Living with diabetes can be tough, it can be confusing, and it can sometimes be lonely. But what I now tell people is that you don’t have to do this alone. We are a big group of people living with diabetes and if you’re interested and willing to put yourself out there, you can find your diabetes tribe, just like I did.
I’ve been living with type 1 diabetes since 1997, and for the first 15 years of my life with diabetes, I thought I had to deal with it alone. I didn’t hide it and I wasn’t embarrassed by my diagnosis, despite people’s misconceptions, but I was private about it.
I didn’t realize how much being part of the diabetes community could benefit me or how much I had to offer others living with diabetes.
Growing a movement
Everything changed in 2014 when I started training for a fitness competition. As my workout regimen intensified, I found it increasingly difficult to manage my blood sugars and all the medical guidance I had was “eat 15 grams of carbs before exercise,” which wasn’t very helpful.
So I started documenting my workouts, my food, my insulin, and everything else I found relevant and quickly saw patterns for how my blood sugar reacted to different types of exercise.
I began to blog about my findings online and quickly realized many others were looking for information on exercise and diabetes in the format I was providing. My blog quickly grew into something much larger and today I run one of the largest private diabetes websites, DiabetesStrong.com.
Not only did my passion for fitness and diabetes lead me to a new career, it also led me to the online diabetes community. As I connected with more people online, I realized how powerful it can be to connect with others who “get it.” People who understand my frustration when my blood sugars aren’t playing nice or my joy when I reach a diabetes goal.
The online community can be a place where you find support and friends from around the world. All you have to do is go online and look for us.
My favorite social media platforms are Facebook and Instagram, but there’s also a strong community on Twitter. Just go on any of those platforms, type in #diabetes, and I promise you, a whole new world will open up.