Thursday, March 14, 2013
Thankful Thursday or my December DSMA Blog Post in March
My diabetic support community grew from none to one on January 6, 2012 to be exact, I started working with a PA at my endocrinologist's practice to work on tightening up my glucose controls. At first I met with him every six weeks, finally tapering off this September to every three months. At every meeting, I learned something new. At our initial meeting, he discovered that my pump was set wrong, correcting a three-year mistake. As a T1 and a tri-athlete, he brought change to my life like no one else could. At each visit, he spent 90 minutes talking with me and empowering me to make decisions about my treatment.
He taught me that treating a chronic disease is listening to yourself. The world moves swiftly often distracting one from the most important components of self-care. Most people have the luxury of not listening. Others don't. He taught me small bits such as telling loved one's it is not okay to ask me what my blood sugar is at every meal (Note to readers: even from a place of love, it feels like policing) to helping me navigate the harder bits such as helping me face the fact that it's not right to work so much. His questions made me reconsider my work of teaching and take action to change it. As he helped me negotiate the non-stop demands of managing this disease, he literally helped me reshape my life. He was the first person to coach me with an understanding of the challenges of this disease since he had not only a professional interest, but a personal interest as well. His work mattered to not only his patient, but himself.
Later in June, I started becoming literally reshaped by my work in my new-found exercise community, Camp Gladiator. Joining Camp Gladiator (CG) was another step in my treatment. It has not only has helped me physically transform, but brought me to a greater uplifting community. Most contenders don't know about my disease, but we bond over our common desire to get stronger physically "for a reason." We high five each other, push each other, but most importantly laugh with each other. Led by our trainer Doug Reeder and his assistants Alex Van Le and Chris "Chyeah" Gardner, time literally races by in our shared quest to build core strength, stamina, and speed. It literally took me 6 weeks to physically master a burpee. By November, I was doing spontaneous burpees at Caesar's Palace and the Bellagio, just for the fun of it. The CG community though keeps me going, not my amazing mastery of skills the Johnnie Cs and Turkish Get Ups although I can really do a mean one-legged burpee these days if called upon.
The power of community has also defined my diabetic life by my discovery of a virtual community. When I was first diagnosed in 2008, I searched the web for information about latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) and found little information. I developed the courage to finally write about my disease in March 2011 by creating my blog, but did little writing until the Slice of Life Challenge in March 2012. During my slice writing I inadvertently tapped into the dsma by clicking on links that Google Blogger thought matched mine. I followed them and discovered the weekly chats such as the DSMA Wednesday nights at 9 with dweeps. I learned the relevent hashtags #dsma, #doc, #sweatbetes and #BigBlueTest. I expanded my community by participating in the Big Blue Test and wearing the Big Blue Tutu, ways to educate my face-to-face community as well as the participating Postcard Exchange a way to reach out to my virtual community.
The power of community, one-to-one, face-to-face, and keyboard-to keyboard, not only defined my diabetic year, but transformed my diabetic life for which I am immensely thankful.