I started this blog/space, to connect and share within the diabetes community. The switch from thinking about writing a blog to actually doing it (years ago), came from a prompt I read from Karen Graffeo at Bitter Sweet about participating in Diabetes Blog Week. I don’t write many posts on this blog recently and I don’t spend as much time within the DOC as I once did, but that doesn’t delineate how much I value this sense of community, the connections I’ve made, and that this blog led me to expand my own role as an advocate. The connections I have made with others has become a vital part of my own wellbeing both physically and mentally. I have gathered knowledge and most importantly, I have made amazing friends through the diabetes online community (DOC) that are now part of my In Real Life (IRL) world and that is priceless to me.
Today is the first day of this year’s Blog Week and here is the topic:
Lets 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? (Thank you, Heather Gabel, for this topic suggestion.)
I do not like the photo below. My arm looks the diameter of my thigh (it is not, yet), the wrinkles in my face seem accentuated, and there appears to be a baby’s foot growing out of my wrist. I do not like this photo, but I do LOVE this photo. This is friendship, admiration and joy.
This is my friend Karen. Karen was on my radar years ago because I read her comments in DOC twitter chats and I also read her blog. She’s a fellow T1D, lives in the same city that I do and when I was trying to learn about T1D and pregnancy, she was someone who I knew had experience.
We met in real life through JDRF at a group event. Participants included DOC-ers from 3 JDRF chapters who decided to get together for dinner beforehand. Karen freaked out during our initial conversation. She knew of me through the JDRF NYC Walk (walk team). I freaked out too (just far less visibly and audibly) when I realized this was the woman whose blog I’d been reading and following around the internet.
We became friends. My friendship with Karen came with “accessories”… her husband and now 2 kids (please note: “accessories” is sarcasm folks. Her husband gave me a pep talk one time that I will always carry in my heart). They are all my friends and I love them dearly. Diabetes brought us together, specifically the DOC, and as much as I hate diabetes, I love my friend. LOVE.
We may talk about things far beyond diabetes, we may laugh so hard we can’t speak to each other, and my life is richer because this family is in it, but I am aware that I would probably not know them if it weren’t for diabetes, so why am I here… today, rushing to type this post? After an incredibly frustrating and annoying high BG and a messy pump site change in my office’s bathroom, Karen popped into my mind and that we need to make plans soon. I text her a much shorter version of what I wrote above and explained that as frustrated as I may be, that diabetes sucks and she doesn’t (that’s always a nice text message, “you don’t suck”). Diabetes gave me my friend. My hope being here today as part of Blog Week, is that it’s a reminder of just how vital and wonderful these DOC friendships are and all it takes is ONE connection (I have many in my squad so please, no one be offended because these friendships are my wellness team).
A few weeks ago I went on a bike ride, I text Karen who happened to be right near my destination and subsequently had a cheer squad yelling my name (imagine Smurf voices) as the kiddos ran to my bike. It was just awesome and although I did some more formal diabetes advocacy this morning, my buddies are what I celebrate in this blog post today.