We’re at the beginning for Diabetes Blog Week and I’m already coloring outside the lines.
Today’s prompt is called diabetes and the the unexpected. Here’s the description:
Diabetes can sometimes seem to play by a rule book that makes no sense, tossing out unexpected challenges at random. What are your best tips for being prepared when the unexpected happens? Or, take this topic another way and tell us about some good things diabetes has brought into your, or your loved one’s, life that you never could have expected?
Rule book? Random challenges? Yeah, none of that is really resonates with me. What could I have never expected from diabetes?
What I didn’t expect to find after my diagnosis was vibrant and varied diabetes online community, a.k.a. the DOC.
The DOC isn’t just the troup of patient bloggers sharing their BTDT experience. Although there are plenty of active (and semi-active) patient and parent bloggers in the DOC, some of whom are participating this week.
It’s also journalists like Wil Dubois, Mike Hoskins, and Amy Tendrich at DiabetesMine who track everything from the latest research updates to the daily challenges of life with diabetes. And the folks at DiaTribe and Diabetes Daily. These are folks who are actually subject matter experts. They’ve tracked diabetes-related news over time, so they know the history behind the current story. Some of them live with diabetes, others have experienced life with diabetes through someone close to them. Because they understand the true impact diabetes has of people’s lives they’re not satisfied with just reprinting press releases.
It’s advocates like Bennet Dunlap and Christel Marchand Aprigliano who established Diabetes PAC which not only tracks diabetes policy issues but also helps people take political action in support of better health care. And it’s leaders like Manny Hernandez who established the Masterlab program at the Diabetes Hands Foundation to train up-and-coming diabetes advocates.
It’s medical professionals who value the patient’s voice and are committed to working with (and not simply treating) people living with diabetes. Some, like Hope Warshaw even promote the usefulness of the DOC to their patients and colleagues. There’s even been a scholarly article written about the potential benefits of participating in the DOC.
It’s even industry folk who help nurture the social media presence of DOC members. The Roche Diabetes Care Social Media Summits are legend. Now Janssen hosts the annual HealtheVoices conference, this year welcoming 105 patients advocating for 35 medical conditions.
In the DOC I found a generous spirit of people willing to share. We share BTDT experience, knowledge about diabetes and healthcare, and the gallows humor that comes from knowing we won’t get out of this world alive. That weird, wonderful mix has helped me learn how to problem solve when faced with the unexpected. It’s strengthened my voice as an advocate for better health policy and coverage. And it’s given me hope that my future is filled with something more than endless plates of salad.
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There are many more people in the DOC who I’ve learned from and enjoyed spending time with. No way could I mention everyone in a single post. Know that I value your efforts and impact even if I didn’t mention you by name or organization. And I wish everyone in the DOC many more healthful, happy years in our community.
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DISCLOSURE: I attended this year’s HealtheVoices conference. Janssen Global Services, LLC. paid for my travel expenses for this conference. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.
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