In my professional life a community of colleagues sustain me and help me grow as a teacher. In my personal life, my friends sustain me, but none offer me the unique perspective or growth opportunities to learn about living with my chronic disease. I have plenty of friends and colleagues, but I have also been slowing growing my DLN, a diabetic learning network. That network isn't too large. I like to dip my feet in slowly. For example, I started this blog over 13 months ago, but it wasn't until the 12th month that I actually started writing regularly. Likewise, I researched my Honda Fit purchase for four years until I actually took the plunge. I am a late adopter. Although my initial diagnosis, LADA, was almost four years ago, I never actually met another type 1 diabetic until this past January, actually 2, my new PA, and one of my college students. Still these relationships aren't personal, they are professional. I haven't been actively seeking anyone as a "friend." Though it has been refreshing to talk to people on a professional level who get it, I haven't found anyone on a personal face-to-face level who does. Instead what I have discovered is a DLN, a diabetic learning network via Twitter and Blogging. Both give me enough distance and connectivity to dip my feet in slowly and make "friends."
My favorite space for discovering new friends is on Twitter. Twitter is actually how I discovered more of my kind. I have been actively tweeting for about a year now even though I have been on Twitter for about 3 years. (Remember late adopter here!) Twitter has helped me follow my professional rock stars---Kelly Gallagher, Jeff Anderson, Lee Ann Spillane, Diave Ravitch, Susan O'Hanian, and Stephen Krashen to name a few. In the last few months, I have discovered friends and started building my DLN, new friends. The first friend that I made is @ConnectinMotion. Although CIM is located in Canada, I always look forward to the #MondayinMotion question that is posted. I participate knowing that my experiences as an athlete, coach, and now diabetic are valuable as well as the responses that others post are. CIM also helped me find a Chat devoted diabetes. These spaces are my "best friends." I have been lurking on the Diabetes Social Media Advocacy Chat on Wednesday nights at 9 pm for the past two months. I think that I may have actually tweeted last week. If you don't use Twitter, I suggest that you check it out as a potential friend. Twitter led me to this Diabetes Blog Week Challenge. I just finished a month-long Slice of Life Story Challenge which was hosted by Two Writing Teachers and just completed a 10-Day Slice of Life Story Challenge with my students so I knew that I could manage a week of a topic focused writing.
One of the blogs or new friends is Celine the blogger who writes Running on Carbs. I love her focus. Sometimes my endo looks at me strange when I tell him about how my sugars go crazy high when I play ulty. It is great to find other diabetic athletes on the web. Their story and struggles make me strong. It reminds me of the importance of athletics in my life, but also that the constancy of my disease and its effects are manageable. Another d-blog friend that I have discovered today is smartDpants. I was drawn to the title and the contents of her blog kept me there. The pictures of juice boxes placed strategically in the car made me laugh, not a mom thing, but a d-thing. By participating in Diabetes Blog Week, I hope to find more of my kind so that I can live, laugh, and learn, not just professionally or personally, but diabetically.