I have the privilege of guest posting over at Diabetes Social Media Advocacy for this month’s Blog Carnival. This is the second time this year they’ve graciously put my post up on their site. And although I don’t mention it below, both times have been major highlights for me this year. Thanks DSMA!
This post is my December entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2012/december-dsma-blog-carnival-2/
(See what I did there? I didn’t wait to put the link at the bottom of my post. Just call me a rebel. Or not.)
The final installment of the DSMA Blog Carnival for 2012 is seeking input on something you might expect at this time of year:
Take a moment to reflect on diabetes in 2012 – on a personal level, on a community level, on a technological level, anything you can think of. What things stand out to you the most? What did 2012 and Diabetes mean to you? You can even take the challenge one step further, and post a collage of your Year in Diabetes!
Well, my blog only has only been around for a little over eight months now… but still, what a year.
On a personal level, 2012 can be described as the year when I became reacquainted with the diabetes community at large. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll mention it again: I spent a long, long time living my life on my own, not knowing about or paying attention to how others with diabetes were doing. That meant that, for instance, when I had a tough time managing glucose during or after working out, or I couldn’t figure out how to talk to my endocrinologist about my A1c, I thought I was the only one who ever had these problems. In the last half of 2011, I found the Diabetes Online Community and realized that I am not living in a diabetes bubble.
So I started a blog. But I continued to do a lot of reading. In doing so, I found out a lot about new products that are coming to the market. I’m just guessing here, but I think we may look back on 2012 as the year just before some big breakthroughs in diabetes care. To be sure, not every product we read about this year was given rave reviews. But some were. If you can, think back to how you saw these products reviewed this year: Tandem’s T:Slim insulin pump, Medtronic’s MySentry, Roche’s Accu-Chek Nano, the iBGStar from Sanofi, and GlucoLift glucose tabs.
What does this mean? For me, it means that there are a number of companies out there working to bring helpful products to the market that will be meaningful to people managing their lives with diabetes. Working with them in some cases are organizations that are providing input during the development phase and feedback once the product is in the marketplace. Sometimes these initiatives are resulting in better stuff; sometimes they are not. In every case, it seems, there are plenty of people in the DOC who are not shy about saying what works and what doesn’t. Whether companies embrace the idea or not, it’s pretty clear that there’s a kind of collaborative effect working to bring us better products producing better results. Or to discount wild claims about products that aren’t cutting the mustard. In future years, I’m guessing, companies will be even more aware of the power of social media as an information-sharing tool as well as a marketing tool.
My year included a visit to Maryland JDRF’s annual meeting in June. At that meeting, I heard a talk from someone with the University of Virginia’s Center for Diabetes Technology, who spoke about their work on the Artificial Pancreas Project, which JDRF is helping to fund. I got so excited about that talk that I wrote about it. Later, I was invited to an open house at the center where I learned more about the AP and even held the device in my hand. Definitely a highlight of my year. In November, the FDA released important guidance on development and testing of the Artificial Pancreas. Could 2013 (or 2014?) finally be a breakthrough year for the AP in the United States and beyond?
The Artificial Pancreas Project wasn’t the only JDRF-related event for me this year. I underwent mentor training, meeting some very dedicated individuals in the process. I rode 65 miles in the Tour de Talbot bike ride here in Maryland, which benefited JDRF and allowed me to meet Team Type 1 athlete John Anderson.
What haven’t I done? I haven’t gotten together with a support group yet. I’m trying, but I just haven’t been able to make that connection. So that’s near the top of my diabetes list for 2013.
And I don’t think I’ve done enough advocacy this year. Now, I’m still a relative newbie in the blogging landscape, so I’m still figuring out how to have a voice that extends beyond my home page. But I definitely have my eyes open for a great advocacy effort that goes beyond what I’ve accomplished so far. Blogging and Twitter are great, but they won’t last forever. And we don’t live in our hard drives (though those low glucose moments sometimes make us feel like our hard drives have crashed).
It’s been a remarkable year. I’m so excited about what this year has done for me and my diabetes. But, as always, I’m looking forward to the future, for changes that will benefit all of us. Changes that will cost us less and give us more access. Changes that will give all of us a chance to live the full, unrestricted, meaningful lives we’re meant to live.