Some people are just nice, and then you find out they also have diabetes and becomes a happy moment of “YES!!!” This is what meeting Danica, aka Diabetic Danica, is like. She’s kind, easy to talk to, and just happens to have amazing hair. Oh, and diabetes. She’s been creating videos that showcase her upbeat, positive take on diabetes since 2011, and today she’s sharing a little bit of her story with SixUntilMe.
Kerri: I am so thrilled to have you on the blog today, Danica! Can you take a minute to introduce yourself to folks who might not know you?
Danica: Yes, of course! Hi, my name is Danica. I have had type 1 diabetes for 15 years, and I use a Dexcom G6 and Animas insulin pump (for now anyway!). I have a YouTube channel all about life with diabetes! It includes everything from device tutorials and song parodies, to personal stories and day in the life videos! I am also a Registered Nurse, and recently became a diabetes educator!
Kerri: What is your message about diabetes – how do you want viewers to feel after stumbling onto your videos?
Danica: Overall, I think that initially I started making videos because I just wanted to dispel common misconceptions about diabetes. However, I tend to be a very positive person by nature, so I think overall I bring an upbeat view on life with diabetes. I hope people feel encouraged, informed, and more comfortable when it comes to life with diabetes after watching some of my videos. I do want to educate, but I also want to help people with diabetes feel like they are not alone and have someone whom they can relate to when it comes to life with T1D. I also try to make it entertaining at the same time!
Kerri: You’ve chosen YouTube as your medium of choice; what drew you to video?
Danica: Honestly, I was just watching a lot of YouTube videos and doing videos myself looked like fun! My brother, friends, and I growing up would make lots of home movies, so my brother had taught me how to edit video when I was a kid. Later, when I knew I wanted to do YouTube, I brainstormed: “What am I interested in that I could make videos about?” I had already decided at that point that I was going to work towards becoming a diabetes educator (this was after my freshman year of college, over 7 years ago!) Funny enough, I never saw the connection between my YouTube channel and my future career until people started commenting about how much the videos were helping them. It was the comments that made me realize that my videos WERE diabetes education – and were ultimately giving me a glimpse into my future (now current!) career!
Kerri: How long have you been creating content on YouTube, and what is that community like, from your perspective?
Danica: I started in Summer of 2011. I’d say the community of diabetes-focused YouTube channel creators is quite small, however there are plenty of viewers and they are so supportive! The vast majority of my comments are so positive and uplifting. People are so willing to share their views and experiences – which also helps me to learn as well! I have people that have been following me for years, and that’s so amazing to me. Some diabetes channels I watch on YouTube are: Michelle Lord, Laina Elyse, and dreamflight6000.
Kerri: When you look back at your slate of videos, which one(s) are your favorite(s) and what makes them stand out?
Danica: I always like the videos I filmed with family/friends because there are precious memories tied to those for me. These tend to be the Day in the Life videos! I also like the diabetes song parodies, just because I write them myself and they’re super amusing to make!!
Kerri: What do you love most about the diabetes online community?
Danica: I love the diabetes online community so much! I have been involved in it way before I ever had YouTube, or even a personal Facebook! I used to be on the message board called “Diabetes Teen Talk” way back in the day! The experiences and benefits I got from DTT shortly after diagnosis are the same amazing perks I get out of the diabetes online community today! The feeling of connection to people who know exactly what you are going through is invaluable. Some people do not have anyone in their “real life” who has Type 1, so to be able to talk to others online who have it makes you feel not so alone. On the practical side, you also can learn so much through others’ experiences, including strategies that they may have tried in their blood glucose management!
Kerri: What’s next for you – what can viewers expect from your advocacy work in 2019?
Danica: Videos all year! I have a few exciting connections to diabetes companies coming up. I also am starting on a new insulin pump this year, since my warranty with my Animas insulin pump (may they rest in peace) is over in February! So I’ll be documenting that experience too. I never quite know exactly what a new year will bring with my YouTube channel, but I’m excited to see where it goes!
Kerri: Hey, how’s your dog, &? And do you write her name out or is she like the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, with a symbol?
Danica: The beauty of Amps’ name is that it can be written EITHER way! As the symbol “&” or full out “Ampersand.” Most of the time I just call her Ampers or Amps though.
And she is fantastic! As you probably know, I’m a little obsessed with the little peanut. She’s cute and fluffy and cuddly and crazy and hyper and adventurous! She’s my first dog ever and I’m so in love with her.
Kerri: How can folks find more about you and your work?
Danica: I’m all over the interwebs! YouTube is my main place, but I also have a Facebook. My Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat (DeeMarieIsMe) are not necessarily diabetes-focused, but since I have type 1 diabetes it tends to pop up regardless!
Thanks for stopping by, Danica! <3