Samantha: “On World Diabetes Day (November 14th), we give pause and think about what this day means. National Diabetes Awareness Month is a bittersweet 30 days of education, advocacy, and reflection for those whose lives are touched by diabetes. As you can imagine (or maybe have experienced for yourself), ruminating on this disease and how it affects your life and/or the lives of people that you care about can render one to feel powerless. I admit that I sometimes feel this way, but I feel it less frequently now as I did at the stark beginning of my journey with type 1 diabetes. I took the power back from the boogeymen of this disease’ uncertainties by pledging action and following through on the intention to make any difference that I could.
At each step in the road, I have done what is within my ability and power to achieve where I am in that moment. For me, and many others, It began with getting involved in the community. As a walk team captain, committee member, and volunteer, I am active in my local chapter of JDRF, which was the first organization I became familiar with in the diabetes community. Later, I discovered the important work being done by organizations like Children with Diabetes, PADRE Foundation, Beyond Type 1, and the American Diabetes Association (to name just a few of the many hard-working groups out there making a difference) and became involved with them as well.
As I moved forward, past diagnosis and the challenging months that followed, I felt a calling to leave my career in entertainment behind to pursue further education in order to provide guidance where so many families and individuals needed support beyond what their clinic can offer in a quarterly endo visit. Studying and becoming certified in health and wellness coaching at the Mayo Clinic, leading to a national board certification in the field, was the step I needed to take to become a professional partner in education, support, and accountability for those who wrestle with the highs and lows of life with T1D. From here, I began working one on one, in groups, conducting workshops/speaking, and providing expert information to media sources and journalists to help them get diabetes right in their reporting.
Writing and publishing Type 1 Diabetes Caregiver Confidence is something that I knew I could do to help bring skills and support to caregivers of children who live with T1D. My goal was to allow parents to feel more confident in allowing their child to be in the care of others, while instilling confidence in caregivers’ ability to care for a child who lives with T1D. Spreading this resource to grandparents, school nurses, daycare providers, babysitters, camp counselors, teachers, neighbors, and friends is important to me because I know how vital it is for families to feel supported in the day-to-day with diabetes. Every individual who cares for a child with T1D should have access to the type of skill-building and resources that are present in this book. The wonderful caregivers who step in to provide this specialized care need our support and guidance too, and this book was a way for me to help improve accessibility to this type of information.
I don’t know what the future holds. Nobody knows what technological advancements or biological research may reveal by next November, or the November after that. In diabetes, as in life, there are no guarantees. All we have is the choice to do what is within our ability and power to achieve where we are in each moment. Each step we take in that direction affirms that we can make a difference and reclaim the power from the negative aspects of this disease to be transformed into a positive.
This World Diabetes Day, would you join me in a call to action to ‘Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.’ (Squire Bill Widener) Our accomplishments know no limits when we put our efforts together to reach for the stars!”
I trust you enjoyed reading Samantha’s post and learned more about living with T1D from Samantha’s experiences, resources, and advice. Please visit Samantha’s website Gracemark.org for more information about Samatha, her book, Type 1 Diabetes Caregivers Confidence, and her coaching! I was honored to write the forward for Samantha’s exceptional book, a resource that every parent and caregiver must have on their bookshelf!
Please note that according to JDRF, T1D it is likely that, including the 1.25 million Americans currently living with this disease, 5 million are expected to have it by 2050, if we don’t do something now.
• You can also receive a FREE Chapter, #7 “Your Romantic Relationships,” from my original What Color Is Your Brain?® book, which you will receive when you sign up for my new Sheila’s Brain Blog section at the bottom of my homepage!
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