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D-Blog Week: Change One Life, Change the World.

My reasons for sharing my story of a life with type 1 diabetes were few, but definitive:  I felt alone.  I wanted to feel less alone, because the whole “feeling alone” thing was wrecking some havoc on my emotional health.  I didn’t have many peers, in my life, who were living with diabetes, and the Internet offered very little in terms of support back in 2005.  At best, I could befriend the stock photography images of “people with diabetes” and at worst, I found little comfort in the list of reasons why life would be complicated, and compromised, found in my Google search returns.  After almost twenty years of life with diabetes, I really needed a community to make me feel whole.

Diabetes can create as many mental hurdles as it does physical ones, which is why diabetes and emotional health is my “itch.”  Peer-to-peer support is one of the most crucial elements in my diabetes self-care arsenal.  I did diabetes for about a decade without access to people who understood the minutiae of it all and I didn’t realize the void that existed until it was filled.  Connecting with those first kindred spirits – Scott, Violet, and Tek, in particular – cracked my world open and showed me that I was going to be okay and in the moments when I wasn’t as okay, I wouldn’t go it alone.

As I’ve written before, you can have access to all the best doctors and all the best technology but it’s all shit unless you’re in the right head space to make proper use of it.  Insulin that remains unbolused is useless.  Dexcom receivers don’t do any good shoved in a drawer.  The accuracy of glucose meters doesn’t matter if you don’t ever check your blood sugar.

The best laid plans of (NOD?) mice and men often go awry if you won’t engage in the self-care necessary for pursuing, and maintaining, good health.

So what’s my advocacy itch?  Hell, I’ve written about this for nine years – advocating for peer-to-peer support for people with diabetes.  Fostering community.  Being part of something that makes the isolation and fear of diabetes succumb to the possibility, and to the hope.

It’s as big as the Spare a Rose campaign and as small as a phone call with a newly-diagnosed friend who needs support.

Will this kind of advocacy change the world?  Perhaps not.  But it’s not about changing the whole world.  It’s not about page views or stat counts or any of that bullshitIt’s about being there for one another and taking care of one another.  Losing sight of that means losing so much of what makes our community truly awesome (like ‘100 billion hot dogs‘ kind of awesome).  Being part of a global movement to raise awareness for diabetes has been life-changing, and life-saving, for me, and I know for many others.  Even if we don’t see the direct influence of our collective community in clear and quantifiable ways, know that it is changing lives.

And that, in turn, changes the world.

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It’s Diabetes Blog Week, and this entry is for the “Change the World” topic.  For more on Diabetes Blog Week, including participants and topics, click on the respective links.  It’s not too late to join in the fun – jump in now!

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Kerri, you are certainly one of the people who have made the DOC a reality. The DOC has changed so many people’s lives for the better. Keep scratching.

    05/12/14; 12:13 pm
  2. I second that – Kerri, I bet you have brought in and affected more people with diabetes than you ever imagined you could way back in 2005. You’ve been a pioneer and advocate by just writing about your thoughts, your loves, your life. We love it, and we need it. Don’t ever stop doing what you’re doing, cause it seems to be just the right thing 🙂

    05/12/14; 12:51 pm
  3. I love your post, especially the sentences “But it’s not about changing the whole world…It’s about being there for one another and taking care of one another.” Thanks for sharing!

    05/12/14; 1:21 pm
  4. Kim #

    Count me among those who are thankful that you keep scratching. 🙂

    05/12/14; 3:40 pm
  5. Lexi #

    Well, you definitely changed my life. Three years ago the summer after I was first diagnosed at 16 I read every single one of your entries. All 9 years of them dating back to the first website you used. Just reading about all of your experiences made the transition that much easier.

    05/12/14; 5:26 pm
  6. You know – well you probably don’t, but you do now – I wrote about you today and your fight for a CGMS – a couple… of years ago.
    I have faith that Medicare will finally support/pay for CGMs but it’s going to take work and you led the way for all of us with your initial fights.
    So thanks!

    05/12/14; 5:32 pm
  7. Kathy Early #

    Love this post Kerri and always find inspiration here. Thanks for what you do.

    05/12/14; 6:29 pm
  8. Sparrowmin #

    Beautifully said. Thank you.

    05/12/14; 8:06 pm
  9. Being there for someone else when they need you is tremendously important. Thank you Kerri.

    05/12/14; 9:07 pm
  10. Your poem! “I worried my worries were too little, too late.”

    I have been referred to so many old (practically ancient) SUM posts today, even before reading this post. The DOC seems especially magical when is was new and smaller, the not knowing if someone would be there and then someone being there.

    05/12/14; 9:51 pm
  11. Peer-to-peer support…that is so important. Speaking with someone as equals, not as a doctor-patient, a teacher-student, or a judge-defendant relationship (all of which can seem to be the same sometimes) does wonders for validating feelings, building confidence, and learning new things.

    05/12/14; 10:51 pm
    • Yes! Absolutely, which, as I said in my other comment, is why my daughter needs friends who have diabetes. Having her dad have it has helped tremendously. I’m sure our whole family is far more comfortable and confident managing hers because we had 15 years of experience and exposure to his, but SHE needs peers too. For sure.

      05/13/14; 9:53 am
  12. My post for this topic is similar. I wrote to encourage mothers to send their kids to diabetes camp, but my reasoning was for much the same as the reasons you gave.

    I’m so glad I have the DOC, but at 7, my daughter doesn’t really hang out online too much.

    She has made some pen pals, diabuddies, but I completely agree with you, she needs her peeps. Which is why sending her to camp has made such a difference in her life.

    Even having a dad who also has diabetes is not the same has having friends, peers, other kids who do, and she clearly really needs that. She’s got one little homeschooled friend she emails every day. It warms my heart.

    Great post!

    05/13/14; 9:50 am
  13. You do and have changed the world in this D-Community, as others have noted. It happens one person at a time. You start in your own little corner and touch lives, and those have ripple effects. Like Sam Beckett in Quantum Leap. I felt alone once and couldn’t find real stories, and you were the first to change that for me. Thank you, Kerri.

    05/13/14; 10:17 am
  14. So well put. And this advocacy, and your blog, have changed MY world. So thank you!

    05/13/14; 2:02 pm

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