Last week I told my husband I wouldn’t be home until later (and to fend for himself for dinner), because I was going to a diabetes networking event. He asked if I wanted him to go with me, concerned that I wouldn’t know anyone there, and I laughed out loud and said, “I am SURE I will know many people there.”
Without even looking at the RSVP list on the Facebook invite for the event, I knew right away that the small world of Type 1 diabetics in the state of Massachusetts would all follow the bread crumbs (take a bolus) and end up at the same place. Of course I was right.
The event I attended was for Glu (get it; diabetes, glucose, stick together…) a new diabetes social-networking website launch. It’s sort of the Facebook for Type 1 diabetics, only it’s more souped up and tailored for the individual person with diabetes. It’s a neat idea, that is hitting the ground running, and I think it will slide to the top of the list for the diabetes online community (DOC) resources.
I do just want to add a quick note for any person living with any type of diabetes who looks to ANY online media source for medical information; PLEASE keep in mind that unless you are hearing it straight from your physicians mouth, don’t try anything drastic with your diabetes. What one may perceive as ‘drastic’ is different for everyone. Instead, use these online resources as either inspiration or a good lesson to be learned, depending on the topic or advice given. I always like to try to blog responsibility and I feel my other DOC members do as well, at least by adding a medical disclaimer. As a patient we can look on Facebook, WebMD, or any particular diabetes or non-diabetes related forum for medical advice. I just wanted to give a friendly reminder, especially if you are a teenager in the throes of taking over your own diabetes control from all the adults around you, please read responsibly.
Glu is a really neat resource, and had a very clear disclaimer right at the bottom of their web page alerting any users to not mistake their information for medical advice. While all of us here on the DOC try to cover our bases, it is really still up to the readers and the patients themselves to decipher the information and determine if it is something they want to bring up at their next doctor appointment, or if they have lived with diabetes for decades and feel comfortable taking matters into their own hands (again, with caution). The outlet that we have at our fingertips everyday, the Internet, can fill us with very useful information and also second-hand information.
Remember that game telephone you used to play as a kid? Just remember that by the time medical information get’s passed down from a clinician, to a patient or even from a reputable website to a patient, and then to another patient, on to another patient who then interprets it completely differently from how it is meant to be intended and posts it on a social media site… just be cautious. Always remember, especially when it comes to living with diabetes, no two bodies are exactly alike and therefore we all have different needs for our own individual diabetes. I will always try to make my posts as crystal clear as I can, and imply when I am being general in my nutrition or clinical advice and imply when I think you need to absolutely talk to your doctor first.
I left the event that night feeling fulfilled, as I always do when I am able to catch up with old friends from my diabetes universe. I was able to touch base with some of the girls I know that have already had their babies, and battled their blood sugars to be able to worry about more important things like what to do about the holiday party at nursery school. I was also able to catch up with a few old friends who kindly told me they really enjoy reading my blog, and that it is helping them on their journey to starting the long road of pregnancy and diabetes. I am so grateful for events like the Glu launch reception, and for all the other support that is constantly popping up for those of us who are new and old to this disease.