This week, I am participating in Diabetes Blog Week, hosted by the amazing Karen at Bitter-Sweet Diabetes. I discovered Diabetes Blog Week back in 2013, so this is my FOURTH time participating-pretty crazy! Karen has been hosting this week for seven years and she has given a little back story for information on how it all got started. I was so happy to find out about it in 2013 because it really helped me to feel a part of the Diabetes Online Community. Over the years, I have received many new readers and support and I have also found a lot of new blogs to read. This week is the 7th annual Diabetes Blog Week and I am going to do my best to write every day (and read as many as I can!). You can find the participant list here and the topics and posts here.
Today’s topic: Message Monday
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 started my diabetes blog for selfish reasons:
- Connect with other diabetics
- Vent, share experiences and knowledge, celebrate successes
- Educate friends and family
When I started my blog, I was not aware of any advocating or diabetes awareness messages. I was living in a little bubble of seeing my endocrinologist 4 times a year and dealing with the insurance companies when it came time to order diabetes supplies. This was what my diabetes life was like prior to starting my blog in 2012. I had met a handful of diabetes people throughout my 20 years with diabetes, but I never really established a bond with them, it was more just in passing, like is that an insulin pump? I have diabetes too!
I was all by myself to deal with diabetes stigma and uneducated comments by others. I was unaware of different options available for medical equipment such as pumps, CGMs or blood sugar meters. I didn’t know that other diabetics had higher A1Cs or lower A1Cs or how they achieve their good blood sugars or dealt with the guilt of constant high blood sugars. I didn’t know it was common to not change your lancet often or that other diabetics stockpiled their supplies like I did.
The most important message I want to convey is that you are not alone! The diabetes blog space provides a wealth of information. If you want to know what other options are out there for your diabetes care, you can find reviews from people that have tried them out! If you want to know how people handle exercising with diabetes, you can find a lot of blogs relating to that topic. If you are considering pregnancy with diabetes, there are a lot of blogs to help guide you through the unknown. If you have no idea what’s happening in the world of insurance, you can find information. You can find local groups to join (that’s how I found DiabetesSisters!). You can find diabetes conferences in your area (how I found out about the JDRF Research Summit!). Thanks to the diabetes blog space, I’ve also learned about hot topic important issues such as United Healthcare insurance selecting Medtronic as their primary insulin pump or how Medicare isn’t providing coverage on CGMs to people when they turn 65. While neither one of those issues affects me personally, it’s a slippery slope to other changes down the pipeline that could drastically impact my care and it’s important I’m educated on such topics so I can help make a difference.
Managing diabetes is hard enough, without having to do it on your own. Doctors only spend about 10 minutes with you four times a year so you need a support system in place for the other 525,560 minutes in a year. I want people to know that you can always find support and knowledge in the diabetes blog space. And if non-diabetics happen to find the diabetes online community, I hope they use it as a great tool to educate themselves so us diabetics don’t have to deal with the unwanted, inaccurate comments or stigma.