Welcome to Diabetes Blog Week! Diabetes Blog Week is just like it sounds… diabetes bloggers all blogging on daily topics for an entire week. Or, in this year’s case, for five days. To find out all about Diabetes Blog Week and to sign up,
As always, thank you to Karen Graffeo, creator and curator of Diabetes Blog Week. She’s awesome and I’m lucky to call her my friend!
We begin this year with: Message Monday.
Let’s kick off the week by talking about why we are here, in the diabetes blog space. What is the most important diabetes awareness message to you? Why is that message important for you, and what are you trying to accomplish by sharing it on your blog?
When I was diagnosed with T1 in 1992, a month before turning 18, I knew nobody that had diabetes. My mom introduced me to a couple of people she knew that had it, because she wanted me to be able to relate to someone – I imagine she felt very helpless at the time because there was really nothing she could do for me or to help me, besides be there. And sometimes that’s all I needed.
Fast forward to about 5 years ago, and a friend told me about this blog that she had found recently called SixUntilMe.com (Shout out, Kerri!) I read a few of Kerri’s posts and was mesmerized because it was the first time I ever felt like “Whoa other people go through that, too? Or other people have x,y,z issue, too?” I know it sounds silly, but I lived with diabetes for many many (did I mention many?) years feeling like I lived in a bubble, or a vacuum. And all of a sudden, I didn’t feel so alone. I started clicking on links that Kerri had in her blog that led me to other blogs. And I’ll be honest, I did not get much work done those next few days (weeks) because it was almost addicting to read so many stories that I could have easily written myself.
The only thing I (thought I) knew about diabetes when I was diagnosed was that you couldn’t have sugar and you’d probably have to have something cut off of your body at some point. (Hey kids.. this isn’t true, by the way.)
One day I was talking to my friend that had referred me to Kerri’s blog (shout out, Suzanne!) and I told her I felt like I could totally write about living with diabetes – and she agreed, and encouraged me to do it. So I did. I didn’t know if anyone would even read it, but they do. And I have people all the time tell me “Thank you for writing about [fill in the blank] because I went through the same thing.” Or they’ll say that reading x,y,z post was helpful because their niece, or nephew, or child, was just recently diagnosed and my blog helped them realize that diabetes isn’t always as scary as they thought it was.
I went to London last summer, and recently got a message from someone I met there that said her brother-in-law was recently diagnosed, and she connected me with the mother. My friend said she connected me because she’d seen my posts, and thought I could be a helpful resource to this newly diagnosed family.
I’ve had a friend come up to me that I hadn’t seen in a long time thank me for writing about living with diabetes, because when her nephew was diagnosed recently, it helped her realize he was going to be ok.
I’ve had other women who are either pregnant, or hope to become pregnant, and parents of young girls that have T1, tell me they are encouraged to hear my stories of having two healthy pregnancies (one of which was with twins).
It always makes me feel good to help spread the word that diabetes doesn’t have to be as scary as a lot of people think. And I’m almost always amazed at how uneducated most people still are about the disease. I only wish I had the resources like blogs, and communities, etc., available to me when I was diagnosed. After my diagnosis, my mom (again, trying to help me) took me to a support group at the hospital. Yeah, that wasn’t a great idea. It was all older people, and I was the only teenager in the room.
So I went around in circles, but bottom line is I blog, and I participate in DOC activities, because I need that camaraderie. It’s almost therapeutic to blog. I need that circle of friends that get it, and that have my back, and know that I have theirs.