Sunday, March 17, 2013

Community

Yesterday, I had the honor and pleasure of leading a discussion with Kerri at our local JDRF Expo entitled "Living Well with Type 1 Diabetes". The event was bustling with children and their families, many of whom I recognized from the outpatient clinic where I work. I expected it to be a fun and informative day -- one that would motivate or inspire those that were so new to the crazy game of diabetes. I wasn't counting on counting myself among them.
After our first session, several people approached the front of the room to ask questions or exchange pleasantries. I noticed an older, smiling woman waiting in the mix of them. She waited patiently while I finished up a conversation with a very nervous, newly-diagnosed family and then held out her hand and said, "I think I know who you are."
I shook her wrinkled hand, soft like paper, and smiled while I conducted a frantic brain-scan to locate the familiarity of her face or the name on her JDRF name tag, but it yielded zero results.
She smiled back and said with playful mystery, "You moved to Providence this past summer."
I nodded, figuring she was recalling that tidbit from the introduction of me provided prior to the presentation.
"I bet your husband also works at the local hospital," she continued.
I opened my mouth to speak but only shocked silence emerged. How did she know that?
"And I bet," she continued with a twinkle in her eye, "That you live on __ Street."
"How...who...how did you know that?" I stammered.
She smiled and paused for dramatic effect, "Nice to meet you! I am your neighbor!"

I was blown away! She went on to explain that she lived a few houses down, and that she had been so curious to see who had moved in. She heard through the grapevine that a young married couple had moved from Florida and they both worked at the hospital, and that one was training in Pediatric Endocrinology. She told me that she chose to sit in on the "Living Well with T1D" session and when I was introduced, she put two and two together!

I was amazed that our paths had not crossed on our street, but at a JDRF Expo! I asked her what her connection was to diabetes, and she straightened her stooped shoulders with pride before she said, "I have had Type 1 Diabetes for 60 years."
She blew me away again. Sixty years with diabetes. I couldn't even begin to fathom her life, her struggle, her perseverance.
"I'm not supposed to be here!" she quipped, and we both knew she wasn't talking about the JDRF event.

She shared old stories of the neighborhood and of her life with diabetes. It was touching and inspiring, and she filled me with the hope and motivation that I had been hoping to provide others that day. With misty eyes and a full heart, I shook her hand and promised that our paths would cross again.

She may not be the neighbor to borrow a cup of sugar from, but she sweetened my day in so many ways. Diabetes really does foster a beautiful community.



12 comments:

  1. That's really cool! Wow. Must have been an experience.

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  2. Very cool. I recently met a woman in the 50year+club. It was very inspiring.

    -Rose

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    1. It'll make me think twice the next time I complain about diabetes gear :)

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  3. Wow... what a great story! Thanks for sharing it. After moving to my home, I realized I had a T1D neighbor as well. It was a car magnet that tipped me off, but a request to sponsor her in a JDRF walk which really brought us together. In my case, I was in my mid-to-late 30s and she was just entering high school so the roles are a bit different, but it's still nice to know there's a neighbor who understands that you can rely on if necessary.

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    1. That's a great connection, too! I'm sure she looked up to you!

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  4. NEIGHBORS, in more ways than one! What an outstanding story, showing what a small world it is indeed. Very cool that you met such a veteran, and glad you got the chance to get to know each other and are so close on the same street. Thanks for sharing this, Shara.

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    1. Thanks, Mike! It was a wonderful experience.

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  5. tracy.rose@healthline.comMarch 18, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    Hi Shara,

    Healthline is interested in contributing a guest post to diabeticdoc.blogspot.com. We would be open to contributing any blog that would be of interest to your readers. Healthline bloggers have been featured on a variety of sites including:

    Washington Times: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/tango-mind-and-emotion/2012/aug/10/how-healthy-choices-easy/
    Natural News: http://www.naturalnews.com/036515_diabetes_strawberries_prevention.html
    Patch.com: http://strongsville.patch.com/blog_posts/where-and-what-to-eat-in-cleveland-to-beat-the-winter-blues

    Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

    Warm Regards,
    Tracy

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  6. Dang, I want a T1D neighbor and a pediatric endo neighbor too!

    Shara, I loved your presentation. When I read this post, I was sure the older woman with the "soft, wrinkled hand" was going to be ME because I also was hovering around waiting to talk to you at that time. My hands are more dry and wrinkled though.

    Thank you for the excellent presentation! You and Kerri have such good chemistry. My husband and sons loved the presentation too. Joe was all, "I could have listened to them forever." Me too.

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    1. Hi! I'm honored that you found my site and appreciate the sweet words! Kerri was so much fun to work with and I'm so happy that you and your family enjoyed the day. Hopefully I'll see you all around more JDRF events :)

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  7. How neat, we just moved last year and I was thrilled to learn there was a t1 boy who lived down the street. My kids were the first to noticed he had the same blue bag as we do to carry all of Cara's D supplies. It's a great feeling to know that people are close by who GET IT!Great post!

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