In April, I felt quite honoured when Diabetes UK asked whether they could use one of my posts, “The United Diabetic”, as a guest blog during Diabetes Week. Although I post anonymously, there is a real person hidden behind the computer, so let me introduce myself.
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in May 2011 at the age of 28, and have since “enjoyed” the steep learning curve of living with this illness. In October, I started to write a blog as a bit of therapy for myself, but in the end, I’ve discovered that the connections I’ve made online have really helped me settle in for a lifetime of Type 1. I’m pretty open with my surroundings about having diabetes, but not always about how well I am coping. Having an anonymous blog, I’ve found it easier to open up and share all of my experiences.
There have definitely been times where I felt alone and like no one understood, so discovering other people’s stories online has helped a lot. This post is me sending some love back to those amazing people. If you would like to read more of my adventures, you can visit my blog at http://the3dotsdiabetic.wordpress.com, or to get in touch, you can find me on Twitter as @3dotsdiabetic.
So, here we go…!
The United Diabetic
Diabetics worldwide, I heart your blogs, stories, advice and love! Almost a year since T-zero, I’m taking the time to look back at what I have discovered so far thanks to ALL of YOU!!! It is by far not a complete “review” of the online community, but it’s a good impression of the support I’ve discovered online in the first year AD.
First port of call: the twitter-verse! Since starting the blog, I’ve been lurking in the Twitter-shadows, and it’s been great to discover your love for acronyms: DOC, PWD … and hash-tags. It’s been an amazing way to connect to people, and for you to reach out to me. I’m actually quite amazed at how many followers I have (currently 154 :D) and how many people have visited this blog. Also, I’ve connected to people around the world, and I received lots of useful bits of advice in response to my tweets. It’s made me thankful for some things (free healthcare), but also a little green-eyed on other aspects (gadgetry). I guess the best bit has been that I’ve managed to do this without having to fit in a meet-up in my calendar: I can catch up whenever on my various travels, in the morning at breakfast, or at night before turning in for the night. And, best of all: everyone has been so friendly, nice and understanding!
Facing a life-time of this, I’ve tried to inform myself as much as possible over the last year, and although I’m slowly developing information-overload, I’ve found quite a few resources helpful. I’ve read some books (the second “chapter” of the literate diabetic will come soon!), and visited loads of websites. Two stand-out ones have been the Diabetes UK site and Shoot up or Put up. Diabetes UK has a wealth of information on life, what to expect, which health checks to get, etc. When a friend recently asked why I was doing the Arran Bike’n’Hike for the charity, I almost sounded like a loved-up teenager discussing their work! Over at Shoot up or Put up, I’ve tended to get my information in a much more jolly fashion: the site has kept me informed on the various news stories, given me product reviews of the various gadgetry available, and all of it with a more light-hearted look on life (thank you Alison and Tim). It also has a great forum, although I have tended to be a bit of a lurker there too ;-)
Blog-wise, quite a few have become my regular haunts, but I’m still trying to figure out how to best keep track of people posting (I seem to have subscribed to some which come straight to my inbox, but not others!). I’ve loved the blogs at Diabetes UK. Like most people, some of the authors I can relate to more than others. With no kids, being diagnosed as an adult, and enjoying an active & sociable life, I really enjoy Helen May‘s blog as I think we have a few things in common. I’ve also loved the stories by Helen Whitehouse and Daisy Shaw on being a teen with diabetes. They’ve definitely reinforced the notion that diabetes shouldn’t stop me doing anything: going out, festivals… I’ve also enjoyed Jen’s look on things over at Young, Fun and Type 1, and she recently joined the Diabetes UK blogs with some video footage: amazing! There are countless other ones, including some further from home, which caught my eye, but I think the blog roll over on the right gives you an overview of those!
So, there you have it, a year in, and the online diabetes community has definitely helped me get settled in a little better. I still have questions, issues, and various worries, but eventually they will get dealt with. Mostly, I’ve managed to keep my positive outlook thanks to all the sharing!
Fellow diabetics, chins up and remember: “count it, eat it and keep going”!
The … Diabetic
PS My last sentence made me think that there is opportunity to ask Daft Punk to re-make their song Technologic with a diabetes focus. I suggest changing the lyrics to something like: “Prick it, Check it, Count it, Eat it, Jab it, Beat it, Finally cure it” OK, maybe the rhyme needs some work! Oh, and this reminds me of a YouTube video of a California Girls spoof with a Diabetes Theme. Suggestions for more spoof songs can be left in the comments!