Amy Tenderich was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in May of 2003. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Diabetes Mine and co-authored the book Know Your Numbers, Outlive Your Diabetes. You will frequently find her speaking at diabetes, health, and social media events across the country.
Feeling lost and alone? Isolation is one of the most important grievances of people with diabetes. Most of us lack a confidante who really understands what it means to live with this disease. That certainly was the case for me.
One of the first things I did after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes was find a friend- of-a-friend with the same illness who’d agree to meet me for coffee. I asked her plenty of questions, and I’m not sure I even absorbed all her answers. But that didn’t matter. It was so powerful just to see and experience another real, live person similar to myself who was also managing life with diabetes!
Fortunately for us (I suppose), diabetes is a very widespread illness. You can hardly throw a stone in this country without hitting someone who either has diabetes, or has a relative or close friend who does. Therefore, if you ask around, you’ll find it’s not that hard to identify someone in your local area who’s willing to sit down and talk with you about living with this thing.
If that doesn’t appeal to you, or if you’d rather have a more “formal” relationship based on your shared diabetes, you can seek out help via a Diabetes Mentoring Program. Here are a few recommended programs:
A national program sponsored by Sanofi-Aventis. Allows you to visit free diabetes educational programs led by other patients who’ve managed to attain continuously healthy A1C levels. Covers everything from achieving good glucose control to learning about insulin to “developing a balanced, healthier lifestyle.”
A new one-on-one diabetes support program based in Chicago. Free service that connects a diabetes beginner with a diabetes guide, for counseling via phone, email, and in person when possible.
Peers for Progress
A national network of diabetes “peer support” groups supported by the American Academy of Family Physicians, with funding from Eli Lilly Corp. You can view a list of groups available in the US and Canada in PDF document format by clicking here.
A mentor program for children and adults of all ages with type 2 and type 2 diabetes based in San Diego, CA.
For young people with type 1 diabetes. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation matches individuals with volunteer mentors around the country.