Late last week, I went with my Dad to drop my sister back off at uni. We were talking about peer support, after my Mum was invited to an event for people living with her condition, polymyositis.
"It sounds really stupid," I began, "but the best thing I've ever done is get on a train to London and meet this girl called Lizzie. The rest, as they say, is history! You and Mum don't often see my bad diabetes days because I have this network of people I can turn too. Some I only know by name, others have become good friends, close friends, that I can't imagine not knowing. I think Mum could use that. The worst that happens is she goes and hates it. That's okay [no force-feeding of community is one of my rules]. On the other hand, it might be just what she, and you, need."
"I think you're right," my Dad said (he's a man of very few words), "so that's your secret to making diabetes look easy, huh? Friends with diabetes?"
"Yep! So simple, so effective! Because this disease is not easy, not in the slightest. And I would take a cure in a heartbeat. But, for me, community helps. Friends help. They've influenced who I am today and my attitude towards diabetes."
"If someone had asked me when you were diagnosed if you'd have coped, I honestly would have said no."
"I would have said no too," I laughed. "But it's not all my doing. I've had a lot of help and support from family and friends [and from the DOC as a whole] along the way."
And I will forever be grateful for that.