One thing about this place

#1

I was just thinking: when I greet newbies to this site I always stress how much I’ve learned from people here. I was DX’d for 20 years before I ever even met another person with T1 and just being able to hear what other people have learned, their practical and emotional and social ways of dealing with it, has been more helpful than anything I’ve experienced in the decades before I stumbled across TUD. So I was just trying to describe my feelings about that to my wife, who kinda rolls her eyes when the subject of TUD comes up (You spend too much time with this diabetes stuff), and as I was hearing myself speak I realized that “learning things” is actually not what keeps me coming back. “Learning things” is fine, I’ve picked up lots of tips and techniques, but that doesn’t get to the heart of it. Because whereas I sometimes come here looking for the answer to a question (4-year pump replacement angst at the max right now, help me decide, arrrrrghhh!), or to rant (G5 Self-test successful at 3am? You’re waking me UP for this at 3am???), that really accounts for very little of the time I spend here. Ok, Doublets Game, but that aside, I realized that the real thing I’m hoping for when I click the TUD bookmark is a “Hey, I can help out with that” thread. It’s about looking for a chance to contribute here.

I know for a fact this isn’t peculiar to me, either. It’s a repeated pattern: someone newly dx’d or with a newly dx’d kid shows up, they’re in a panic, lots of us rally around, reassuring them as much by our presence as by anything we say, that “Yes it’s scary but it’s not as scary as you think. You can do this!” From there it progresses to specifics. They’ve got questions, we’ve got answers: _my kid’s BG’s are all over the map—what insulin regime are you using—pumps and their idiosyncrasies—insurance resisting your request for a CGM? here’s how to approach that—_all those specific things. And they check back in and check back in, asking new questions, sharing results, relaying what their endo said… and then a month goes by, maybe three or four… and here’s that same person joining the initial swarm around some other newbie, saying “You can DO this,” or sharing that tip about rolling your CGM over to another week that I remember someone else telling that same no-longer-newbie about just a few weeks ago.

So ok, there’s that transition from receiving help to the satisfaction of helping others. It’s a common thing in life. But it struck me that what’s happening here is NOT common. Because this isn’t about improving your golf swing or how to defeat the goblin that’s preventing you from getting to the next level in a video game. The goblin we’re trying to beat isn’t in any goddamned game. This was the thing that really struck me. These tips we’re sharing–the CGM roll over trick, the pre-bolusing trick, the how-do-you-not-drive-yourself-nuts trick (haven’t mastered that one yet), the hundreds of others—are coming directly out of our experience of one of the most negative and depressing and life-threatening things in our lives. The longer we hang around here, the more we’re all doing this to some degree or other. Digging down into that really sh***y thing in our lives and bringing up something life-enhancing and life-affirming, transmuting that lead into gold, over and over. There are other sites that do this, to be sure—offer tips, affirmation. But somehow this one has always seemed to communicate the sense of that deeper dimension in a way I haven’t experienced anywhere else. More than anywhere else, people seem to understand it’s more than information that’s being transmitted here. Being able to share in that transmutation, keep it moving along and moving along, is one of the most important and healing things in my life. That’s why I keep coming back here.

Spousal eye-roll notwithstanding.

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#2

Nice post and spot on, @DrBB!! (Spousal eye-roll, included! :slight_smile:)

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#3

I wish I’d written that! Well done, @DrBB. I never really thought about the moment-to-moment evolution I went through here from grateful receiver of life-changing information to lending someone else a hand. It just flowed naturally. And I was not a newbie; I had 25 years of T1D when I starting reading here.

I think it takes a lot of time and deliberate effort to grow a community like this. Most importantly it takes smart and caring people like you who understand the logical progression from accessing help to “paying it forward.” My life expanded when a member or two conveyed a clear sense of gratitude that my testimony indeed helped them.

Thank-you for your sincere expression of what makes this place tick. I’m glad you’re here!

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#4

Perfectly expressed, @DrBB. The evolution from seeker to guide and mentor that you describe happens over and over again. (It happened to me.) It’s not to be taken lightly, either. Besides all the obvious good things it does, that constant flow of people is a major source of institutional renewal. Or to express it differently, it has a lot to do with keeping the community vital and moving forward. Thanks so much for posting those thoughts.

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#5

P.S. If you think you’re getting spousal eye-rolls now, try becoming a volunteer and see what happens. :laughing:

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#6

I can’t quite see his eyes rolling, but I know what Norm’s thinking. “What’s up with the excessive keyboard and machine worship? Isn’t it time to eat?”

Sorry for the dog hijack! Off topic, I know.

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#7

Nice post @DrBB. Very well said.

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#8

The only other place I have what you’re describing is a group I go to, but it only meets quarterly.

There is always that one moment where someone explains an experience that communicates the never-ending, crazy-making B.S. that is Type 1. The person talking breaks down a little in anger or frustration. And everyone there nods their understanding and we all feel a little better. Because we don’t have to explain that feeling or frustration. We live it every day.

That’s why we want to come here and why we want to help. We can just help each other, and we don’t NEED to explain the subtext that is Type 1.

(I don’t know if Type 2s feel that way, too. My guess is yes, but let me know if your experience is different).

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#9

Yup. At least as much, because the general public thinks it knows all about T2. Everybody has advice for you and it’s almost all nonsense. The ability to converse with someone who (a) actually understands what you’re talking about, (b) isn’t filled with unshakeable misconceptions, and © doesn’t insist on lecturing you about them is very precious indeed.

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#10

I’m not T2D but I’ve interacted with enough of them here over many years. They understand that connection, too. We each occupy our spot on the BG spectrum and our experiences overlap to a surprising degree. Plus there exists a subset of “T2Ds” who are actually T1Ds, but don’t know it yet.

We all overlap our D-experience in many significant and important ways.

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#11

This is extremely true @terry4, I use insulin, I count carbs and I figure ratios to calculate a bolus or correction and I do basal testing, I can go high or I can go low if I’m not careful, I do my thing using a neat little box call a Medtronic 723. But I am T2. I do not claim to know all the realities of being T1 but I live the majority of them. I know all the realities of T2 because I have lived them all.

No matter whether I take a T1 or T2 perceptive I get the same from this site. I get what @DrBB describes, a place of extreme understanding. The true issues are the same.

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#12

Dogs are never off topic. Just ask one and see. LOL

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#13

The Difference Between Dogs And Cats


The dog thinks, “Hmm. They feed me. They love me. They care for my every need. They must be gods!”

Whereas

The cat thinks, “Hmm. They feed me. They love me. They care for my every need. I must be a god!”

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#14

I totally agree Dr. BB. When I first came here it was all about learning for me. As I learned more I became more comfortable sharing. I soon realized that by giving support, sharing what I had learned and my own experiences took it to a whole new level. I have become passionate about helping others come to grips with this diagnosis and to develop strategies for success. I can’t think of anything more important and TU Diabetes is always at the top of my list of online help and resources. This site is the genesis of everything I have done.

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#15

Ha! And its corollary, “Dogs have owners, cats have staff!”

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#16

there’s also “to dogs you’re family,. to cats you’re staff”

Hi Norm!

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#17

I got involved in a group much like what you’re describing about 35 years ago, where members shared their “experience, strength and hope” on a regular basis. The same principles you describe have been keeping people sober, clean, sane and relatively happy for a long time! I’m reminded of a quote I read in ~1966 from Blaise Pascal (look him up)–“If you would thoroughly learn anything, teach it to others”. We learn more when we share. Thank you for sharing!

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#18

You could tell that dogs can get diabetes also, and see if that helps.

#19

Another facet of that Blaise Pascal epigram . . .

I have a friend who is raising his grandaughter. This girl, who is now about 9½, is one of those people who simply won the genetic lottery. Robust good health, a sweet nature, and an IQ that has been measured close to 200. (Her grandmother, who has a PhD in mathematics, can’t keep up with her.)

Recently he noticed that when someone explains something to her that she already understands backwards and forwards, she listens carefully with no sign of impatience. He asked her why she does that. She answered that every time someone explains something to her, no matter who it is, she always learns something new.

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#20

What a wise little lady!