#DBlogweek Day 1: I CAN.

DBW2015
This is the sixth year of Diabetes Blog Week, started by Karen over at Bitter~Sweet Diabetes. All of us diabetes bloggers are given a subject to write about each day during this week, and after we publish each day’s installment, we’ll go back and link our posts on her site. Want to know more? CLICK HERE.

Day one… here we go! Our subject today is: I can.

In the UK, there was a diabetes blog theme of “I can…” that participants found wonderfully empowering. So lets kick things off this year by looking at the positive side of our lives with diabetes. What have you or your loved one accomplished, despite having diabetes, that you weren’t sure you could? Or what have you done that you’ve been particularly proud of? Or what good thing has diabetes brought into your life? (Thank you to the anonymous person who submitted this topic suggestion.)

Well, there are a lot of things I can do. But to understand what I can do now, I think it might help to understand what I couldn’t do before.

After my diabetes diagnosis, I was unable to bring myself to check my blood glucose on a regular basis. I didn’t like poking my finger with those awful seemingly steroid-induced-spring-loaded lancing devices I used back in 1991. Plus, I admit: I didn’t like checking in public, and I was in public a lot back then. But now: I check all the time, wherever I am and whomever I’m with.

I think there were two things that made the difference for me: I stopped using long-acting insulin entirely, which meant I had to have better knowledge of where my BGs were at all times. And I realized that if I didn’t care much about my diabetes and doing what I needed to survive, how could I expect anyone else to care either?

Plus… the Diabetes Online Community helped teach me that I am worth whatever it takes to be safe and healthy, every minute of every day. I can’t begin to tell you how much that meant.
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For the longest time, I was unable to talk about my diabetes openly. Part of that was the feeling that I didn’t want to be seen as “not normal” (nobody is that kind of normal anyway), part of it was that I didn’t feel very good about how I was handling my diabetes (with good reason), and part of it was I didn’t know how to talk about diabetes in general, and my diabetes specifically.

Today, while I’m still not perfect, I communicate about diabetes all the time. Whether it’s here or another website, on Twitter, at conferences, or anywhere else, I talk freely and openly about diabetes in general, and my diabetes specifically.

I think that’s mostly due to how much I’ve learned in the past few years, from so many people who are so much smarter than me. And by reading a lot. And by listening to my endocrinologist. And by participating in clinical trials. I still feel like there’s a lot that I don’t know… but knowing as much as I do right now has made me more confident when it comes to talking diabetes.

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Finally… For the first 20½ years that I spent living with diabetes, I knew maybe two other people living with diabetes. I didn’t know about the Diabetes Online Community, Twitter chats, blogging, or anything patient advocacy related. It was me and my diabetes against the world.

Eventually, in 2011, I found my first diabetes blog. I found others, of course, and I saw the warmth and encouragement that came from this growing worldwide group of people. I observed their incredible bravery, their creativity, and their selfless advocacy on behalf of many who are marginalized, bankrupted, and discriminated against for no other reason than the fact that their pancreases gave up on them. I wanted to be like the people doing this amazing work. I still want to be like them.

So I started writing a blog. I went to a couple of conferences. I participated in clinical trials. I got up and spoke for everyone living with diabetes at a public workshop at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Now, I’m not only concerned with knowing as many people living with diabetes as I can. I’m also concerned with helping others, who are just finding me and my friends online, to meet as many people as they can. Doing this makes me very happy.

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The answer to the I CAN question is: I can do a lot. Without the help of so many others, I might not have learned so much. With the help of so many others, my learning will never stop. And my ability to champion for others will only grow.
 
 
 

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Comments

  • runningwithoutsugar  On May 11, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Twenty and a half years? Wow, that’s a long time. Isn’t technology wonderful? That said, when I was diagnosed, I searchers online for information but took me a few more months before discovering the DOC – but I’m glad I did. And I’m glad to have come across your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Laddie  On May 11, 2015 at 10:23 am

    You’ve come a long way, Stephen, and for sure the sky is the limit for what you can and will do. So glad to have gotten to know you through the DOC and thank you for everything you do for all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Katy  On May 11, 2015 at 10:23 am

    I admire all you’ve done. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Kate Cornell  On May 11, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    You are such an inspiration! I admire your willingness to give of yourself for others. I’m glad to call you friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  • surfacefine  On May 11, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    As you know, I am such a fan of yours and this post is just one more reason why I am! I’m glad doing all of this makes you happy, because knowing you makes me happy and I know you because of T1D. Big hug!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Karen  On May 11, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    You have come such a long way and are such an inspiration!!! Thank you for all you CAN and all you DO do.

    Liked by 1 person

  • kelly2k  On May 11, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    You’ve come so far and I’m so proud of you, Stephen!
    And I am so proud and happy to call you my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Kelley  On May 11, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    Your story sounds very familiar! I’m glad that you found the DOC and I was able to meet you I enjoy reading your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Ally  On May 11, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    So glad you started talking about diabetes. Your enthusiasm in the #doc is contagious, and we are all glad that you realized that you could, and still can, do so much for our community. Thank you, Stephen!

    Liked by 1 person

  • jessicamasters  On May 11, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Thanks for this post Stephen, I really enjoyed reading it and taking in a snap shot of your life with diabetes. I started blogging in 2012, and although I’ve taken a couple of breaks away from writing, I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve come across your blog – Yay for Diabetes Blog Week!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Heather Gabel  On May 11, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    YOU being here is such a treat. I love how you write and all of the things you have to say. Thank goodness for Kim, huh!! You Can Do This!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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