I like to call the Diabetic Online Community the “Diabetic Tribe”, or #diatribe. I say this, because we’re much more than just a community, we – are – a – TRIBE. I once had the privilege of seeing Seth Godin speak, who is the author of a book called “Tribes”. A tribe is a group of people who want to be connected, and who want to share ideas. Tribes have become a powerful force of change in our world, thanks to the internet, as demonstrated by our own Diabetes Hands Foundation and their Big Blue Test last year. Our tribe connects people who might otherwise feel desperate and alone. It offers hope and support to those struggling to live with diabetes. It lets us know that others struggle just like we do. Our tribe, is international, and without boundaries. Our tribe brings about change, in a massive, and wonderful way. Everyone one of us, introduces friends to the tribe. Every one of us has participated in a “movement” to bring change, to bring hope, or to fight for a cure. Our tribe provides information and advice for our diabetes, and allows us to live healthier. And finally, our tribe fills a need that every human being has. To be missed. We all want to be missed, and when we are absent from the DOC, we are missed. One of my favorite quotes is from Seth Godin. It’s “Don’t strive to be heard. Strive to be missed when you’re not heard.”
I have been type 1 diabetic for 42 years. I have never had a close friend that’s type 1 diabetic. I never really felt the need to meet other diabetics. I’ve known a few type 1’s over the years, but just really didn’t connect with them about diabetes much. I’ve never been to a support group, never did a diabetes walk until a couple years ago. I’ve always been a rather solitary diabetic all my life. I was ok with that too. Thanks to the DOC though, now I have more diabetic friends than I can count. I only discovered the DOC about a year ago. I discovered it via Twitter, and when I first started trying to use Twitter, I absolutely hated it. I even quit for a few months. Then I tried it again, and when I discovered the DOC, I didn’t even know what it was. I had to ask someone what #doc means. I started to realize how the DOC communicates with hash tags (#), and slowly started to become more and more involved. Meeting new people all the time, making new friends constantly, started posting regular daily motivation and tips, started blogging for diabetes and health the way I used to blog for photography. People started asking me for advice. Telling me how much my words and advice helped them, or their diabetic children. The DOC filled a need I didn’t realize I had. Helping people. Teaching people. I’m 44 years old, and I’ve never really had that feeling of “I’m here for a reason”, . . . until now. I know why I’m here, and I know why my life spared in 2003 when my heart stopped. I have to help diabetics. There are many sleepless nights now, that I wouldn’t trade for the world, where I sit here blogging because I NEED to help someone, through my writing or my videos. If I’m helping just 1 person with diabetes, I’m making a change for the better in someone’s life. That’s why I’m here. That’s why I found our tribe.
Boy, that was deep wasn’t it? Whew. I hope I haven’t lost ya yet. So anyway, the DOC has helped me too. I’ve been a brittle diabetic all my life. I’ve been insanely lucky that so far I’ve only had 1 big complication after 42 years, which could be corrected. Well, since discovering the DOC, I’ve felt the need to improve my diabetes control if I’m going to be a diabetes advocate. In March of 2012, my hemoglobin A1C was 11.4. Yeah, I know. I said I was always brittle, right?! In October it was all the way down to 8.9, in just 6 months. I’m hoping for a score of 7.5 by next month. So that idiot Dr. that said the DOC doesn’t help with our diabetes, . . . IS WRONG. Being a member of the DOC, and an advocate for all of you, has improved my health more than I could have imagined. It’s also made me feel like I belong. It’s allowed me to make a difference in the lives of individuals, and to make a difference in a worldwide cause. It’s made me feel like I’m missed when I’m not there. It’s been great meeting you all, and I look forward to meeting even more in 2013.
Dr. Jason Bronner from UCSD Medical Center obviously has no concept of the power of our tribe. He’s quoted as saying in an NPR interview “There’s no proof in diabetes that social networking is helpful.” Don’t underestimate the power of the force Dr. Bronner. ———-> See Diabetes Advocates open letter to NPR regarding Dr. Bronner’s comments.
The universe really wanted me to write this tonight. It bombarded me with multiple inputs today, all having a similar ethereal thread. Since I like to refer to myself as a paleobetic cyborg pumper, I thought I’d leave you with a quote from my favorite android, that I heard tonight while listening to TV as I was writing this blog. It was a huge coincidence (or fate) that I played THAT particular episode tonight on Netflix.
“As I experience certain sensory input patterns, my mental pathways become accustomed to them. The inputs eventually are anticipated, and even missed when absent.” – Counselor Deanna Troi impersonating Lt . Commander Data.
********** Now ya know, and knowing is half the battle. Go Joe!!! **********
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