I've often read about doctors whose perspective changed drastically once they were diagnosed with a serious illness of their own. Suddenly, being a patient and just "doing what you're told" didn't look so easy...
I also heard fellow D-blogger and advocate Scott Johnson talk recently about a doctor who experienced patients connecting with one another for the first time — and how cathartic and life-changing it was for these people with a rare illness to find others walking in their shoes. We can't all attend conferences in-person so often, because travel is expensive and life gets in the way (especially with a chronic illness!)
What I'm getting at is: Thank God for the Online Patient Community. I'm actually fortunate enough to be able to attend conferences around the country fairly often, but I still can't imagine my life with diabetes without the DOC blogosphere! Who else knows what the heck you're talking about half the time...?
A huge thank-you today to Karen Graffeo of the blog Bitter-Sweet Diabetes, a Connecticut-based PWD advocate who is the mastermind behind Annual Diabetes Blog Week, now in its third year. The idea is that dozens of us diabetes bloggers rally around shared topics — seven of them, to be exact — creating a full week of unprecedented sharing of perspectives on issues related to our illness.
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This year, Diabetes Blog Week will run from Monday, May 14, to Sunday, May 20. As Karen notes, "It is open to anyone who blogs about diabetes — be it Type 1, Type 2, LADA, or gestational, and it's also for parents, spouses and caregivers to someone else with diabetes. If you blog about diabetes in any capacity, please join us! If you don't have a blog but have thought about starting one, now is the perfect time."
We're going to jump right in with today's topic: Find a New Friend. Karen is encouraging everyone to reach out beyond the "usual suspects" to identify blogs we aren't reading yet and connect with some new blog friends. Here are the folks that our team has found:
Amy's New Blog Friend:
Jasmin (Jaz) is a 13-year-old British girl living with her family in Spain. She recently launched her own blog called My Life with Type 1 Diabetes. She actually co-blogs there with her mother, Tracy-Ann Edwards (@TraceyAnnEssex), to give "two sides of her story."
To be honest, I actually found Jasmin through her mother, who's been tweeting prolifically to spread the word about her inspirational T1 blogger daughter. Gotta love the moms! I would so do the same!!
As many of you know, I have three daughters of my own, one of whom is turning 13 in a few days. My mind often wanders to the what -if scenario: "Gosh, what if one them had the diabetes? How would a preteen handle it? How would I handle it?!" I love to think that we'd be co-blogging and reaching out beyond our borders for friendship and support.
What I loved most about Jasmin's part of the blog is her opening poll, which I hope she doesn't mind my re-creating here:
How do you express your diabetes?
- _ I cry it all out
- _ I take it out on things/people
- _ Write songs
- _ Write things down
- _ Talk to someone
That pretty much covers the choices, even for us grown-up PWDs. Love your spirit, Jasmin, and welcome to the DOC!
Mike's New Blog Friend:
There's a certain magic to the written word, and in such a huge, diverse group like the Diabetes Online Community there's a lot of people out there writing great stuff. One in particular whom I've had an appreciation for is Steven Lee Gilbert over at Without Envy, an author who also happens to be dad to five kids (including his type 1 daughter Lia, diagnosed on Christmas Eve Eve 2009 when she was 8).
Living with his family in North Carolina, Steve writes about diabetes and just about the simple things in life, and what I love the most about his writing is that every single word paints a picture. I think his background as a teacher and Army officer in the Gulf War gives additional depth and perspective to this man's writing, a certain combination of credibility, calmness and creativity. Just reading his writing — no matter the topic — makes me feel like I'm sitting out on Walden Pond enjoying the simplicities of life with trees, sunshine and a light breeze in the summer.
His blog profile says his family is "inspired by simplicity," and some of what they love doing includes growing their own food, making their own wine, raising hens and thinking their own thoughts "without the influence of clever marketers." Unfiltered, living life without envy. He's one of a couple D-bloggers that I would describe as Frost-like, where every poetic word grips you and makes you want to read on. And he just recently wrote a novel called A Lovely, Indecent Departure that I've downloaded and read online. Highly recommended, IMHO. Plus, on the diabetes front: he's a dad, and in sheer numbers there are far fewer of those out there blogging than others affected by diabetes. Any D-parent is a superhero in my eyes and I love reading them all and learning so much, but I really like reading what the guys have to say. So, if you're a lover of the written word, Steve is someone I'd highly recommend!
Allison's New Blog Friend:
Have you met my friend, Lisa from Scratch? She's a twentysomething PWD (like me!), married to a wonderful, handsome husband (like me!), has tattoos (like me!) and has the cutest baby on the planet (not like me, but someday!). Lisa and I got to know each other via our personal blogs and Twitter, and she is awesome.
One of my favorite things about Lisa is that she doesn't just write about diabetes... she also writes about her ever-changing hair colors, sparkly fingernail polish, and the adorable baby that she just gave birth to last November.
As a wannabe diabetic mommy, I love reading the journeys of other D-mamas, and to see her successful pregnancy is definitely an inspiration. I also loved her recent post about the diabetes online community. She's fun and spunky, and she's the newest addition to my "Must Meet" blogger list.