I am the mother of three - Colin, Caleb and Lila. Caleb was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of three in 2007. There is no history of type 1 in our family; we knew nothing about it. The days, weeks and months that followed were not easy. I thought I could concur this challenge like others in my life, by learning as much as I could about it and working hard to be good at it. I put every spare ounce of energy I had into it. Even though I became educated about diabetes, I could not master it. I would get close, and then the rules would change and I would have to learn all over again. I was isolated, and submitted to the fact that this was something I could not do on my own.
I turned to the internet. I started with Children with Diabetes. I had specific questions and got some good, specific answers. I learned about Team Type 1, now Team Novo Nordisk. They had a Twitter account. I wanted to follow them, so I joined Twitter and a world of connections was opened to me. Not only was I communicating with parents of people with diabetes, but adults with diabetes were welcoming me into their circles and I started to become part of a new, big family.
In my feed was an account that posted new discusses at TuDiabetes. I had been a member since shortly after Caleb was diagnosed, but I got drawn into it from that Twitter feed I was following to keep up with my new family. My questions and needs had become more sophisticated and this community was there to kindly provide me with informed replies to the queries I had. I was also finding myself in a position to provide answers - Caleb, at the age of four, was a relatively early adopter of the OmniPod system, at a time when few children were using it. I was eager to give back to the community that had helped and supported me through my tenuous time, with answers I could provide through our own personal experiences.
Over the years, I started This is Caleb…, became a Diabetes Advocate, and served on the Diabetes Hands Foundation Board of Directors. As a family, we’ve been to Joslin’s Diabetes Camp, biked in Central Park with Team Type 1, hit the slopes with Riding On Insulin, attended the Friends for Life Conference, created awareness at school, met Nick Jonas, and trained with Cliff Scherb.
I currently serve on DHF’s Finance Committee and cohost DSMA Live: 'Rents with Bennet Dunlap. Although the diabetes videos are mostly from the early years, Caleb and I still maintain a YouTube channel.
I am still engaged online, but my needs have changed so my activity is less intense than it once was. Some of my dearest friends I met online because of diabetes and I enjoy keeping up with them and with new developments, particularly technological. Caleb is no longer the wee preschooler he was when he was diagnosed. He has become a well adjusted, capable young man who is responsible and attentive to his diabetes. You all, as part of our family, have made that possible. For this, I will be eternally grateful.