Revisiting #dayofdiabetes

And with that, we’ve settled on Thursday, April 10 as a new #dayofdiabetes.

I’m calling this a revisit because I shared my first #dayofdiabetes last May and a bunch of people gave it a go after that. Engaging with this project is not something that I recommend on a daily basis. Looking this hard at my diabetes management, recognizing every action that I take that has a diabetes influence, and remembering to share that thought with Twitter…it’s exhausting (more so than simply living with diabetes.) That said, the advocacy and awareness impact of doing this is immeasurable.

For all the blog posts and independent tweets we share with the world, putting them back to back for a full day provides real insight into what it’s like to live with this disease. That’s the power of sharing a #dayofdiabetes. It’s just one way we as a community can spread diabetes fact rather than let diabetes myths pollute the conversation. It’s one of the most personal ways we can educate each other, and the general public, about the similarities, differences, struggles, and successes that come with living with diabetes.

So this Thursday, I invite you to share your Day of Diabetes. If you’re interested in participating, let me know in the comments or send me a message on Twitter @iam_spartacus. If you want to Storify your own tweets after you’re done, feel free. I’ll do my best to capture each of your days and post them up on the Day of Diabetes blog.

If you want to see what past entries look like, you can visit dayofdiabetes.tumblr.com.

And if you are afraid you’ll be alone in your tweets, fear not…

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The Great Divide

For those of you that are catching up, I moderate a blog called My Diabetes Secret that hosts anonymous submissions, or secrets, from the diabetes community. These submissions are typically confessions about life with diabetes. Fears. Anger. It’s really heavy stuff. I read every single submission before queueing it up to go live on the site. I get a notification every time someone likes or reblogs a post. It all goes through me.

Lately the frequency of submissions addressing the great divide among the diabetes community have been increasing. Normally I wouldn’t write about this, as it’s sadly something I see far too often among comment threads and miscellaneous tweets and blog posts and it’s something I don’t feel properly equipped to tackle. But because this is a home that I’ve built, I can only endure so many attempts to dismantle something that I’m quite proud of despite its relative digital infancy.

I’m of multiple minds when it comes to these posts. Part of me wants to delete them. Pretend they never happened. Something along the lines of “don’t feed the trolls”.

Another mind says that this is the reality of the diabetes community; well, this is the reality of a subset of the diabetes community. I realize that the Tumblr audience is a bit younger than most of the people with diabetes I interact with on a more regular basis. Maybe, and I’m being incredibly reductive with this one, they just need time to grow up?

While I’m not going to all-out deny submissions on the blog, I’ve found a middle ground that, for now, I’m comfortable with. Rather than cross-post to Facebook and Twitter, submissions adding fuel to a fire that I want no part of will be queued for publishing, but not shared on Twitter and Facebook. Until I can wrap my head around a better way to proceed, this is how I am handling those posts.

But there’s still something deeper at play with all of this. I’m not smart enough to know the answers, but I’m naive enough to ask some questions. So here we go.

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Spare A Rose

The Spare a Rose campaign kicks off on February 1.

The idea, as the title suggests, is that if you spare a rose in the bouquet of flowers you will (likely) buy your significant other for Valentine’s Day, and donate that money to Life of a Child, a child with diabetes will get insulin for a month. If you decide to spare a whole dozen, that means a year of insulin.

In trying to think of the best way to equate the cost of your donation, I tried looking up things $5 can buy. My thought process was that if you went without [thing you can spend $5 on] just once, that money can go to a great cause.

This search led me to http://hackthemenu.com/. Now I know prices vary by region, but for the most part (based on this site’s data, so take that with a grain of salt) we’re talking about skipping one trip to Starbucks so a child in need can have enough insulin to live for another month.

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Apply Yourself

Over the next week or so I plan on writing a crude FAQ to supplement the 2014 Medicine X ePatient Scholarship Application, which can be found here. I want to recall my hesitations before applying myself two years ago and do my best to assure you that applying for the scholarship is the right thing to do. For now you’re just going to have to take my word for it.

In addition to that side project, I’m going to be moderating two Google Hangouts in the coming weeks that will also aim to answer questions and motivate the fence sitters to apply for a scholarship for next year’s conference. If, after all of that content, you’re still unsure if you’re the right fit for Medicine X, feel free to reach out to me directly. One of my roles as an ePatient Advisor is to help make the upcoming conference as great as it can be, but that can’t happen without people like you, my eager-reader, applying and hopefully attending the 2014 sessions.

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First and Foremost

First and foremost. This is not the end of the world. I know someone who recently climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with type 1 diabetes – http://kaylaslifenotes.blogspot.com/2013/09/success-on-kilimanjaro.html. There will be adjustments, some immediate, others you can’t predict, but this is totally doable.

Starting with your endocrinologist, don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as possible. Contrary to belief, they are just *one part* of your diabetes team. And if they aren’t working with you, find someone that will.

Support is key with this disease, which is why I rely on social media. If you’re on Twitter, this list: https://twitter.com/iam_spartacus/lists/wilfordbrimley, is a good place to start if you’re looking to connect with other PWDs (people with diabetes). A popular hashtag that people use when sharing thoughts and comments is #dsma – I encourage you to lurk on that hashtag, particularly on Wednesday nights at 9pm eastern (there’s a weekly Twitter chat that centers around that hashtag) to reinforce the thought that you are not alone with this disease and find likeminded people to connect with.

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I Think We Need a “Check-In Day”

I’ve been thinking more and more about Hannah’s comments on my post last week about the impact and significance of connecting with others in the diabetes community through our various platforms of choice and I want to try something. I’m a firm believer that comments make the world go ’round, as far as blogging is concerned. Yes, there are stat counters and analytics reports you can run, but pageviews and unique visitors don’t mean much to me when it comes to sharing personal stories and experiences. What matters to me is when someone reads something I write, and then takes the time to leave a comment.

Sometimes it’s feedback. Sometimes it’s a high five. Sometimes it’s a pickmeup. Sure, there’s a weird satisfaction in knowing that someone found value from something I share on a silly diabetes blog, but I think there’s something else going on. I think comments can be a positive reinforcement that you’re on the right path. I share, you comment, it encourages me to share (more? again? I couldn’t decide on the right word). You share, I comment, it encourages you to share.

It’s the circle of life?

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