It’s Diabetes Blog Week, a week in the year where diabetes bloggers can rally together and share their stories, following suggested (but not mandated!) themes and focusing on connecting with one another as a community. And who better to closely knit our community together than Karen (who is known in my household as “The Knitter“)? Karen kindly brings us closer on Diabetes Blog Week by inspiring others to raise their voices. So let’s do that.
Message Monday: Lets kick off the week by talking about why we are here, in the diabetes blog space. What is the most important diabetes awareness message to you? Why is that message important for you, and what are you trying to accomplish by sharing it on your blog? (Thank you, Heather Gabel, for this topic suggestion.)
My blog started back in May of 2005, admittedly mostly because I was lonely with diabetes. I had lots of friends and community outside of my busted pancreas, but no one in my life who “got it.” That frustrated me. Made me feel lonely. Contributed to feelings of isolation.
So I Googled “diabetes” and a long list of shit that would go wrong with my body as I aged came back as a search return. Not fun. At the time, I was 25 years old. I wasn’t ready to think about my chronic illness in terms of a ticking clock. I wanted more reasons to live, and live well, instead of reasons why I should tuck my islets between my legs (ew) and get ready to die.
Eff that. I want to have a proper life after diagnosis, not one that’s dominated by fear. Gimme some hope.
Which brought me to the blogosphere over a decade ago, and that desire to connect with people who intimately understand diabetes is what drives me to stay here.
Over the course of the last eleven years, my “message” has changed. I’ve changed, so that makes sense. When I was in my mid-twenties, I wanted to find others who were interviewing for jobs, starting relationships, living on their own, and making their way as an adult … with diabetes. Confirming that a community existed, and was accessible, lit me up proper.
As I got older, I was interested in hearing about successful parenting with diabetes. Not exclusively about pregnancy, because that’s not a thing for everyone, but about how families expanded through whatever means they felt were right, either through biological children, or adopted, or fostered, or kids of the decidedly furrier variety. I really took a lot of pride in sharing my pregnancy six years ago, and again now, because it wasn’t perfect, or seamless, or without issue but hell, it was mine. And it what I worked for. And it was worth it.
When there were complications, I felt comforted by the community who had been there before me, and by the hope they provided as to life after diagnosis. Same goes for diabetes-related depression. Same goes for infertility.
Same goes for any moment in the last eleven years where I’ve felt alone or potentially isolated, but the community taps me on the shoulder and goes, “Wait. You aren’t alone. Turn around; we’re all in this together.”
There’s a level of support found in our community that I can’t properly say thank you for. But I’m thankful.
Why am I here? To share my story, as ever-changing as it may be. To make a difference. The stuff I share from my digital soapbox grows as I grow, leaving my goal simply to connect with my peers and to live well. What am I trying to accomplish? I still don’t know, but I have seen that I accomplish more, live more when I feel the support of community.
I don’t have a set “message,” but I do have a life, and it’s worth documenting if only to prove to myself that diabetes will not bring me down.
If anything, with the help of our community, I’ll force it to raise me up.