Diagnosis with an invisible disease like diabetes can leave one feeling isolated and alone. No one can see the problem so its hard for non diabetics to sympathize, leaving a feeling that the battle is being fought alone. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
I was a victim of this lonely feeling for the first 2 years as a person with diabetes. I refused to identify with my new life battling a chronic condition everyday. I bottled up my feelings and frustrations and became complacent with my diabetes treatment. I didn’t know another soul with type 1 to talk to or connect with, I truly felt like a 1 man army in this fight.
After an Endo visit and an A1C reading of 7.6 I decided it was time to suck it up and buckle down on my health. I took to the web in search of guidance and discovered the massively supportive online diabetes community. Sites like Beyond Type 1 and Diabetes Mine were loaded with content geared to help type 1’s face their daily challenge. Type 1 Day 1, a short documentary about type 1 diagnosis brought tears to my eyes. As I watched other diabadasses face the same daily struggles I was going through the weight on my heart began to lift. I began to feel stronger knowing I had an army of fellow PWDs (Persons With Diabetes) at my side ready to help me overcome every challenge ahead.
With new found confidence and pride for being a part of the coolest, most exclusive club there is, I dusted off my Twitter account in search of more support and connection with the diabetes community. A few diabetes tweets later and I was overwhelmed at how willing other PWDs were to take time from their day to help me through my issues. This selflessness inspired me so much I decided I wanted to return the favor and help other type 1’s live an inspired, healthy life. And so Travelbetic was born.
Through this site and the connections it has afforded me with other PWDs I have turned around my health and outlook on life with diabetes. I wake up everyday and am blown away and inspired by all the diabadassery in the world. I am encouraged to live every day to the fullest both for myself and my new diabuddies online.
Opening up and accepting this life and taking part in the online diabetes community has awarded me some connections all over the world who I now call friends. (Shouts: Jeremy Larsen, Loui Holmes, Ashika Parsad, Andrea Arledge & Elisabeth). These wonderful souls inspire PWDs to not let type 1 get in the way and to live an adventurous, fulfilling life. (Check out their blogs by clicking on their names!)
The internet is filled with awesome PWDs working hard to inspire and uplift fellow type 1s. Kelly Kunik at diabetesaliciousness.blogspot.com is the master mind behind the hashtag campaign #IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes which inspired this post. Yesterday, April 20th, was I Wish People Knew That Diabetes Day. Thousands of PWDs took to social media letting the world know what they wish everyone understood about diabetes. As of this morning the hashtag received 15,325,522 Twitter impressions! Way to go Kelly!
Check out the #IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes site for year round diabetes awareness! iwishpeopleknewthatdiabetes.org
Here are a few of my favorite tweets from the campaign:
#IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes has changed my life in so many ways. Yes some changes have been negative but I truly don’t know where I would be without diabetes. I am much more in tune with my body and health, I appreciate every moment of everyday to its fullest and I now have a sense of purpose, to live this life as inspired as possible so that I may inspire others.
I owe much to the online diabetes community. Before I discovered the support that is out there I struggled immensely with identifying as a PWD which made managing my blood sugars even more difficult. If you are finding diabetic life difficult or just facing a tough day I highly encourage you to get online and get involved in this wonderful community. You are not alone in this fight!
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