Always Educating

I like this.

As I continue to mull over ways to improve awareness within the diabetes community, I need to remember these educational moments are an opportunity, not a burden. I shouldn’t walk away from misinformation and ignorance, I should confront it. I shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for what I believe in.

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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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Day of Diabetes

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.

If you haven’t seen them yet, you can see my day on Storify.

First, to the people who thought “that’s a lot”, bless your heart: That was a good day.

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For a Day

I do what I can to spread awareness online through the efforts of others (albeit not as much lately). Given how infrequent my eloquence with words strikes me and this blog, I always enjoy sharing the thoughts of others – especially when it comes to describing what diabetes is like. For as long as this disease is a thing, we can never have enough posts, tweets, status updates, tumbles, vlogs, speeches, or anything else describing what it’s like to live with diabetes.

For as much as this blog is for me and connecting with the community at large, I also know there’s a benefit for people close to me that don’t have a broken pancreas. If they want to get a better understanding of what I’m going though (first, more power to them), my archives are littered with emotions directly influenced by diabetes. That’s why I was excited to see the JDRF stepping up their awareness game in November with their ‘Be T1D for a Day’ campaign.

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There have been a number of posts over the past week discussing a recent episode of “The Pitch” on AMC featuring the JDRF. You should read Kerri’s and Sara’s perspectives and then consider this:

How much would you “sacrifice” for increased public awareness of type 1 diabetes? As the world becomes more savvy to marketing efforts and everyone and everything is vying for your fundraising dollars, you’ve got to be clever with your…pitch.

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Station Identification


(Left to right)

If you follow any of the blogs (or twitter streams) from the Diabetes Online Community then you are more than aware of November’s importance. American Diabetes Month is a big deal but there are millions of uninformed, undiagnosed and untreated when it comes to Diabetes (big D, for all the types). In November we all shout a little bit louder to raise the collective awareness of this disease, bust some myths and generally inform a public consciousness that could use some help.

Next is a beaded bracelet I received the day after the April 16 shooting. I’ve worn it every day since. It’s a nice reminder that we’re in this together – be it coping with a massacre or to tie it back in…coping with this disease.

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