Last Friday I had the grand idea of “live tweeting” a day of diabetes. Every time I took a diabetes action, be it checking my Dexcom receiver, injecting insulin, or eating would get a tweet. I wasn’t sure how this would be received by my followers. Not that I’m looking to appease everyone, but I know that there’s a potential to overwhelm people with stuff like this. That’s why I try to post warning messages before my participation in #dsma chats.
But early on in the process I realized that it didn’t matter if I was inconveniencing anyone. If they want to unfollow me, that’s fine. The point of this was to show that diabetes, even on the good days, can be overwhelming. The point was to show that this disease is infinitely more complicated that the uninitiated could imagine. The point was to provide a moment of insight into what this disease is really like. After curating all of the tweets (and adding some commentary) on Storify, I have some final thoughts on the day’s adventures.
First, to the people who thought “that’s a lot”, bless your heart: That was a good day.
Days like that don’t happen with as much regularity as I would like. Every day with diabetes is a measure of my mental fortitude. Some days I balance my food with the exact amount of insulin and I’ll go along my day without any dips or spikes. Other days my blood glucose is racing to 200 or 50 mg/dL in the same hour. I’m pretty sure the number of tweets on Friday would have tripled if I had to spend it chasing highs or correcting lows.
Oddly enough, part of me was a little bummed that I had a good day on Friday. As powerful as I think the combined impact of those tweets was, I think a clearer message could have been composed if I could have contrasted how a typical lunch would impact my system compared to the pancreatically inclined. I know I didn’t think too intently about what I ate before my diagnosis and I’m sure that’s the case for most people beyond basic thoughts like “do I have a vegetable on my plate?”
Second, to the people who responded, retweeted, favorited, or otherwise interacted with my shenanigans: Thank you.
At its core, this was an advocacy effort. I know a number of my followers know I live with diabetes, but they don’t know what that really means. This was my attempt to put things into the spotlight and Twitter was the best place for that for a number of reasons. But all of my tweets going into the void without a response, as shallow as it may sound, mean nothing without your help. Even though this was just me shouting from my little soapbox, it was exponentially amplified by your willingness to share what I was doing with your followers. While there may not be an immediate benefit to your actions, I appreciate you spreading the word.
And there we have it. I’m not sure if or when I’ll do this again, but I feel good about what I accomplished for that 24-hour period. If you want to try sharing your Day of Diabetes, pick a day and have at it. Be sure to tag all relevant tweets with #dayofdiabetes and I’ll Storify them for you to share. I think there’s a potential paint a lucid picture of what living with this disease is like from every possible perspective: type 1, type 2, caregivers, everyone. I’d love to see if this could become a thing.
If you do decide to share your own Day of Diabetes, let me know on Twitter @iam_spartacus or send an email to chris at tobesugarfree dot com.
And one more time, shoutout to Storify for making this experience more digestable than going back through my Twitter timeline manually. Ain’t nobody got time for that.