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The Global Hug
Lest that sound a bit odd: none of us want to have diabetes, and none of us want anyone else to have diabetes. But given that we do, and that they do or that people we love have diabetes it makes sense that at least some of us should seek each other out to compare notes, find competent healthcare professionals and effective treatment options, and support each other in our quest to survive, if not thrive, despite (or perhaps because of) the diagnosis.
While to the outside, the "Diabetes Online Community" or DOC insomuch as they are aware of it, of us, as such is some monolithic mass of diabetics b****ing and moaning about something we may (or more likely, have not) have brought upon ourselves, those of us inside the bubble see a not-quite-amorphous mass consisting of a number of key websites and semi-gated communities (you can see much of what's been said, but you need to register to speak), a networked mosaic of people-with-diabetes Facebooking, Tweeting, LiveJournaling, and independently blogging, and a number of scheduled and unscheduled, online and offline, group activities.
Whatever your type of diabetes, whatever your interest, there is a group of online PWD to share it with. There's Children With Diabetes for parents, Juvenation for people with type 1 diabetes, Diabetes Sisters for women and Diabetic Rockstar for those who want to take control while giving diabetes the (middle) finger; there are Diabetes Daily, TuDiabetes, dLife, and the various ADA forums for everybody.
Like the Internet, the DOC is global in scope.There are communities and groups of PWD in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and those are just the major English-speaking countries, whose large populations and pervasive communications technology allow the development of national non-governmental organizations and roughly-national groups of e-patients and patient-activists. Some of us monitor some of the activities of other countries' online diabetes communities and share across to others. There is also the International Diabetes Foundation, which tweets and retweets World Diabetes Day activities.
Is it any wonder that, when one of us is running higher or lower than desired, when we feel frustrated by our diabetes care, that we run to our online communities? Is it any wonder that we have developed a network of online friends many of whom just so happen to have diabetes to whom we turn when we have something grand, or something terrible, to share? And is it any wonder that we sit, anxious at the keyboards, waiting for word of someone who has been having either diabetes or "real-life" issues to post that all is well (or if not, what help is needed)?
We are here for each other, many electronic ears and hearts, hugging each other, across the world.
For that, we are blessed.
This post is part of the Diabetes Blessings Week online activity.
Michelle Kowalski, a writer, editor and photography hobbiest living in Phoenix, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in February 2005. In January 2008, as part of her quest to start on an insulin pump, Michelle learned that she actually has type 1 diabetes. (Read More)
Nicole Purcell lists having type 1 diabetes last when she's asked to provide information about herself - because that's where it belongs. (Read More)