When Ethan was diagnosed with T1, I imagined jumping in to one of our local JDRF support groups. The reality, though, was that those early weeks with T1 are HARD. And I had 2 children and a then-14-month-old. When I found out that our local support group met on a weekday morning, I realized that would not work for our family right now because I homeschool our kids. I do have one adult friend with T1 here in town and at the time of diagnosis, I had two other friends out of state who each had a child with T1. There was no local connection for us, though, and to this day Ethan still has not met another child with diabetes.
I was already on Twitter and kept seeing references to DSMA from Kerri’s Twitter feed but I had no idea what it really was. I just assumed it was for other high-profile bloggers and writers. But not too long ago I started to realize how much I needed to connect with other people living this weird diabetes life, so I decided to check the Wednesday night DSMA chat out.
I was not prepared for how quickly those Tweets came rolling in! Even though I was only a lurker in that first chat, I was not prepared for how many D-folks were going to start following me on Twitter. I was not prepared for the complete acceptance in the DOC (Diabetes Online Community). Parent, PWD, CWD – all are equal there. And I was certainly not prepared for the friendships that have developed through my computer screen.
Any time we put ourselves “out there,” we take a risk. I didn’t know if I would be accepted. I didn’t know if there was a clear dividing line between PWD and parents of CWD. I didn’t know if some of the more recognizable names in the diabetes world would be friendly and accessible. I didn’t know if I could just jump in.
But I took the risk.
And do you know what? I was not just accepted – I was welcomed with open arms. There is no dividing line in the DOC between PWD and parents of CWD. And those more recognizable names in the diabetes world? Yep. Totally friendly and accessible.
Even though I have been involved in the DOC for only a short time, I can say without a doubt that I have friends there. Kate, Bea, Marie, Simon, Jeff, Bob and so many others who I am still getting to know…thank you for making me feel so very much at home. At the risk of being sappy, I want to share a quote. Every time I think of the DOC, this passage is what immediately comes to mind:
“Luna had decorated her bedroom ceiling with five beautifully painted faces: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and Neville. They were not moving as the portraits at Hogwarts moved, but there was a certain magic about them all the same; Harry thought they breathed. What appeared to be fine golden chains wove around the pictures, linking them together, but after examining them for a minute or so, Harry realized that the chains were actually one word, repeated a thousand times in golden ink: friends…friends…friends…friends…”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows