I wondered recently if you ever wonder why anyone would write a blog. I'm always interested in people's motivations and given that I am writing about parenting as it specifically relates to children's health – well, if I was you... I'd wonder about my motivations. That's a long rambling way of saying... I want to tell you why I do this.
A long time ago I was the parent of a child newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and I was frightened. I felt alone, unsure and most of my waking moments were spent wondering if the next decision I would make about insulin would kill my little girl. I was a bit of a wreck, if I'm being honest.
One day about a year into our new lives I found a free program living on my iMac that, among other things, said it could post my thoughts onto the Internet to something called a blog. I had never read a blog and thought this was revolutionary. And so I wrote something and with the push of a button, put it into the world for others to see. Not many saw actually, I got about 10 hits that month.
I received my first reader email from a lovely mother, she thanked me for sharing my life with her, told me that my sharing helped her family and offered me community in return. In the years that have passed since that email, I've received more correspondence than I can properly recall. Today I'd like to share one of them with you, redacted appropriately to protect the sender.
This email arrived in the Spring of 2014 after I mused that I wasn't sure that my blog was still relevant in the diabetes community. it said...
My 5 year old son NAME was diagnosed with type 1 two years ago. You have helped me more than anyone, emotionally and practically, to care for him. Because of you we got NAME Omnipod. Because of you we are trying to get him Dexcom G4. Because of you I am aggressive with high blood sugar. Because you are up at night I feel less alone in this. Because things go good for you I feel pleased for you and because they sometimes don't go well I feel bad. We live in COUNTRY and our lives are very different but what you write about day to day life with type 1 often reflects my own days and experiences and this has given me support, encouragement and optimism. What you have done for me is immeasurable. I know that your writing has directly improved the quality of NAME's life with type 1 diabetes. Please don't stop because we would miss you and Arden a lot.
There was a time that I wrote here as a diary that helped me move past Arden's diagnoses. The writing morphed into a way for me to cope with events that felt insurmountable. After that, I began to share how I was able to crest those hills. You've watched me triumph, fail, cry, fall down and get back up. I've tried my best to be transparent and only want for you to not feel alone. The blog is not planned, I don't write ahead. When I feel something deeply that I think you would like to know, I share. I have written things that have been seen by tens of thousands and other stuff that was seen by hundreds - it all feels the same to me. In the end, I write this blog because I just hope that someone who is frightened will find it and feel a little less alone. I hope that one day I am able to help the reader to realize that while diabetes my be hard, we get better at it much faster than they can imagine. So much better in fact, that it stops feeling so hard. I write the blog that I find myself wishing existed when Arden was diagnosed. It's not easy to live through something and then relive it when I tell you about my experience, the process becomes draining at times but once in a while I get an email from a stranger or see someone on Facebook mentioning that I said something that helped them and recharges me. Your being helped, helps me. I guess this post is my 'thank you' email to all of you.
I've learned over time that my readers are mostly the parents of newer diagnosed kids, and just as I begin to learning your names... you ride off into the Internet sunset. This is my happiest time. I love the idea that there will be a moment for each of you when you realize that you no longer need a blog. Sure it breaks my heart when the next crop of parents begin to show up, but I am buoyed by emails like the one I've shared today. That coupled with the knowledge that you will soon be rid of the fear that type 1 brings, makes me feel like a parent whose child has left the nest – proud, happy, accomplished. Sad to see them go but satiated that I've done my best to help them to live a confident and happy life. I hope that wasn't too convoluted... That's why I write this blog.
The ways that information is exchanged online morphs constantly and getting the word out about Arden's Day becomes more of a challenge as each day passes. In 2015 I'm going to do my best to change with the times and try to keep up with this digital thing.
As always, I hope that 2015 is the year that the world ceases to need a type 1 diabetes blog, but until that day comes – I share for every person that feels the way that I did all of those years ago, because Arden's diabetes never got easier but I got a whole lot better at it. I want, more than anything, for you to believe that statement will one day be true for you and your family, because it will.
Happy New Year!