If you're like me — or even if you don't spend quite as much time browsing "all things diabetes" in cyberspace — you might have noticed that the incredible proliferation of new D-blogs and online communities is making it seemingly impossible to keep up. Which is actually a wonderful thing, I suppose.
Quite by accident, in the days after Christmas, I happened upon a small notice for a San Francisco diabetes meetup. It turned out to be part of the ACT1 Team from New York, visiting California and "throwing together" a last-minute rendezvous. Usually weeknights are next to impossible for me, with the kids' crazy schedules, but Winter Break has its perks, so I hopped in my minivan and headed towards the City in the glow of one of San Francisco's most glorious sunsets (get your sample here).
At the agreed-upon burger joint along the Embarcadero, what I found was a small group of vibrant young women, with whom I once again felt an immediate kinship, although I didn't know a single one of them from Adam until I pushed open the glass door of the restaurant that evening.
ACT1, an NY-based group for Adults Coping with Type 1 Diabetes, turned out to be an interesting animal. It's a website featuring blog post by various members, yes, but they don't seem to think of themselves as a social network or even an "online community." They're actually more of an old-fashioned in-person support group network, augmented by their web activities.
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In an hour and a half of non-stop diabetes chatter, I learned that organizer Katie Savin (front middle), who was diagnosed when she was 12, has never even considered using an insulin pump. And co-founder Coral Taylor (far left) gave up pumping after several years of frustrations and discomforts. After a a six-year "pump vacation," she's about to start on the Animas Ping system and the Dexcom CGM too. Wow, talk about turbo-charging your regime!
The "other Katie" (far right), an active member who happens to live in San Francisco, is currently doing battle with her insurance company to gain coverage for a CGM system. She's a long-time pumper, now 100% committed to viewing her BG levels in real time.
We had a long talk about the skin adhesives for these various devices (grrrr); and about what an ordeal it is to file appeals when your insurance provider denies coverage; and about where we hide our pumps, and/or take our shots; food and drink items that shoot our glucose levels into the stratosphere; and much, much more.
To be honest, these gals are a good 10 years younger than I. None of them are married or have children. One might say we had nothing in common, and yet we had everything in common. Katie S. is even is gluten-intolerant, like me!
Once again, it was a life-affirming experience to meet other strong women who haven't let their Type 1 diabetes get in the way of living vibrantly. And from a veteran blogger's point-of-view, it was fascinating to see how others are using the Internet to create and support true community experiences. Hats off to the ladies of ACT1!