What community?

This is not a Wordless Wednesday post. If you are looking for a cute picture and a catchy saying you should probably go somewhere else today.

I wanted to tell you a story instead.

In June 2006, I started writing a blog. I had moved 3000 miles away from all of my family about 8 months before and it was annoying to tell the same story over and over.

On August 1st, George left a comment on a post I wrote that had nothing to do with diabetes (it was one of those “what celebrity do you look like result posts). And then Amy left a comment. They welcomed me to the “blogosphere”. I’m not sure if I knew what that meant back then, but I did notice that their names were links. And those links led to their blogs, which I started reading. I noticed that there were comments on their posts from people like Allison, Kerri, and Scott. So I started reading their blogs.

I’m not sure if there were things like google readers back then (I actually only started using a reader like 3 months ago) so I actually started bookmarking blogs and checking every blog every day to see if anyone wrote anything new. As the list grew it took more and more time to make it through all my bookmarks but I couldn’t stop. I found this community of people who were like me and understood me.

About a year after I started blogging I had to go to Minnesota for a conference for work, and I knew from his blog that Scott lived there. And so we met up. I noticed when I was reading George’s blog that he seemed to live near where my mom lives, so the month after I met Scott in person, I met George.

Almost exactly a year later, I attended my first Friends for Life conference and met Manny, Bennet, Kerri, and others.

I’m not sure when I became a “member” of the diabetes community. Was it when I started writing a blog? Was it when I started writing about diabetes? Was it when I attended my first diabetes meet-up? Was it my first diabetes conference that made me a member? There was never an engraved invitation or an official request so I am not sure when it happened. The only thing I know is that I am a member of the diabetes community.

Do I always get along with everyone? Not exactly.

There was that time that I opened a link to a blog I had never read before and saw one of MY pictures featured in the post. I was FIRED up! I didn’t even know this person – how DARE she use one of my pictures!!

I privately contacted someone who I trusted who explained the situation to both of us.

And the picture thief? I’d say we are pretty good friends now.

And then there was this time at Friends for Life this past year. People think I am really outgoing, and I am until the point that I get overwhelmed. That happened on one of the last nights of the conference when all the adults were going out to dinner. I just couldn’t handle being around everyone anymore.

I’m not sure why, but I texted Scott and asked him if he thought that a certain person would be willing to sit by me and “protect” me from the noise of the rest of the group – basically be my friend during dinner.

And that’s how we became friends.

Funny thing about these friends I’ve mentioned, we don’t always agree. I am pretty conservative in my beliefs and my politics. This means I hold some pretty unpopular opinions. Sometimes I don’t agree with something “big things” like campaigns or projects, sometimes I am not a fan of “small things” like a bad joke in a post or someone’s political opinions. Does that make them not a part of my community, or does it make me not a part of their community?

I hope not.

There is one thing that unites all the people in the diabetes online community. Like it or not we all have a relationship to diabetes. UNTIL THERE IS A CURE. We may not get along about all the details in between, but I bet I can safely assume we all want a cure. That should be our focus. And in that focus there is no room for name-calling, backstabbing, or so-called cliques.

We cannot bring awareness to diabetes and the need for a cure if we are not united. It’s not about a symbol, a foundation, a website, a conference, a summit, or anything else. If you have a connection to diabetes, you are and will always be part of the diabetes community. Your busted pancreas was your invitation and there is no need to RSVP.

Today is Diabetes Blog Day. The first time I posted on this day in 2006, I wrote that I “pray we don’t need to celebrate it too much longer.”

I still pray that I don’t celebrate this day next year. But if I do, I pray that I can celebrate it with the rest of the diabetes online community UNITED together to support each and every member until there is a cure.


    • Aren’t you glad I didn’t hate you forever though (or call you an idiot on facebook – ahem)? And that was kinda my point. You can judge someone and “flame” them online, or you can be “grown” and handle it like an adult.

      And you never know, you might even end up as bedmates friends!

  • I’m all for being united. 🙂
    I appreciate that you and I can look past some of those differences you mentioned and unite over diabetes, aunthood, and felines. Oh, and Criminal Minds, though to be honest, I haven’t caught it much this season.

  • I love this: If you have a connection to diabetes, you are and will always be part of the diabetes community. Your busted pancreas was your invitation and there is no need to RSVP. So true!

  • Great post, Sara! As someone who has “followed” in the footsteps of yourself and everyone else mentioned, I just want to say that having all of you already out there made it so much easier, for me at least, to be part of the DOC

  • Great Post, Sara! Here’s to our D-Community (while celebrating both our differences & our similarities) 🙂

    After all, what fun would life be if we were all clones… 😉

  • I love how I didn’t know you’d first consulted Scott before texting me until I read this post! Guess I must have been scary, huh? And I’m glad you asked. 🙂

    Great post, Sara. The DOC is a family, and everyone who wants to be can be a part of it. Thanks for reminding us of the importance of unity.

  • hey long hair of yesteryear! thanks for the peek into the past for some of us who haven’t been around as long. you can’t spell community without unity, and like you said, any group is bound to have different opinions about stuff. as long as we’re respectful to each other, that shouldn’t be an issue. 🙂

  • Love this post, Sara. I so appreciate the different perspectives we can share in this community, and how that diversity makes us even more awesome as we grow. Thanks for sharing this.

  • There are no thieves in the DOC. Creative borrowers… I concur with all you said. If Kim ever steals from me, I have embarrassing pictures and stories about her. She will go down!!!!

  • I love this…I’m a very new reader/blogger/diabetic, and have already found an incredible amount of support just in reading the blogs of the DOC – thanks for sharing!

  • Thank you for writing this. I’m only a year in, but I wish I had discovered the DOC earlier. The things this community has done for me cannot be measured. Well, technically they can by way of A1cs. But the support and family cannot be measured. I don’t know how I made it before you guys, and I would’ve given anything to have had this in college. And yes, our differences are what make us so fantastic and it’s how we learn from one another. Even from curmudgeon-y journalists. 😉

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