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You Are HERE.

Why are you here?  Why do you read diabetes blogs?  What made you want to start a Twitter account and participate in diabetes chats?  What makes you want to attend diabetes conferences?  What inspires you to organize meet-ups with local PWDs or advocacy walk teams?  How come you read diabetes articles and news sites and magazines? Why do you want to connect with others who have diabetes?

Why are you HERE?

I’m here because I have diabetes.  My impetus for starting a diabetes blog was because I didn’t know anyone else “in real life” who lived with type 1 diabetes and that feeling of isolation was starting to gnaw at me as much as my fluctuating blood sugars.  Back in 2005, there weren’t a lot of people sharing their stories, so I connected fiercely with the few who were.  (And if you’re wondering, I do still talk with Dee, and Violet.  I miss Tek and haven’t heard from her in ages.)

Before the diabetes online community was a “thing,” I felt like the only diabetic in the universe.  It felt good to be proven wrong, over and over and over again.

I started this site because I wanted to find some kindred spirits.  And that’s the reason I continue to write, and to try and connect.  It keeps the loneliness of chronic illness at bay and makes doing this diabetes maintenance thing easier.  Even though so many healthcare professionals think that my A1C is the most important marker of my success as a person with diabetes, I think my happiness is, and connecting with my PWD peers keeps me happy.

It’s a personal preference thing, and that’s my personal preference.

There are people who understand what you’re going through.  That’s the whole entire point of the Diabetes Online Community, to give us that “me, too!” moment that helps make diabetes suck less.  You are not the only person living with diabetes, or caring for someone with diabetes.  You are not alone.   The point is not pageviews or advertisements or conferences or “perks.”  If that’s why you’re here, I wish you all the best, but that’s not why this community started, or why it continues.

There’s no “how to” list when it comes to engagement.  You just have to DO.  Do it.  Engage.  And just as with diabetes (or with life in general), it’s important to manage expectations.  Give yourself time to find that kindred spirit, those PWD peers.  Feeling connected is not as simple as logging on, but becoming part of the discussion, however big or small.  Please remember that your voice is important, and it doesn’t matter how many people are “reached.”

The point is connecting with your own, personal community and you are at the very center of that experience.  It’s about you being reached.  It’s about you.  YOU.

22 Comments Post a comment
  1. This weirdness seems to be rampant lately.
    This is brilliantly written.

    09/23/14; 11:39 am
  2. Alanna #

    Well, said. Um. Can’t wait to hang with you next week…FYI.

    09/23/14; 11:48 am
    • Alanna #

      THE GRAMMAR IN THAT COMMENT IS SO DISGUSTING I AM JUST LEAVING IT.

      09/23/14; 11:49 am
  3. k2 #

    Kerri –
    Thank you so much for writing this post – I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!!
    And thank you for blogging, sharing, helping and inspiring everyone in the Diabetes Online Community..
    For me, I started blogging because I saw something I didn’t like in the media about diabetes and wanted to right something I perceived as a diabetes wrong.
    But then I found others, a clan of people who lived the life I was living and I realizing that others had the same D thoughts and issues I did – And that I wasn’t alone & found a community and discovered my diabetes voice in the process.
    I discovered friends who are family and who “get it,” in all dimensions.
    Our community changed me as a person and continues to do so.
    I didn’t know there was such a thing as the DOC when I started and now I can’t imagine my life without the DOC.
    We are all so lucky to have found one another!
    Xoxo
    Kelly K

    09/23/14; 11:50 am
    • Pat pate #

      Dear Kerri,

      Thank you for your blog. it is so good to read about common , pwd life. I have read many magazines that is science, diabetes facts and educational info.
      Your blog is an everyday aknowledgment about the frustrations of Diabetes .
      Having frustrations which are normal and not a failing. thank you for the fun and making me feel not so alone,too.

      11/10/14; 8:09 pm
  4. “The point is not pageviews or advertisements or conferences or ‘perks.'” Yes, exactly! Those things might come with more engagement, or they might not. In either case, it shouldn’t be the goal of engagement.

    09/23/14; 11:55 am
  5. Well said, and for me a great reminder. I’ve been feeling very disconnected lately – and it’s because I’ve been doing a very sucky job at connecting. (For various reasons that have nothing to do with the DOC). Yes, making those connections takes time, but it is probably one of the best time investments I can think of.

    And here ends my own personal therapy session in your comment section. LOL

    09/23/14; 12:12 pm
  6. Grainne #

    Thank you so much Kerri.

    09/23/14; 12:57 pm
  7. Lately I’ve been asking myself all of the questions you listed in the upper paragraph. I came into the DOC after years of feeling “alone” for so long with diabetes myself. Through TuDiabetes, I engaged in discussion boards and met friends that have spanned outside of TuD. One of those friends encouraged me to start a blog – and I did… then I was encouraged to start on Twitter… and I did. I even did a separate Facebook account JUST to connect with other diabetics so that some part of me would feel whole. It did for a while, but now that feeling is leaving me again, not because I don’t appreciate the DOC, but because having only access to online friends leaves a hole that can only be filled with off-line ones.
    Also, a couple of years ago, my husband asked while we are on vacation “So, do you think the DOC can survive without you this week?” Of course it can. But it still has me questioning what do I bring that is beneficial, and would anyone care if I did back out?
    So why am I still here? Because there’s always someone else who is where I was 6-7 years ago – needing to find others like me – to know that they’re not alone. Until I find whatever my place is here, I try to look for those I can help.

    09/23/14; 1:59 pm
  8. ria #

    love the photo
    now I know where Rhode Island is

    09/23/14; 2:37 pm
    • I read that this (ria’s comment on THIS POST) was the best comment of September 2014, and now I agree!

      11/16/14; 9:24 pm
  9. I read the comments from My Diabetes Secrets that, I assume, prompted this post (which is spot on, by the way). I understand where those folks are coming from. I’ve been there. Finding the DOC was a wonderful thing that helped me to cope with my T2 diagnosis and life. It didn’t matter what “type” others were or what their care regimen looked like; they “got it” and that’s all that mattered. There was a time, in my beginnings, where I felt a bit left out. I didn’t seem to fit in. I was bummed that I didn’t get many hits on my fledgling blog. I wanted to meet other DOCers IRL but was unable to make the conferences etc. This disconnect didn’t stop me from participating and after a time I came to realize some truths: 1. Most of the DOCers that I admired and wished to connect with have been here a long time and they have become genuine friends with many of the other folks. Reading their camaraderie on Twitter and FB made me long to be a part…but they’re FRIENDS! It’s not like someone suddenly noticed and said, “Look! Kate is here now and we must be instant friends with her and include her and like her.” Get frickin real. 2. I’m old enough to be most of the “popular” DOCers’ mother. Yeah, I’m cool and can be fun and funny, but who wants to hang out with their mother? Honestly! 😉 I completely enjoy reading the interactions between these younger people and get lots of good from just lurking.

    I have found my niche in the DOC. I’ve made some great connections and been able to meet some of these folks in real life. I’m lucky there but what I gain from the DOC has nothing to do with meeting in real life or attending conferences or seeing numerous hits on my blog. I’ve come to realize the importance of the DOC and it isn’t being included; it’s a matter of including yourself wherever you fit. I have taken a bit of a break from blogging due to a wicked bout of depression and dealing with an aging mother. I know in my heart when I choose to return and be more active in the DOC, people will be there to greet me, send me a virtual hug and be happy to see my face. The DOC is not high school, nor is it a place that has rules that force us to include everyone at the same level, and it shouldn’t be that place. If people are seeking help, acceptance and/or friendship in the DOC then they simply must speak up.

    Phew, maybe I need to get back to blogging cuz I sure had a lot to say! Thanks for giving me a safe place to say it.

    09/23/14; 3:40 pm
  10. Charlotte #

    Thank you so much for your blog! I found it shortly after I was diagnosed a year and a half ago, and helped me to get a dexcom right away and more recently, my pump. Many days it feels as if no one around me understands what I’m going through, but then I look at the DOC and realize, though we are far apart, we can share our stories and realize we are not alone. I can’t wait to go to my first diabetes conference in May and get to know people in real life, haha!

    09/23/14; 4:05 pm
  11. Amanda #

    Hello! Great post as always! I always know where I can come when I am feeling lonely and struggling with my Diabetes. I do not know anyone in my personal life with Type 1 and it can be hard when no one really understands what a day in our life can be like. Most days are great, but some can be so frustrating and it is great to hear your perspective.

    09/23/14; 7:18 pm
  12. Why am I here?? For many of the same reasons as you. I need to have people in my life who get it, who I can commiserate with and laugh with about this disease. Being connected in the DOC makes my days less lonely. But now I’m craving having more peole in my actual, physical life that I can interact with. Just joined the Boston POD of Diabetes Sisters and I’m really enjoying getting to know these other women. I even signed up to do the Boston, JDRF walk this coming Saturday, Sept 27. Can’t wait to go and meet some new T1D friends.

    09/23/14; 8:41 pm
  13. Brian t. Black #

    Once again you put that smile on my face at end of another day with my Diabetes. Today was a good day for myself. I have been living with my diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes and the Complications that came with this disease for 4 1/2 years know. Last Summer I found this great Blog “SixuntilMe” which has led me to be a Volunteer, Advocate and much more. For the people I care about and give my heart to. Kerri you are the one who said open that Twitter Account come join this Community we call the DOC. So I did just that.
    And yes !! This community has taught a lot about my Type 1. Inwhich I show my gratitude everyday I wake up. So this brings me to a quick story of reaching out. About three months ago I met a fellow PWD. They were very secluded about there Diabetes. Every time I would come into contact, I would ask how they there diabetes was going . I think I broke through about a month ago. They hadn’t been able to afford there Levemir for over a year. There A1C was pushing upwards of 13. Success we got them there Levemir. So today this person ask me how my diabetes was going. I answered with a positive smile. And that I was going to Diabetes Camp with the Kids this weekend. The next words were from them were “How can I get Involved”. So out came the Jdrf Business Card of one of many of the Development Coordinators at Jdrf. All I could do is Smile the rest of the day.
    This story will continue.

    09/23/14; 9:16 pm
  14. Deb #

    very well written–thank you, I enjoy this blog every single day.

    09/24/14; 9:45 am
  15. Lisa #

    hmm, Thought a bit about this post and looked at some of the comments on the “Diabetes Secret” site. I am a long time lurker of the DOC and have gained insight and comfort in other’s words. I have thought about blogging but meh, not now not for me, so why are these people hating? If you reach out and make the effort in time you could become part of the fabric of the DOC, it is a choice, at least that is how I see it. If you choose to lurk, sorry I am pitiful I know, than don’t complain that you aren’t part of the cool kid crowd. Choose to jump in and be part and if your voice resonates with others you will start to make the connection and wahla DOC fabric. Action not complaints that is what I’m all about. Kerri love your blog enjoy reading every day and I think you daugher is a cutie!

    09/25/14; 9:33 am
  16. Great post! So true, the desire and need to feel connected to others who experience the same things. Reading your blog regularly inspired me to make my own and so far I love it!

    09/25/14; 11:24 pm

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