Last November during American Diabetes Month, I issued a challenge to you and anyone else out there to blog about diabetes each and every day of November. Those who completed the challenge are now on our blogroll, but I’ve got to tell you two things: 1. It wasn’t easy to blog about diabetes every day for a month and 2. It wasn’t originally my idea. I borrowed the idea from Karen Graffeo, the blogger over at Bitter-Sweet .
In May 2010 Karen had organized a Diabetes Blog Week where she proposed topics for each day of the week for any of the diabetes bloggers to use, meaning that there were multiple opinions, perspectives and experiences to read about a single topic each day. It was an impressive virtual event and since Karen is preparing for the second Diabetes Blog Week (next week!), I asked her to share a little about herself and what you can expect to see in the diabetes blogosphere next week.
I don’t think there is such a thing as an abbreviated diabetes story, but if you had to share yours, what would it be?
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1979, at age 11. Things were so different back then – sugar was taboo and I had to eat certain food exchanges at certain times, whether I was hungry or not. Instead of testing blood glucose with a meter, we tested my urine in a little test tube with fizzy tablets. It wasn’t easy, especially for a pre-teen girl who just wanted to fit in and be like everyone else. As a result, I spent high school, college and part of my adult life trying to hide my diabetes and ignoring it as much as I could. That changed in 2003 when, for the first time since diagnosis, I was hospitalized with ketoacidosis. I had just gotten engaged to my husband a month earlier and this was the wake-up call I needed to get things on track because I wanted us to have a long, healthy future together.
How has blogging had an impact on your diabetes? Or should I ask how has diabetes had an impact on your blogging?
I stumbled across the Diabetes Online Community (or D-OC) soon after I had decided to make a commitment to taking diabetes seriously. At that time I had a knitting blog , but soon I wanted to start a diabetes blog as well. Blogging has impacted my diabetes in a very positive way – I have met so many inspirational people and learned so much, and blogging has led me to manage my diabetes better than I ever have before. But diabetes had impacted my blogging in a less positive way – I spend so much time involved in the D-OC that my poor knitting blog is quite neglected! I say that jokingly though, because I’m happy to put my health before my hobby!
Last year was the first year of Diabetes Blog Week. I remember seeing topics like a day in the life with diabetes, carb or low-carb, exercise, and life after a cure has been found. Where did the idea for this blogging event come from?
Actually Diabetes Blog Week was inspired by an event in the fiber blog community called “Knit and Crochet Blog Week .” I participated in that and loved seeing how excited the knitting community was to join together and share our thoughts on a single topic each day for a week. I wished someone would do something like that for the D-OC – and then I decided that instead of wishing, maybe I should organize it myself.
And you did! I remember seeing blog posts coming in from all over the place. What were the results like? And did that surprise you?
To be honest, I almost talked myself out of Diabetes Blog Week because I was sure nobody would be interested in participating. My husband encouraged me to go ahead and try it – he said even if nobody signed up, at least I’d have a week’s worth of post topics ready for myself! To this day I really regret that I underestimated how enthusiastic and supportive the D-OC is! As soon as my post proposing Diabetes Blog Week went up, the responses started pouring in. In the end, 142 bloggers signed up, and to say that surprised me would be a huge understatement. I am so grateful to the D-OC for making Diabetes Blog Week a bigger success than I ever could have dreamed it would be!
Wow, 142 is an impressive number – and a very impressive amount of reading to keep up with! Can you tell us what you’ve got up your sleeve for this year?
This year will be very similar to last year, with a different topic to post about each day. There will also be two wild card topics that bloggers can use if a certain day’s topic doesn’t appeal to them. One of the wild card topics is quite lighthearted and I’m hoping it sparks some fun creativity! And one topic that will return from last year is “snapshots” so people can post a picture. It’s a different way to get your point across, and you can choose to add words or not. But honestly, I’m more looking forward to seeing what Diabetes Blog Week participants have up their sleeve for this year, because the best part of last year was seeing where the D-OC took Diabetes Blog Week!
If you could say one thing about diabetes, what would it be?
Diabetes is a tough disease that never gives you a day off, but finding a great support system such as the Diabetes Online Community can help make the load feel lighter.
I completely agree with that! A huge thanks to Karen for taking the time to share her thoughts about Diabetes Blog Week and what to expect this year. I’m looking forward to participating in this for the first time. Be sure to check out the topics , pick up a nifty blog button like the one on the right, and let Karen know you’re participating – if you’ve ever thought about blogging, this week would be a great time to start!