When I started looking for Internet resources shortly after diagnosis, I thought I was looking primarilly for information and guidance. But the resources that have meant the most to me are those that brought me a sense of community. I never would have guessed how much the diabetes online community (DOC) would come to mean to me.
Here are the four resources that have been most important to me:
- Diabetes Daily --There are a number of good diabetes communities on the Internet -- Diabetes Daily just happens to be the place I found a home. In the early days, I mostly read forum postings; later, I spent many (many!) hours in the chat room. I gained a lot of information about all types of diabetes and how folks go about dealing with them. I watched "live" as folks I cared about dealt with highs, lows, first injections, and even DKA. I got a lot of guidance from folks with more experience than I, and even (I hope!) managed to provide some guidance to the newly-diagnosed.
- Diabetes Power Show podcast -- This podcast is done by three main voices and a producer. The hosts include a T-1 Diabetes tech consultant, a T-1 nurse, and the nurse's husband (also a nurse). The producer, who founded the project, is a T-2 who started the program as a way to help motivate himself to make the changes he had to make. These folks are unfailingly positive, and just being able to listen to the voices helped me to feel less alone.
- Blogs -- I don't read as many blogs as I could get benefit from. But I've sure found some voices I love and appreciate, and a couple of people that I'd probably read regularly whatever they chose to blog about.
- Twitter -- I came to Twitter late and slowly. But I've really been wowed by all the smart, funny, caring folks I have the opportunity to follow. Twitter has come to replace, actually, most of the time I once spent in the chat room.
Like many people, I've rarely had as much sense of belonging to something important as I'd like. I've found that feeling of community in church organizations, but that's rarely felt like enough.
I sometimes feel, though, that as a meds-only T-2, my "membership" in the community is a little bit provisional or something. Never once has anybody said anything to cause me to feel less than completely welcome. Rather, I have an awareness that there are many experiences shared by most of the DOC that I've never experienced, things that form the fabric of daily diabetic life for so many of my friends. But everyone has been unfailingly kind and supportive, even when most of my own tweets are random wisecracks.
Thank you all. Thank you so very much.