Diabetes Week guest blog – by the3dotsdiabetic


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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!

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Hi Everyone,

Thank you very much for your kind and encouraging comments and connecting with me! Below are some individual replies to all of you ;-)
The … Diabetic

Paul4Jags: I am still on the steep learning curve, and can only live in awe of the old-timers. I really enjoy the encouragement we can all give each other, and I hope I can be the one teaching the Junior Doctors a few tricks in 23 years time!

Yvonne & Jess: Your story was very touching and I hope you can find many positive things to grab hold of in my own adventures and those of others. I don’t know if you visited my blog, but The Prehistoric Diabetic may encourage you a little more. Also, I would definitely recommend the younger Diabetes UK bloggers I mentioned in the post – they definitely are a testament that diabetes shouldn’t stop you from enjoying life.

Danie: Thank you! I had been reading your posts already so will add your blog to the blog roll on my personal page (I’m a little slow at keeping everything up to date!).

Gwyn: Times have definitely changed, and the tools available today for managing life with diabetes are pretty impressive. I can only read about the guillotines and glass needles and be a little grateful at all the research, development and patient involvement which has led to what I can currently use. Secretly though, I hope that I can do my part to help improve our tools even further: pumps, CGMs etc. Dare I even say: maybe even a cure?!? I’ve read your posts with great interest and look forward to reading the next installments and hearing more of your experiences.

My mum Yvonne posted earlier, and suggested i should read this. I’m pleased i did, i feel reasured that others struggle to live with diabetes and all the emotions that go with it. Now aged 14 I’m 2 and a half years into living with it, and i still struggle and have my good and bad days. However, its good to know that i can access this blog. My mum explained the troubles ive had earlier, but im fighting it and trying to see the good things within this, which i see your doing. I would like to say, good luck and i shall be reading more of your helpful blogs, thankyou. xxxx

I’ve had Type 1 diabetes since I was 10 yrs old and I’m now 47. I’ve seen many changes in diabetes care over the years moving from glass syringes and steel needles, which neede to be kept in surgical spirits to the throwaway pens & needles we use now. I have my own blog http//:gwyn65.blogspot.com – this talks about my experiences about becoming an amputee.

Great post! I recently followed you on twitter as part of PWD and DOC :)
I was diagnosed at 11 with T1 and I am now 25, I have had my struggles as have everyone else and it’s so enlightening to find such a community there, worldwide, brought together by the same experiences!
Living with diabetes means to never stop learning… keep blogging!
Danie.

Morning, I read this with interest. My daughter was diagnosed with type 1 december 2009 aged 11. For the first year I took total control and things went very smoothly and she went onto pump therapy. However, she kept a lot to herself and shortly after the 12mth period she became depressed and started to self harm!! Its ben a difficult ride and we’re still not out of the woods but I think reading this and your blog may help her realise what she is experienceing is ‘normal’ given her circumstances. So a big thank you and well done…keep battling xx

I’ll look out for your blogs now that Diabetes UK have given you a plug. I’ve had diabetes since I was 17 years old and was at first year in Uni. 24 years later it is funny to see the different perspective somebody like you has trying to find out about it all for the first time, whereas now when I go to a hospital clinic check up I feel like the old timer teaching the young doctors about a condition I’ve had for often as long as they’ve been alive.
Best wishes.
Paul4Jags