Yesterday was my inaugural #dsma, or diabetes social media advocacy, Twitter chat. Beforehand I was both nervous and excited all at once, but hey, this was like the diabetes version of the stereotypical prom night, so what else do you expect?
I have randomly favorited #dsma tweets over the years and probably interjected myself into a few conversations, but I have never sat down to fully participate in the process. I did not really know how to begin, or what to do. Thankfully, other diabetic online community members pointed me in the right direction and offered me the invite to sit at the #dsma lunch table with the seniors on the football team and the diabetes advocacy cheerleading squad (all of you). For starters, everyone was super welcoming. In my less-than-two-weeks of blogging and online posting in a diabetes capacity, I must say that I am thoroughly impressed with everyone’s writing talent, passion for advocacy, knowledge of this selfish jerk of a disease, and overall support for one another as we all fight the same battle from various battlefields sprinkled all over the globe. It is empowering to know that people out there “get it,” and to see this come to life online every day. I know that there has been some talk of exclusivity in the diabetes online arena, and I am too new to the game to really have a firm understanding of all of the many players and puzzle pieces involved. But from my own perspective I have observed that everyone helps in his or her own way. That is life, and that is important.
Maybe a single mother working fulltime to support a diabetic child only has time to blog once a month, but her blog touches another parent of a type one diabetic who faces similar hurdles each day; Super Mom has done her job well, if that is the case. Others may have more time, financial resources, energy, et al. to invest in diabetes social media advocacy, and that is fine, too. We have all filled the shoes that we needed to fill simply by typing these posts on our respective laptops, IPhones, etc. from time to time. A lot of us still have room to grow into our figurative footwear, but the good news is that there are always chances to move on to bigger and better shoes.
For the hour that I participated in the #dsma chat, I was surrounded by others who “got it,” too. I did not have to censor myself for fear of boring to death someone who did not care about diabetes. We all care about diabetes to the point where we are not going to sit back and let it smack us into unrecognizable versions of ourselves. We may show up to work or school each morning with bumps and bruises from iffy pump site changes or injections gone awry, but our spirit is still there, even on the rough days. Diabetics are relentless. We all have our days where we feel down and defeated, but we all rise each morning to face a disease that never rests. I am convinced that diabetes’ blood is straight up Five Hour Energy drink mix.
We are the real life “Diabetic Davids” going against a Goliath of epic proportions, and he is always waiting to beat us up after school. But this time we have come equipped with an army of Diabetic Davids who are not willing to give up. We have discussed our tactics, polished off our technological diabetes weaponry, and run onto the field a la Braveheart- except we have used our words and have held hands virtually in an organized chat called #dsma, and we still have a lot of fight left in us.
Thank you for inspiring me with your willingness to go into battle every day and for not being afraid to take the dorky freshman of the diabetic online community campus under your wings. For this, I am eternally grateful.