Category Archives: DSMA Blog Carnival

April DSMA Blog Carnival: Surviving Social Media Burnout.

The April DSMA Blog Carnival topic is an interesting one. As Karen says, “Just as we can have bouts of diabetes burnout, we might also have bouts of social media burnout.” So true, so true. Our question this month is:

What are some of the things we can do to prevent social media burnout?

Especially when we have months like this one, right? That New York Times story has had Twitter, Facebook, and blogs buzzing for two weeks. At moments like that, it’s easy to burn yourself out.

One of the things I find very interesting is the fact that no matter your age, or your background, or your prominence (or lack thereof) in the social media landscape, you will get burned out sometimes. I mean, it’s easy to get caught up in something, work hard to keep up on it, and then find out two weeks later you haven’t taken the dog for a walk or spoken to your spouse. So there’s a piece of advice right there:

Talk to your spouse once in a while. Take the dog for a walk. Play with your kids. Trust me, those tweets aren’t going anywhere. Facebook will still be there, faithfully waiting for your status update.

Why do we get so caught up in social media? Because we’re connected like never before? Because we know more people, in more places, than ever before? Those things are true. But I think we get so caught up in social media because we’re (usually) connected to people and issues that we care about deeply. I’ve personally made the mistake of feeling like I’m letting people down if I don’t stay at the forefront of an issue as it makes its way through the virtual landscape. Those are the moments when I need to remind myself:

This is not my job. And oh, by the way, social media was here long before I created a Twitter account, and it will be here long after I’m gone.

And let’s not forget something that really helps addict us to our smartphones and tablets. All of us, I think, have had a positive experience, or several, or several hundred, via social media. Who wouldn’t want that to continue? When you think of likes or followers or uplifting comments, and the way those make you feel, it’s easy to understand someone’s motivation for blogging and tweeting and instagramming and storifying themselves into a perfect computerized glow of co-dependency. We don’t want the love to stop.

If that’s you: You need a vacation.

At least once a year I go on vacation, for maybe a week. When I do, I also take a social media break. I don’t check my email, or my blog, or Twitter, or Facebook, or Instagram. And two things happen. I don’t miss it, and I find myself with renewed energy and sense of purpose. I feel like I can embrace social media again, rather than feel enslaved to it.

Oh yeah, we’ve all been there. It’s okay to admit it. Social media burnout does occur. When it does, remember that it’s okay to step away, take a break, enjoy the other great things in your life, even take a vacation from it for a while. Don’t worry… we’ll all be right here when you come back, and we’ll be very interested in what you’ve been up to! Go make some offline stories, then fill us in when you return. We’re looking forward to it. When we come back from the walk/date/vacation of our own.

This post is my April entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at

February DSMA Blog Carnival. What is an advocate?

The February DSMA Blog Carnival picks up on the advocacy theme that’s been prevalent in our community in the first two months of 2014. The question is:

What is your definition of an advocate?

Officially, dictionaries define an advocate as a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc. But an advocate is so much more than that.

To begin with, an advocate is someone who identifies with a need, an issue. They can see a problem, and they realize how this problem affects people. At this point, the need of others becomes their cause too.

An advocate wants to be part of the conversation surrounding their cause. They expect to be part of the solution. They protect those who are affected by the negative impacts of the issues they’re facing. They bring a voice to the voiceless, a spotlight to shine on their cause and the people affected by it.

Advocates marshal resources and raise money and set up tables and hand out information and give talks, so people not affected by an issue have an opportunity to become part of their team, the team fighting for improvement and empowerment for all who are part of our diabetes community.

What is an advocate not? An advocate is not someone who is afraid of the word “advocacy”. Admit it… that word makes you cringe a little, doesn’t it? Let’s get rid of the stigma of this word, and the feeling it gives us when we read it or speak it. Advocacy, advocacy, advocacy. Get comfortable with it. Advocacy, big or small, is good, and it should make us feel good when we define it through our actions.

In addition, advocates are not people who worry that they’re not good enough, or influential enough, or important enough to do anything meaningful. Here’s a news flash: You Are. They’re not concerned that whatever they’re doing isn’t big enough or special enough to be helpful. Fact: If you’re doing something to further the cause, no matter how small your effort is, you are a champion and worthy of the definition “advocate”.

Advocates are those who possess the empathy to identify with a need, and the resilience to do what they can to eliminate the need. They further the issue they’re fighting for, and they support and empower others who are doing the same. They are not afraid to do something that will help, no matter how small or big.

Advocacy comes in all forms. Bravery does too. If you speak honestly, with a focus on making things better for people living with and affected by diabetes, you are an advocate. And I thank you for what you’re doing for me.

This post is my February entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at

December DSMA Blog Carnival: Out with the old, in with the new.

As we near the end of the year, December’s DSMA Blog Carnival prompts a little soul searching, asking what we would do away with from our diabetes lives from 2013, and what we would like to bring to our D-lives in 2014. The subject:

Out with the old, in with the new – Diabetes Style

What would I give up from my diabetes life in 2013? What do I want to say goodbye to? Duh! How about getting rid of my diabetes entirely? I’d like a cure to welcome the new year, thankyouverymuch. Let’s do away with glucose checks and infusion sites and hypoglycemia treatments forever. I’d like to say adios to the cost of caring for a chronic condition too.

Okay, back to reality. Diabetes is here, and it’s not going away in the next couple of weeks. So what do I really want to change?

Well, it’s not so much a change as it is a continuation, or improvement this year. I want to continue eating healthier. Mostly, using fresher fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy sourced from places closer to home. I really made an effort in 2013 to cook more, with better ingredients. And while my waistline hasn’t changed much, how I feel certainly has changed for the better. I feel like I’m on the right track, and I want to continue eating better.

That’s more difficult in the winter. But even if I can’t get local fruits and vegetables right now (I live in Maryland), I can work on getting meats, dairy, and if I’m lucky, a few root vegetables or fresh herbs from local farmers. You know… places where I know what I’m getting, and where it’s coming from. Going local also allows me to find providers that don’t fill up their livestock with a bunch of steroids, or use a ton of pesticides on my fruits and veggies. In addition, getting foodstuffs from nearby farms means delivery of food when it’s ready, without delays of days or weeks while items are trucked from far away states or flown in from other countries. Believe me: eating something fresh off a local farm tastes waaaaay better than eating the same thing from the big-box grocery store.

I started this trend in the past year, and I hope to explore it more in the new year. Obviously, I won’t be able to avoid the grocery store completely. But just like with diabetes, doing better than yesterday is a victory in itself. Constant improvement, or trying for constant improvement, is what’s important. I wish you all the best as you toss out the old, and bring in the new greatness to your diabetes life in 2014.

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


November DSMA Blog Carnival: What’s the one thing you would share?

I’m encouraged by the diversity of answers to the one simple question that’s the subject of the November DSMA Blog Carnival:

What is one thing you would tell someone that doesn’t have diabetes about living with diabetes?

My first reaction is: I can only pick one? That’s difficult.

Because the first thing I would tell someone who isn’t living with diabetes is that I’m the same person today that I was before my diagnosis. I have the same hopes, dreams, and desires. I believe an incredibly wonderful life can be lived in spite of, and sometimes because of, diabetes.

If I can at all avoid it, I don’t let this disease get in my way. Sometimes it tries to shake my confidence with an unexplained high or low glucose, causing me to shift priorities from doing what I want, to doing what I have to do. It might delay me. But it doesn’t stop me. Diabetes is not my boss.

I can eat the same things today that I ate before diagnosis. I might eat them in smaller amounts now, and I might make healthier choices, and I take insulin to account for the carbohydrates I’m consuming. But I really don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.

I still train and participate in athletic events, just like I did 22 years ago. Of course, I’m 22 years older, and I don’t look as good as I did then, but who cares? I only care that I can keep moving, stay active, concentrate on what I can do, rather than what I can’t.

Something different about me is that I’m more interested in learning new things than I was back then. I’ve learned so much about my diabetes, and diabetes in general, over the past year and a half. And it’s made me a smarter, more well-rounded, happier individual. I feel more in control of my life.

Add it all up, and you’ll see that I’m a person with diabetes… not a person suffering from diabetes.

Now, if there was a second thing I could tell someone that doesn’t have diabetes about living with diabetes? I would tell them about the amazing amount of work it takes to live this life. I would tell them how no one should have to go through what I do. I would share with them stories about how some find it all overwhelming, and how we all need to do more to reach out to those people while simultaneously searching for better solutions.

Because for me, living with diabetes is not only about living well… It’s about helping others to live well too.

This post is my November entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at

October DSMA Blog Carnival. What would you say?

One of the hot issues in the DOC these days is test strip accuracy. It’s exciting to see outside agencies beginning to take note. With that in mind, let’s revisit our September 4th chat “Test Strip Accuracy” and talk about . . .

What would your comment be on meter accuracy at the Diabetes Technology Society meeting?

Well, I could say a lot of things. But I’d really want to say the perfect thing, of course. To do that, I think I’d have to point out that while we have lots of technology at our disposal, not all of it is the best technology available.

Just like many things in life, Diabetes often comes in degrees and layers of differences. We all know this, and we reflect that in our choices of tools to help us manage our glucose. Sometimes, rules in other countries make something available or not available to us, and we’re stuck with what we have. Here in the USA, we sometimes encounter the same thing thanks to insurance guidelines and medicare.

What that means is we’re all using different meters with different strips, many of which aren’t nearly as accurate as they should be. As accurate as they need to be. So we need the Diabetes Technology Society to understand these simple things:

– Lives depend on the accuracy of our devices.  Let me repeat:  Lives depend on the accuracy of our devices

– Continued accuracy, or lack of it at current levels could cost lives

– The proliferation of diabetes technology does not automatically equate to improved quality of the devices we use

– Quality and accuracy of our diabetes devices always needs to improve.  Ninety-nine percent accuracy still won’t be good enough when our lives are at stake, and right now we’re a long, long way from ninety-nine percent

– Ongoing, continuous post-market inspection of meters and strips, and holding manufacturers responsible for shortcomings will be a huge leap forward in improving and saving the lives of People With Diabetes

That’s what I would tell them.

If you’re living with diabetes, or caring for someone with diabetes, you know the importance, the hard work, of maintaining glucose numbers within a range that helps us to continue leading meaningful lives. Shouldn’t we expect at least as much from the Diabetes Technology Society, the FDA, and the manufacturers of our devices?

This post is my October entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at

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