Tag Archives: writing

8 Things: Why I still love to write.

Happy to say I’m on vacation for about the next ten days. I don’t know how much new stuff you’ll see here, but look for me on social media next weekend when #AADE18 comes to my city. I should have a lot to talk about then. In the meantime…

I’ve heard some talk recently about how blogging is falling out of favor these days, and how diabetes blogging in particular may have already seen its heyday.

I don’t know if that’s true. I’m always the last to know things anyway, and while you probably aren’t reading as many diabetes blogs as you once were, there are still reasons for it to continue.

So while I have a moment, here are 8 reasons why I am still proud to say that I’m a diabetes blogger:

1. I believe in telling my story. Oh sure, you can get that “me too” moment from someone’s tweet or Facebook GIF, but a meme doesn’t quite tell the entire story, even if it gets a lot of notice in the moment.

How could I tell about nearly dying on the operating table last year in 280 characters or less? What about my trip to Europe and the diabetes management required to make it happen? Those are things that require more elaboration.

2. I believe in sharing information. Whether talking about a workshop or conference I’ve attended, or letting you know about a chance for you to attend an upcoming workshop or conference, I still feel a responsibility to share what I learn.

The informational posts I publish, like this week’s information on DPPs, DSMEs, and DSMPs, are the ones I really hope you’ll read. Knowledge is still power, and that’s why it’s important for all of us to stay informed. I like trying to help with that.

3. I don’t really care if you’re still reading or not. There, I said it. It’s not that I’m not grateful you’re reading; in fact, I’m exceptionally grateful you’re reading. But if I let page views dictate what I talked about, I probably would have become a basket case long ago. And my page views probably wouldn’t be much different than they are today.

This is one that’s hard to understand unless you’ve accrued a certain amount of mileage in life. But I can tell you that producing something meaningful, whether it’s meaningful to me or to you, is enough for me.

4. I don’t know how long it will last. I’ve often said that I can’t keep writing here forever. I won’t… believe that.

But I don’t know yet when the end will come. I know when it does, I will miss it terribly. So I look forward to continuing to write as long as I can.

5. Despite that, I don’t fear change. It’s true that the only constant in our lives is change. However my online advocacy changes in the coming years, it’s okay as long as it’s productive.

And I like to think that once I’m no longer blogging, it will be because there are many other worthy writers to take my place.

6. More than ever, patients deserve a voice. This should really be at the top of the list.

Patients are getting more of a voice, that’s for sure. But there are so many individuals, be they patients themselves, healthcare professionals, or the general public who still haven’t heard our stories. They don’t know anything about the power of the patient voice. Here’s hoping we can continue to show them what it’s all about.

7. There’s always another story waiting to be told. I don’t know what the story is, or where I’ll find it. But the thrill of finding that story and delivering on the promise of sharing it inspires me every day.

8. It makes me feel good. And connected. And useful. Every time I click “Publish”, I get a dopamine rush to beat the band. It’s good for my mental well-being, on top of all of the other good (I hope) it does. Even when I’m on vacation.
 
 
Here’s something that’s true for everyone writing a blog, regardless of the subject matter: Being free to express our thoughts, share information, and connect with others gives us a sense of purpose, and a sense of belonging. There are many reasons to say goodbye to blogging… but at least 8 that leave me feeling happy about continuing. For now. 😉

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And Diabetes Blog Week Begins. Today: Message Monday.

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Welcome to Diabetes Blog Week! Diabetes Blog Week is just like it sounds… diabetes bloggers all blogging on daily topics for an entire week. Or, in this year’s case, for five days. To find out all about Diabetes Blog Week and to sign up,
CLICK HERE.

As always, thank you to Karen Graffeo, creator and curator of Diabetes Blog Week. She’s awesome.

Welcome to Diabetes Blog Week 2016. I’m glad you could join us. We begin this year with: Message Monday.
 
 
Let’s kick off the week by talking about why we are here, in the diabetes blog space. What is the most important diabetes awareness message to you? Why is that message important for you, and what are you trying to accomplish by sharing it on your blog? (Thank you, Heather Gabel, for this topic suggestion)
 
 
When I think of diabetes awareness, I’m actually thinking about making people aware of diabetes. Our condition is easy to not notice when people are not confronted with it. So it’s important for me to make sure people are aware of the fact that yes, it’s likely they know someone living with diabetes. In fact, diabetes is probably much closer to them than they might think.

But it’s more than that. Diabetes awareness also means giving people a window to my life with diabetes. And some insight into what other People With Diabetes go through every day. That’s important, because the more people know, the more they’re going to care about people living with diabetes. I want them to care.

It’s also making people aware of the things that really matter to People With Diabetes. Things like access to the proper care, drugs, devices, and support that will help them live a happy life for many years into the future. And it means making them aware that even if diabetes isn’t a part of their lives, chronic illness, to borrow a quote out of the republican playbook, is under attack in America. The more they know about that, the more they’re going to care too.

Finally, I want them to know that I can be a success with diabetes in my life. It’s not always easy. In fact, it’s never easy. But I can live the same kind of life, dreaming many of the same dreams that people not living with diabetes dream, while actually making some of those dreams come true. I want people to be aware that I’m not an anomoly… I’m just like they are, only I have diabetes as a permanent part of my life.

When I started this blog, I wanted to tell my story. I wanted to leave something behind that relatives and future relatives could read and learn from. And I wanted to have fun doing it.

I don’t know when my message morphed from that to the one described above it. But it happened. And just like everything else in my life, my message has changed over the years. Hopefully, whatever it is, my message will resonate and be helpful long after my blogging days are done.
 

#DBlogWeek Day 6: Favorites and Motivation.

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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.
 
 
Welcome to the weekend. It’s a lovely Day 6 of Diabetes Blog Week, and it’s Preakness Day in Baltimore. Those two don’t have any correlation other than the date, but I live about ten minutes from Pimlico, so I just thought I’d throw it in.

Our topic today: Favorites and Motivation.

If you have been blogging for a while, what is your favorite sentence or blogpost that you have ever written? Is it diabetes related or just life related? If you are a new blogger and don’t have a favorite yet, tell us what motivated you to start sharing your story by writing a blog? (Thank you Laddie of Test Guess and Go for suggesting this topic.)
 
 
To be honest, I’m looking forward to reading my fellow blogger’s thoughts on this subject more than I’m looking forward to writing about myself. Or my writing. But, I’ll try to give you a few favorites of mine over the past three years.

The blog post that seemed to resonate the most with readers was something I wrote on #DBlogCheck Day 2013. In that post, I wrote about how important it is to add your voice to the ever-growing Diabetes Community. Nearly two years later, this still remains the most read thing I’ve ever written. I love supporting people. There’s nothing that I stand to gain as a blogger that I wouldn’t give to another writer when they really need it. This post was a way for me to say this community is big enough for all of us. Let’s all help more people get the love, support, and acceptance we’ve all experienced. I think the way I wrapped up that post said it all:

Your story is the most important one in the world to the person moved by it. Don’t let down the one person who needs to hear you.”
 
 
Personally, the one thing I wrote that means a lot to me was about Interoperability Awareness. I wrote it in anticipation of speaking during the comments portion of a public workshop at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. When I did get up and speak, I delivered this text almost verbatim. It was the first time I felt like I had learned something from my fellow Diabetes Advocates and put it to good use. I was grateful, humbled, and swept up in a wave of emotion all at the same time.

“To talk about the proprietary nature of software that a company has developed just doesn’t hold water anymore. The software that comes with your device doesn’t have a separate line item on the invoice. It’s baked into the price. Protecting “intellectual property rights”, in this case, is a 20th Century complaint for a 21st Century world. And it’s an 18th Century argument when it comes to what is best for the patient. I’ve said it before, and I mean it: Patient trumps Proprietary.”
 
 
Finally, a phrase. It’s become kind of a mantra around here. I want you to know that it’s not a throwaway line… I really mean this with all my heart. I first wrote it in a letter to myself five years earlier (you have to read it to understand what that means). I wanted myself to understand then, and I want others to understand now, that there are not limits on my support of your hopes and dreams. I will leave this with you now. And please, feel free to steal it and use it yourself.

I support you… no conditions.

Happy Saturday!
 
 
 

Book Review.

I guess there really is a first time for everything, so here it is… my first book review. This book has already been written about in multiple places. Here is my take.

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When I attended the JDRF summit in Bethesda, Maryland a couple weeks back, I picked up Amy Ryan’s book Shot: Staying Alive with Diabetes.

Amy is a lawyer by trade, practicing in Washington, D.C. (why do they say practicing? Seems to me she’s working), specializing in the commercialization of new medical technologies. She was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 29.

The book details her diagnosis, getting through law school, carrying her daughter through to full term delivery, surviving a pretty serious infection, and everything in between.

A lot of Type 1s will identify right away with Amy’s descriptions of high and low BGs, MDI versus pump decisions, and the general idea of living a meaningful life with diabetes. Especially if you’re a woman living with Type 1. That’s not a knock; it’s the truth. Amy is a woman, and she brings a perspective to the story that the fellas can’t.

But I think the most value in this book is in Amy’s clear descriptions of things like hypoglycemia, diabetes burnout, how an insulin pump works, and more. For this reason, I think it’s a terrific book for a parent, a spouse, or a co-worker of a Person With Diabetes. She explains things in terms that someone not living with diabetes can understand.

So while I can endorse the book for PWDs, I can most definitely endorse the book for any non-PWD who wants to understand us better. I’m making The Great Spousal Unit and The Live-In Niece read this book. Then I think we’ll talk about it a bit. Maybe have a question and answer session.

More information on Shot: Staying Alive with Diabetes, including an excerpt from the book and information on where to purchase, is available at http://www.amyryanshot.com/.

Disclosure: I bought the book, I read it, and now I’m writing about it. Nothing deeper than that.
 
 
 

100 Blog Posts! Meh… Big Deal.

I mean, who cares, really? Compared to all of the advertising copy I wrote many years ago, and compared to the pages and pages of technical documentation I’ve churned out over the last 16 years, one hundred blog posts is nothing. Compared to other D-bloggers, the heroes I read every day, who have written thousands of posts and who are way better than I am, one hundred is nothing.

Spoiler alert: I need to get some thoughts out of my head here. I won’t think less of you if you don’t read any further.

To be honest (with both the reader and myself), I have to look at the big picture here. When I started writing this blog, I had the fever: I was stoked about everything DOC-related. I probably went a little overboard. Or a lot. Lately, I’m not enthused about every last thing I read, every experience I see depicted in writing, photos, podcasts, and video. Sometimes, I’m less than enthused. What does that mean from a big picture point of view? It means that neither extreme is the norm. I suspect I’ll move a little more toward the center of the spectrum again soon.

How about the writing? There have been some good posts, and some not so good. Strangely, some of the things I’ve written that were well thought out, carefully worded, about timely subjects, were among my least viewed posts. Some other things (recipes, for example) have generated more views, likes, and comments than they probably deserved (three likes for fish tacos?). Maybe I should change this to a cooking blog. Maybe. But that’s not where my passion is right now. Big picture? I need to be thoughtful and measured, and always try to improve.

At the outset, I had three goals:

1. Don’t expect to be read. Don’t expect to get comments. I’m doing this to keep a written record of my life, not to be a web star. Stay humble. Rinse. Repeat.

How am I doing? No problem. I’ve gotten what seem to me like a lot of views, but not very many comments (note: I wrote this before yesterday, where I got the most comments I’ve ever gotten in a single day. Thanks!). I enjoy keeping a written record of my life with diabetes, and I think about that often when writing.

2. Where I can, be an advocate for others. Not a necessity as a blogger, but I need to remember that it’s not always about me. And there are always people who need help more than I do.

How am I doing? I’m trying to remember that I’m very, very lucky, and I’m trying to keep my fellow PWDs in my thoughts all the time. I’ve also been looking for opportunities to advocate where possible, and to that end, I have this to show you:

Gotta admit… I’m kinda jazzed up about this. I may not get to mentor someone for a while yet (unless you count the time I spent on the phone Sunday night with my sister-in-law… newly diagnosed with Type 2). But I’m glad that I’m at least on the road toward doing something positive.

Aaaand, 3. Enjoy

How am I doing? I had forgotten how much I like to write. To be honest, there were 14 Like These Links posts, so you could say that this is only my 86th post. But who’s counting? Anyway, I’m definitely enjoying the process, whatever it is. Or however it’s counted.

There’s still more story to be told, I think. I’m still finding my voice. It must be around here somewhere. Maybe the next hundred posts should be focused on that.
 
 
 

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