Tag Archives: diabetes online community

Here they are: June 2014 Best of the ‘Betes Blogs!

I’m thrilled and honored to be bringing you the June Best ‘Betes Blogs. Due to Sara’s travel itinerary and my hyping MasterLab this week, it’s taken a while to go through all of the amazing writing around the DOC last month. Sorry about that.

Now, without further ado, let me reach into my specially-constructed stainless steel vault and reveal this month’s best:
Best Use of Humor:
“You know what it means to have “bloused” before a meal, and you’ve likely done it yourself.”
Best Vlog:
“If you develop diabetes-related complications, it’s not a mark of failure.”
Best Use of Photography
I’m going to expand this category to include Best Infographic:
Has sent the Diabetes Australia Language Position Statement to approximately 345,000 journalists and health professionals
Best Advocacy
“…as far as I’m concerned, the diabetes online community made an excellent first impression.”
Best Reference to a D-Celebrity
““Me too!!!” I said with more enthusiasm than I’ve ever had in verifying that I have a broken pancreas.”
Best Story of a D-Meetup
“Here’s to cross-cultural d-adventures!”
Best non-D Related Post
“Once, when I was young I was sitting on the couch with my mom, leaning very close to her, when I suddenly burst out laughing. She was perplexed. Nothing funny had happened. When she asked, it turned out that I had been close enough that I had seen her blink. It was the first time in my life I’d seen someone blink, and the fluttering eyelid seemed hilarious to me.”
Best Post by a Type 1 (Soooo many great T1D posts this month!)
“Have been awake for almost 22 hours straight. Exhausted. It all comes crashing down. 35 years and I am scared out of my mind of diabetes.”
Best Post by a Type 2
“Maybe someday we can laugh at the idea that there used to be a thing called diabetes. Then we can lighten up.”
Best Post by a Type Awesome
The Five Stages to an unplanned set change
Best Story of a D-Mistake
“The bottle that only an hour earlier I was cursing, was now my salvation.”
Best Motivational Post
“that’s why people with diabetes are work work workin’ to contribute to the diabetes online community.”
Best Diabetes Art
“I Have always found that the most incredible things happen right in our own back yard.”
Best Comment
“Suesflash!” (from Kelly at Diabetesaliciousness)
Here is the text to use to get your button:

Replace all [ ] with > <:
[div align=”center”][a href=”http://www.bestofthebetesblogs.com&#8221; target=”_blank”][img src=”http://momentsofwonderful.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/bbblogo-final-e1309479808835.png”%5D%5B/a%5D%5B/div%5D

It will look like this:

While I’m at it, let me also pass along congratulations to 2 special bloggers who were nominated and had memorable headlines of their own this month:
Thank you to all those who nominated posts this month and congratulations to those who were nominated!











There were so many fantastic blog posts to read this month. Hosting was a lot more difficult than I could have imagined. Remember: If you read something that moves you, leave a comment supporting the writer. And don’t forget to nominate it for Best of the ‘Betes Blogs!

You can nominate a post in three ways:

1. Send an e-mail to bestbetesblogs[at]gmail[dot]com. Be sure to include a link to the post you’re nominating.

2. Via Twitter, send a Direct Message to @bestbetesblogs. Be sure to include a link to the post you’re nominating.

3. Go old school and complete the online form located here. Be sure to include a link to the post you’re nominating.
Sara, I hope I got everything right this time.

Thanks for reading… enjoy your weekend!

Room full of icons.


I was fortunate enough to attend the Diabetes Advocates MasterLab in Orlando last week. I was there thanks to a scholarship provided by Diabetes Hands Foundation. My thanks to everyone who made this event possible, and made it possible for me to attend.
This is about the experience. Showing up at an event like MasterLab, taking place in the middle of the Children With Diabetes Friends For Life conference, means a lot of potential D-celebrity sightings. At the same time, I’m there for a reason, and it isn’t to be a fanboy (I really hate that term, but it’s quite descriptive in this case).

Knowing I was going to see some amazing writers and diabetes advocates that I had admired from afar but hadn’t met yet definitely had me pumped up as I made my way to Orlando. I can’t say I felt intimidated. I’ve been in rooms with important people plenty of times. I just try to be as nice, as polite, and as kind as I can, and you’re either going to talk to me or you’re not. No big deal. My worry is always that I’m going to meet someone who thinks I’m annoying, or that I’m keeping them from something they feel is really important. If I did that to you last Wednesday, I’m sorry. That was not my intent.

The real truth is that for me, attending MasterLab was an emotional experience. On a number of levels. Including and especially on the personal level. So please allow me a moment to get all fanboy link-a-palooza on you. I may not cover everyone I encountered here, but that doesn’t mean I don’t value you… it only means my memory sucks.
Before I came down to Orlando, I knew that Manny Hernandez was a big deal. It wasn’t until I actually met him that I realized the magnitude of his personality. We’ve got a good person helping to lead the charge.

I did meet two people I hadn’t heard of before Wednesday. These two people sat at my table. This is the only photo I got of any of the special people I met during MasterLab.

Mike Ratrie is a media publisher by trade. He’s also been a Type 1 for forty years or so. He’s smart and quick-witted and fun to talk to. During one of the breaks, we went across the hall and gave blood for celiac screening and other testing that the TrialNet folks were doing. Sia Figiel is originally from Samoa. She’s living with diabetes, and she’s lost over 100 pounds in the past year. Lately, she’s been participating in a CNN-sponsored project called Fit Nation. She’s one of six people chosen by Dr. Sanjay Gupta to train for a triathlon in September. Each participant is dealing with a serious health condition. Sia’s story is amazing, full of bravery and resilience. She sounds like she’s doing great. Here’s a video of her and the other Fit Nation participants from back in February (Sia appears near the end– sorry, I couldn’t get it without the ad at the beginning).

Christel Marchand Aprigliano reminds me of my mother-in-law (some fanboy comment, eh?). Really, I mean that in a good way. My mother-in-law was a good and kind soul who was always glad to see you, and always made you feel like the most important person in the room. Everything good about Tish is everything I learn from and admire about Christel.

Another writer I enjoy reading is Sue from Diabetes Ramblings, who’s living with Type 2. I was really happy to meet her since she was the one who wrote me nominating the daughter of a friend for one of our Champion Athlete With Diabetes medals. I don’t think I saw her not smiling whenever I saw her. Something like this has that kind of effect on you.

Another Type 2 present was Kate Cornell, from Sweet Success. As we speak, Kate is collaborating with Laddie Lindahl at Test, Guess, and Go on a series of Type 1/Type 2 conversations that are already leaving me on the edge of my seat. I think this event really got Kate’s advocacy mojo going. It will be interesting to see where it takes her.

When I was getting set up in the meeting space that day, I was looking for a wi-fi password so I could do some live tweeting from the event. The people at the next table appeared to have everything up and running, so I decided to ask one of them if they had a password. I tapped on the shoulder of the person with their back to me, and Meri Schumacher turned around. Umm…. Hello Icon. I don’t generally read blogs written by parents of children with diabetes, but Our Diabetic Life is something I read often. Simply put: Sometimes the written word moves you, even if you don’t have kids.

Speaking of awesome D-parents, Tim Brand came up and introduced himself, and unfortunately for me, I didn’t spend enough time talking to him. I always like to hear how people got to where they are at a gathering like this, and I would have liked to hear Tim’s story. Next time I hope. In the meantime, I’ll keep following his tweets and reading his excellent blog posts as he continues to advocate for the two of his four children who are living with diabetes.

When I found out Alanna Swartz was there, I knew I had another person to add to my must-meet list. Alanna is making a career out of outreach and advocacy for people like her and me by serving as outreach manager for JDRF Nova Scotia. Her blog is like many others… when you read her story, you sit up and say “me too!”. I look forward to reading about her for a long time to come.

It was a very nice surprise when I met Briley Boisvert. When I was her age, I thought I was so smart and creative. But Briley is so much smarter and more creative than I could have dreamed about then. I’m kinda jealous, to be honest. That phrase “I wish I knew then what I know now”? That’s what I think of when I read her blog.

And Jess from Me and D said hello! I think she’s got one of the biggest smiles I’ve seen in a long time. If you want to read what it’s like to really live on the diabetes front lines, you should visit her on the web. She tells it honest and with feeling.

Like everyone else, I enjoy reading Heather Gabel’s blog entitled Unexpected Blues. To my chagrin, I was only able to say a brief hello. Maybe my biggest regret of the day was not getting five minutes to sit down and listen to the voice that puts all those great words on my screen.

I was negligent last August when I attended the DSMA meetup in Philadelphia. I knew Sara Nicastro was in the room, but I didn’t say hello. I’m glad I was able to right the wrong this time. I’m also glad that Sara is so patient with me, because it seems like every time I’m involved in a project with her, I always screw up something. Hopefully, I’ll get the June Best ‘Betes Blogs post right the first time.

One of the people I really wanted to meet that day was Kim Vlasnik, writer of the first diabetes blog I found online. When I found it about three years ago, I was in a deep, very not happy place. It was really important for me to tell her how much it meant to me that I found her blog, what it touched off, and that who I am today is a direct result of finding her online back then. That was an emotional moment for me, though I think I hid it well. Oh, and later in the day, I was able to duck into the exhibit hall and see the You Can Do This Project booth. Another emotional moment for me. And I picked this up:
I ain’t takin’ it off either.
There were also many whom I had met before and were thrilled to see again in this space. People like Karen and Cherise and Kelly and Scott and Kerri and Christopher always light up every room that they enter.

What’s really nice (and yes, I get emotional about this) is the feeling of acceptance I felt that day. With acceptance, I don’t have to have my guard up all the time. I could physically feel the stress going away as the day went on.

So thanks for letting me get all this out. I’m lucky, and grateful that my D-associates are a brilliant, diverse, and accepting crowd. They make me want to be just like them.

Meeting Mike Hoskins.

I made my yearly trek to Cincinnati recently. I grew up in Cincinnati, and for the last four or five years, thanks to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, I’ve been making the trip at this time of year to celebrate that most Queen City of holidays, Opening Day.

One of the great benefits of the journey the last two years has been the opportunity to make a side trip to Indianapolis to meet diabetes friends. Last year, I got to meet Cherise Shockley in person for the first time. This year, I got to sit down for lunch with Mike Hoskins.


For those who don’t know yet, Mike is a writer for Diabetes Mine, and he also has a blog of his own, called The Diabetic’s Corner Booth. On top of that, he’s also one of our brave Champion Athletes with Diabetes medal winners.

For someone like me, who grew up in the midwest, having lunch with a guy like Mike Hoskins is like having lunch with one of my brothers. I’ve changed a lot in the last twenty years since I’ve moved to the east coast, but there’s still a lot of me in Mike’s mannerisms, and in the way he speaks.

I enjoyed hearing his stories, though in retrospect, I did pepper him with too many questions. We talked about his recent pump decision, telling our stories online, our spouses and parents, work and diabetes, and phones (I’m considering an upgrade and I need all the advice I can get). All in all, it was too short. Especially since I had trouble with a detour in the Indiana countryside and wound up getting there late.

In case you’re wondering, in person meetings with others who are living with or affected by diabetes are worth their weight in gold. I came away from a simple lunch chat with a great feeling that I can’t really explain. But it made the trip more than worthwhile. So if you know of someone near you or where you’re going, and you think it might be nice to meet that person, don’t wait to reach out. Make that connection. I promise you it’s worth it. That’s my Monday advice.

Mike, thanks for lunch! Hope all the days in Indiana this year are as sunny and warm as last Tuesday.

Happy Thanksgiving 2013.


It’s a tradition in our family that every year at this time (the Thanksgiving holiday here in the States), we pause and mention something meaningful in our lives that we are thankful for. We go around the table, and everyone, young or old, optimistic or pessimistic, offers a Thank You for something significant.

Today I offer a giant Thank You to the Diabetes Online Community.

If you knew me, really knew me, you’d know I’m a very jaded individual. I never expect things to be as good as advertised, because they never are. My experience tells me that.

I know the DOC is growing larger by the day, and that’s good. The more voices we can add to the discussion about living with this chronic condition, the better. I do not expect those voices to always sound the same, or be focused on the same thing. I realize that even in the pursuit of positive things we can all agree on, sometimes personalities will clash and feelings will get hurt. Since the community is growing larger, it seems more likely that we’ll encounter an opposite viewpoint from time to time, or even an outright troll now and then. After all, one percent of 100 is 1. One percent of 10,000 is 100.

But I also know what my life was like before I discovered this thing, whatever it is. I know how I felt. I know how alone I felt. Like the saying goes, loneliness is everything it’s cracked up to be. What’s weird from my viewpoint is: I’m usually okay with doing things on my own; but doing them with understanding and support and encouragement from others in the same boat? It’s a lot easier, and it’s worth more to me than I’m capable of describing right now.

I could list hundreds of individuals and organizations that have made such a difference for me over the last two plus years. I would, if I had another couple of weeks to list them all. The list is that long. On the other hand, I think I could list maybe… maybe… two who I am less than enthusiastic about. But even those two are important to me, because in the end, they want what I want too. And in nearly every critical comment, I see at least one small thing I need to examine with a fresh eye, consider with a different viewpoint.

So on this Thanksgiving 2013, to the Diabetes Online Community, let me say:

Thank You—Gracias—Merci—Arigato—Danke—Toda—Mahalo

The world, in fact, is big enough for all of us. Thank you, DOC, for making it big enough for me.

Like these links.

It’s been a long time since I’ve shared some terrific posts with you here. Too long.

If you haven’t read these already, let me offer these superb examples of writing for you to enjoy today:

Heather Gabel at Unexpected Blues has a thought-provoking post about anticipation and what it’s like to wait a long time for something, and the feeling you get once the waiting is over:
(By the way, she was fantastic on the DSMA Live podcast last week)
You may have already seen this post, from Kerri Sparling at Six Until Me that talks about the relentlessness of diabetes, and the depression that sometimes comes with it. And also overcoming that. It’s well worth your time:
Are you a fan of the A-Team? (it’s okay… you can admit it)… Bennet at Your Diabetes May Vary, who’s been at the forefront of the #stripsafely campaign, talks about how the initiative is starting to come together. Check it out:
Finally, here’s a great, poignant story about a New Yorker’s 9/11 this year. Alecia at SurfaceFine has a message for all of us:
But wait… that’s not all! For a limited time only you can put your money where your mouth is by supporting two awesome riders and bloggers participating in the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes in Nashville, coming up this Saturday. Support is the fuel that runs this Diabetes Online Community, and your support of these riders just might bring us even closer to a cure:

Click here to support Victoria Cumbow

Click here to support Jeff Mather
Happy reading… Enjoy your Wednesday!

%d bloggers like this: