The value of having a personal support network

An enthralled audience for my home recording session

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 A month ago I was asked to create a video about the value of having a personal support network living with diabetes.

I immediately reached out to tens of patients to ask whether they had a support network, who was in it and what it gave them. 

I got answers like: 

My sorority sister and college roommate has been my friend who has listened when everything about diabetes has been a “bitch” from diagnosis to 36 years later. She has consoled, encouraged me, kicked my butt when I needed it, laughed at crazy things, cried with me when it just got to be too much…all the time letting diabetes be the smallest rather than the biggest part of who I am. 

My husband is my life line. Without him I might not be here to type!!!

My grandchildren, when they are with me are always reminding me to take my blood sugar or my shot. They like doing it for me and it is such a motivation for me because they are learning with me.

My entire family helps me – My wife reads the back label of all purchases at the grocery, my grown children drink “preppy micro-brew beer” but always have light beer in the house for me, during family celebrations my 87 year old mother always makes sure there is fruit for dessert. 

From the moment of my diagnosis, my partner Dan has been there. He held my hand in the emergency room (I was in DKA), told me that he would help with all of the new eating habits, and has been there ever since. He helps with meal planning, keeping an eye on the barristas at Starbucks (um, she said no syrup), and always kindly saying “you seem low.”  He also never does the peeking at my meter – he respects my privacy but is always willing to help if I’m high or low.

What I know from the answers I received and my own supportive partner – who carries glucose tabs and sweeTarts wherever we go as back-up, points me toward interesting articles and is always ready to listen when I’m on the edge of burn out – is the rock bottom value of having people in your life who are there for you.

The video I wrote and recorded will actually be a series of three – 1) Introduces the value of having a personal support network and helps you assess who’s in yours,  as well as what you could use help doing; 2) 10 tips on how to communicate effectively to have family, friends and acquaintances join your support network; and 3) 10 tips how to leverage others’ help and support to maintain healthy habits. I will keep you posted when and where they’re available.

For now, however, I couldn’t resist showcasing my excellent audience during my recording session. Truly, they were mesmerized; they didn’t make a peep or move a muscle!

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