March Challenge

March 1st, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

I think it’s time for a challenge for each and every one of us.  I’ve decided March is our Magical Month for this one.

Don’t worry: this is a good challenge.  There is one for people living with diabetes themselves and a special parent challenge too.

In fact, there are probably some of us who can meet the challenge in a couple of days!  But I still want you to work at it all month.

I’ve learned in the past few years that asking for help is not the sign of weakness I once believed it to be: instead, I’ve learned that asking for help is really a sign of strength.

Especially when it comes to living with diabetes.

So the challenge for your month (for those of you with diabetes) is to figure out ways someone else can help you with your diabetes, and ask for that help.

I have met countless diabetics who have done amazing things on their own.  (In fact, I admit I am probably one of them.)  They have managed this incredibly complex disease since childhood with a fair amount of grace and an impressive amount of perseverance AND accomplished great things in the rest of their lives to boot.

So this one may be hardest for those folks used to doing things on their own. 

I want everyone to take a few minutes this week and figure out one thing that you can ask someone else for that would alleviate one part of your diabetes for even a minute.

Then, once you’ve figured out what that is, ask for it.  Ask for it BEFORE you need it, and let the person know why you’re asking: because you TRUST them and because no matter how small it is, it will HELP YOU with your diabetes.

It may be as simple as “be quiet when I’m changing my site” or “walk through a glucagon drill so I can rest assured you know how to do it” or “bring me juice” or “know where I have low food in my desk drawer” or “drive me to my doctor’s appointment” or, if you are especially brave, “check my blood sugar for me”.  (For the record, I’m not that brave yet.)

The point is that these things are each examples of things that we know they don’t NEED to do.  In fact, we’ve gotten along just fine without them, thankyouverymuch.

But that isn’t what this challenge is about.  This challenge is about learning to let go a little of the burdens you carry.  It isn’t about the burden feeling heavy or large or really anything at all particular to the burden—this is about SHARING your diabetes in however small or large way as you choose. 

Now, PARENTS, you have a similar challenge.  This one is to think of one thing to GIVE your son or daughter to be in charge of.  If it is “restock the diabetes supply cabinet” or “make a list of the low food you can reach from your bed and from your desk at school” or “text me your number after school” or “count the carbs on your plate” or “change your site without me in the room” again, it doesn’t matter.  What matters for your son or daughter is that they learn in small and increasing ways how to live with their diabetes on their own, every day.  Because there will come a time they need to share their disease with a girlfriend or roommate or neighbor or coworker and they need to know how to be responsible for their own health, and how to ask for help and how to receive that help with grace and appreciation.

Dignity and respect are critical for each of these challenges, be it parental or individual.  No one is saying anyone is doing a poor job managing their diabetes!  No one is saying they should micromanage less.  No one is saying more needs to be done.

The challenge is simply to recognize and practice that people in our lives whom we love can also serve a FUNCTION for us with our diabetes.  It’s simply our job to know what to ask for, and to appreciate sharing the burden.

Good luck.

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