the difficulty. None of the warning-sign sensory feedback. And all the parental concern about being too harsh/not harsh enough/future health and well-being into the bargain.
No doubt. All you guys are complete and utter heroes.
You take my breath away.