I was a "bad" / somewhat "non-compliant" diabetic for many, many years. When I was diagnosed, I was 9 years old and at that age, everyone looked at me and though I was pretty smart and responsible. I had a fantastic Pediatric Endocrinologist for a while that kept me motivated enough to stay in line. But between her moving to another town and me starting high school, things started deteriorating slowly. I was never a fan of checking my blood sugar (really, who is ever?) and while I took my insulin, it was usually after the fact.
Fast forward through high school, undergraduate college, and my first year of a masters. I had only been in the hospital for one hypoglycemic event in my junior/senior year of high school (where I majorly miscalculated the number of carbs I ate at a party but I was at home so my mom found me, injected me with glucagon, and called the paramedics). Even though I tested occasionally and took insulin through my pump, I wasn't REALLY taking care of myself. Everyone assumed my that my intelligence and responsibility from school stuff translated to my health but that was far from the truth. A friend had come across and article somewhere that featured a prominent DOC blogger (sixuntilme.com). I slowly started devouring her blog posts as far back as I could manage. And then I found another (textingmypancreas.com). And another. So on and so forth.
Reading all their posts made me think, "Hey. If they can do this, why can't I?" Yes, we live different lifestyles. Yes, we have different goals for the future. Yes, diabetes is different for every person. But in the end, there's a lot about living with Diabetes that is the same. Vigilance (lots and lots of blood sugar testing). Healthy Eating (and correct carb counting...). Exercise (running, climbing, playing, working, etc). Regardless of what can be different, finding the Diabetes Online Community has been inspiring. My HbA1c has gone down and become more consistent. I'm testing more often. I'm eating healthier. I'm exercising more.
All of the members are unique but we all have something in common. There's someone to support each and every person. We all have a story to share and we all make a difference to someone else. Whether it's a hello, a smile, or a good joke, every letter typed matters. Sometimes it leads to actual changes in our medical treatment (which pump/continuous monitors/glucometers, better infusion sites, doctors) but it always leads to changes in our outlooks (attitudes, & perspectives) on this crazy life with D.
This post was written as part of the JDRF Juvenation Blog Carnival for National Diabetes Month! For more information, check out their post here or Juvenation.org!