Let’s kick off Diabetes Blog Week by talking about the diabetes causes and issues that really get us fired up. Are you passionate about 504 plans and school safety? Do diabetes misconceptions irk you? Do you fight for CGM coverage for Medicare patients, SDP funding, or test strip accuracy? Do you work hard at creating diabetes connections and bringing support? Whether or not you “formally” advocate for any cause, share the issues that are important to you. (Thanks go out to Kim of Texting my Pancreas for inspiring this topic.)
I’ve thought long and hard about this topic, because there are about a million different things related to living with diabetes, that I’m extremely passionate about; I think they can just about all be summed up with two words: outreach and connection.
The outreach aspect is kind of what it’s always been about for me (well, post diagnosis depression phase, which was about 1 1/2 years). When I was first diagnosed with T1D, the circumstances were less than desirable and for the most part, I was on my own with regard to healthcare, understanding, and learning about T1D (except for hubs and family!). Where do you go to learn? Google. I found a forum and was promptly attacked for my lack of knowledge with regard to T1D (mind you, I’d had it about 4 weeks), and that’s when someone reached out to me to offer help and support. The series of events that transpired after that initial contact brought a whole group of amazing T1D adults and parents of children with T1D into my regular, daily life. They taught me everything I know today, and for that, I am eternally thankful. I’m still in touch with all of these individuals today (and have met many in person over the years), and here we are 7 1/2 years running (where is that cure?). I quickly realized how important connections are, so I set out to be involved and “out” there, to provide the same support and knowledge I’d gained, for those that find themselves in my initial shoes. Nobody deserves disrespect, to be alone or to be judged.
Connecting for me, in part, stems from outreach and has come in many different forms. This disease is relentless and most often silent, so I’ve forced myself to not be so quiet when connecting with others, and improving lives of those living with diabetes. Whether it’s volunteering, fundraising, leading teams, speaking to groups about diabetes, advocating, writing letters, social media and blogging, giving presentations to companies, there is always someone I meet affected by diabetes, and if not, you most certainly have an instant connection with others living with the disease that understand you. Priceless!
Outreach and connections are what have got me to where I am today, and I’m so thankful for all of the experiences, opportunities and wonderful individuals in my life, as a direct result of putting myself out there.