So you haven't heard of D-Blog Week? Created last May by Karen from Bittersweet Diabetes, D-Blog Week is a week-long challenge to reflect and respond to a series of prompts as a whole community. This year, there are already over 100 bloggers joining in! Amy and I will be contributing our thoughts here at the 'Mine all this week, and we're so excited to be a part of this community effort. The DOC rocks! How many disease communities have this many active bloggers, and this much enthusiasm to share?!
Today's prompt is all about Admiring Our Differences:
"We are all diabetes bloggers, but we come from many different perspectives — Type 1s, Type 2s, LADAs, parents of kids with diabetes, spouses of adults with diabetes and so on. Today let's talk about how great it is to learn from the perspectives of those unlike us!... Pick a type of blogger who is different from you and tell us why they inspire you - why you admire them - why it's great that we are all the same but different!!
Allison Admires... Type 2 Diabetics
I grew up as one of those people who routinely judged people with type 2 diabetes. That's because I didn't know any better. Being a part of the Diabetes Online Community, and specifically being a part of the editorial team here at DiabetesMine, has opened my eyes to the challenges of people with type 2 diabetes.
Growing up, my impression of people with type 2 diabetes was that they were old, fat people. It's true! I am ashamed to admit this prejudice, but I really just didn't know any better. It's how the media portrays type 2 diabetes. It's how doctors explain type 2 diabetes. Even my own encounters with people with T2 seemed to feed into this stereotype. But over the years, I've met more and more T2's who have as unique stories as those of us with type 1 diabetes. And I've also come to appreciate the special challenges of living with type 2 diabetes: saying that treating type 2 diabetes is "as easy as popping some pills" is about equivalent to saying that treating type 1 diabetes requires "just taking a few injections every day."
Clearly, there aren't as many people with type 2 diabetes in the blogging community, but they are all over the place in the social networks and in my own personal life — like my friend, Lori, who struggles to manage her diabetes just as much as I struggle to manage mine. Bloggers like Mike, Rachel and Alan have been such troopers and have provided so much to the DOC. Seeing folks with T2 stand up for themselves and for their health is really inspiring. So many people want to shut them down, but these guys plug along despite the guilt they face and the cards decked against them. That's really inspiring. I'm trying to lose weight myself, and I know how hard it is!
Last week, when I was in North Carolina, I had the pleasure of meeting Ann Gann (pictured right), a type 2 and diabetes advocate. During our conversation, something she said really resonated with me: "While we are different... what we have in common is our desire to help each other, to manage our diabetes well, and to help each other be the best that we can be as we seek to manage this disease." I love that.
When I was interviewed for the now infamous Chicago Tribune article on the "Diabetes Civil War," (T1 vs. T2) I said, and still maintain, that PWDs are not at war and hopefully we'll never find ourselves in that position. Yes, type 1 and type 2 are different, but I have found that explaining differences, rather than lambasting each other for them, has done so much good in helping the general population understand diabetes. And it has also helped me understand diabetes. I am guilty of making the same assumptions about type 2 diabetes that people make about type 1 diabetes, and I hope that more T2 diabetics will get involved in the DOC to help set the record straight.
Amy Admires... the D-Parents
As you all know, I'm a parent myself, currently struggling to be the best mom I can to a new teen, a pre-teen and an eight-year-old. All girls.
Like any parent, I burst with pride at their accomplishments, swell with joy when I see them happy, and cringe with pain when they suffer. This is the roller-coaster of parenthood... and then I imagine adding in the diabetes roller-coaster of fluctuating blood sugars, hypers and hypos, guilt and skin pricks and infections and fear for their physical future. It makes my head spin. I've said it before and I'll say it again: parents coping with their children's diabetes are my heroes.
Back when I started the 'Mine, there were no D-parent bloggers. None. The first I became aware of were Martha O'Connor, a fiction author whose small son had just been diagnosed, and later Sandra Miller of A Shot in the Dark. At first I was a little shocked that they would talk so openly about their children's conditions and even post pictures (kids can't give informed consent). But soon I began to grasp how therapeutic this was for moms and dads living in a constant state of "orange alert." Their forthright accounts of this life always stopped me in my tracks.
For example, waaaaaay back in 2005, Sandra wrote:
"Nighttime blood sugar checks and a teething two-year old are a deadly combination. Under these circumstances diabetes management becomes diabetes overload real fast. I try to make it look easy to Joseph. I tell him 'we're getting there. It's just gonna take some time to get this pump thing down. Remember how it was adjusting to shots?' I don't want him to fear the future when he will have to manage this himself."
All I could think was, if I were a new D-mom, I'd be ready to hug Sandra for her willingness to tell it exactly like it is/was.
Today, I'm amazed and delighted to see such a huge and thriving community of D-parents (not just moms! lots of dads too!) chronicling their families' lives and struggles with diabetes. Anything that effects your children's well-being takes on a kind of crusade nature, don't I know it. I may get sloppy about my own diabetes sometimes, but I'd never get sloppy about my kids' health.
Striving to be the best parent possible is already difficult. We all have our own styles (hat tip to Moira's controversial post last week). I admire these D-parents bloggers on so many levels — for sharing, for advocating, for "putting themselves out there" when their lives are already so complicated...
â™¥ Much D-Love, My Parent Friends!! â™¥
Some fave D-Parent blogs include:
The Princess and The Pump (her daughter Sweetpea is pictured)