November: Diaversary and more

In recognition of November as Diabetes Awareness Month, Sue from Pennsylvania, Sue from New York and I have written blog posts for publication this week.  Sue from New York wrote about her appreciation for medical devices that keep her safe.  As the spouse of a man with Type 1, Sue from Pennsylvania wrote about the importance of diabetes Awareness in November.  Today I am writing about my November activities and my 37th Diaversary.


Laddie_Head SquareNovember is a busy month for the Diabetes Online Community (DOC).  November is Diabetes Awareness Month(DAM), American Diabetes Month, or National Diabetes Month depending on whom you’re talking to.  Regardless of the name, November is a month dedicated to increasing awareness of and advocacy for diabetes.  On top of that, November 14 is World Diabetes Day, a campaign developed by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and symbolized by the Blue Circle logo.

I have been impressed by the advocacy efforts of many of my fellow PWD (people with diabetes).  Christel at theperfectd has spent the month being a Diabetes Awareness Month guide (a DAM guide about damn diabetes!) and writing daily informational posts about diabetes.  Kerri at Six Until Me started the Diabetes Photo-a-Day project with a list of word cues for daily photos showing the life of someone with diabetes.  George at Ninjabetic has been writing a daily tribute to special people in his diabetes world.  Cherise from DCAF organized a 24-hour Twitter Chat on World Diabetes Day with a different host each hour.WDD Twitter Chat Cynthia at Diabetes Light has invited her readers to submit a quote and photo so that her blog can feature daily quotes by people with diabetes.  I was honored to be asked by Cynthia to participate in her project and my quote, photo, and definition of success are featured on her blog today.

I started the month with stress and guilt that I wasn’t doing enough for diabetes awareness and feeling left in the dust by my more ambitious fellow bloggers.  By the time I realized that I should have considered doing an “everyday” project, I was well into the month and excused myself with the excuse that it was too late for this year.  I do have a few ideas for next year.

But then I compared myself to where I was a year ago.  I started blogging in late May 2013 and along with my two co-bloggers, Sue from New York and Sue from Pennsylvania (actually three co-bloggers if you count Abby the Black Lab), have published at least two posts every week.  For the first time in my life, I wrote letters and sent Tweets to my elected representatives regarding the Strip Safely campaign.  For the second year I participated daily in the Big Blue TestBig Blue Test with TextI tweeted in the DCAF 24-hour WDD Twitter Chat.  Even though I do not own a glue gun, I participated in the World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange for the first time.WDD 2013 PostcardI know that I am not a DOC leader for November activities, but I have been an active participant and I give lots of kudos for everyone’s efforts in promoting diabetes awareness in November.

Abby Wearing Blue BowAbby the Black Lab was a diabetes advocate on World Diabetes Day.  She wore a bright blue bow tied to her collar for our trip to the dog park.  Interestingly enough, the first two people who asked about her bow had family members with diabetes but did not know about WDD.  She educated at least 10 people about the importance of National Diabetes Month and World Diabetes Day.

For better or worse, November has always been a special month in my diabetes life.  Today, November 15, is my Diaversary.  I was diagnosed with diabetes 37 years ago on November 15, 1976.  I didn’t know the exact date until a few years ago when I decided to register with the Joslin Medalist Program.  Luckily my local hospital was able to provide me with my medical records which were stored on microfiche.  I had many vague memories of my diagnosis and they were backed up by the hospital records.

November_DiaversarySo Happy Diaversary to me.  After 37 years of Type 1, I rejoice to be living a healthy life with no major complications of diabetes.  I rejoice that I am part of the DOC which provides me with daily friendship, support, and inspiration.  I thank every one of you for the fabulous things that you do to improve the lives of everyone with diabetes.  I am proud that my life has intersected with yours, although I wish that none of us had to deal with diabetes.  Every day I continue to learn and grow. I hope that I can continue to say that until I have earned my Joslin 50-year medal and maybe my 75-year medal.  To everyone in the DOC and to all of my family and friends, I hope that I have been able to give you at least a fraction of what you have given me.

National Diabetes Month and World Diabetes Day

LADDIE:  IN RECOGNITION OF NOVEMBER AS DIABETES AWARENESS MONTH, SUE FROM PENNSYLVANIA, Sue from New York, AND I HAVE WRITTEN BLOG POSTS WHICH WILL BE PUBLISHED THIS WEEK.  Yesterday SUE FROM NEW YORK wrote ABOUT HER APPRECIATION FOR MEDICAL DEVICES THAT HELP KEEP HER safe.  Today Sue from Pennsylvania writes about her journey learning about diabetes and why increased awareness about diabetes is important.


Sue B_Head SquareFourteen years ago when my husband was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, I had no clue exactly what that would mean for us. I was one of those people who thought that diabetes just meant no sugar. Quickly I learned that there is so much more to diabetes than removing sugar from your diet. The food that we loved to eat always included some type of pasta, rice or bread. Since I am the cook in our family (my husband’s culinary talents involve making either scrambled or over easy eggs), I had to become aware of the carbohydrate count of the meals that I was cooking.  I can truly say that I found this then, and even today, to be a task that I do out of necessity but with no enjoyment whatsoever. I love to cook and experiment with new recipes but it’s a lot harder to do when you have to be aware of the amount of carbs in every recipe.

An added challenge to my husband’s Type 1 diabetes is the fact that he has hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia unawareness.  It seems as if almost all of our friends with diabetes are either Type 2 or Prediabetic and they don’t have a clue as to how difficult it is to be a Type 1 diabetic.  They have no understanding of the daily fear and stress experienced by both my husband and me as a result of his hypoglycemia unawareness. None of them have ever seen someone go so low that he becomes unconscious. I had never seen this before either and I can truly say it is terrifying.  One of my first blog posts ever was about the frightening experience of my husband’s first severe hypoglycemic episode. The daily care of Type 1 diabetes is incredibly daunting with monitoring blood sugar either by fingerstick or CGM (if you’re lucky enough to be able to get your insurance to pay for it), watching what you eat, and just plain being aware of diabetes all of the time.

NovemberThe reason why National Diabetes Month and World Diabetes Day are so important to me is that any awareness that we can bring to this illness is a positive thing. Anytime we can tell our stories to educate those who are uneducated (as I was) is a positive thing. I continue to be in awe of those men, women and children who have to deal with this condition on a daily basis because I know how difficult it is. I have become aware and I’m hoping that by calling attention to diabetes during National Diabetes Month and World Diabetes Day, more people will become aware. That would be a good thing.