When I was first diagnosed, I never envisioned that one day I would be able to describe myself as a passionate diabetes advocate. It didn't occur to me that diabetes might be something that would eventually become a larger part of my life, rather than remain just a medical-related set of routines and protocols to follow. When I was a teenager, diabetes was something I didn't want to THINK about, never mind talk about unless I absolutely had to. So it came as a great surprise when life led me down a road of self-discovery, education, and an interest in spreading awareness.
It was after becoming involved as a DiabetesSisters PODS leader, my identity as a T1D began to shift, and I started to feel more comfortable both within the diabetes world, as well as in the REAL world. It was no longer out of the ordinary for me to acknowlege that I had diabetes and I soon realized that educating others brought me great happiness and joy. So often people are uneducated about what diabetes is - especially Type 1 diabetes - and knowing I was able to deliver accurate, relevant information to those who might otherwise remain ignorant made me feel a sense of purpose and great pride.
I think it was being able to self-identify as a leader within the DiabetesSisters organization that gave me the confidence I needed to continue down the path of advocacy. Over the years, I've further involved myself within the diabetes community in various ways, and often try to make connections with others who might help me with my efforts to spread awareness about Type 1 diabetes. I love forming friendships with likeminded inviduals who see the merit and importance in this work that I love to do. I have especially loved welcoming women into DiabetesSisters and inspiring other friends to become PODS leaders within their own communities, too.
I'm thankful that I'm living with Type 1 diabetes during a time where so much information and support is readily available. The internet is chock full of resources and people who can help to shed some light on a myriad of topics relating to T1D. I can't tell you how many friends I've met online simply because we both happen to live with diabetes.
In 2016, I started my own personal diabetes-focused blog, What Sarah Said, in hopes of having an outlet to better express my advocacy and education efforts, as well as share my personal story and holistic health journey. I truly enjoy reading diabetes-related blogs and connecting with those who also write about living with Type 1 diabetes and other chronic illnesses. Additionally, I have been feverishly consuming ANY and all diabetes podcasts that I happen to come across and really enjoy gaining knowledge and perspective from that particular kind of platform. A few of my favorites include The Bravest Life with Craig Kasper, Diabetics Doing Things, Beta Cell Podcast/Out of Range, and the Pancreas Pals.
I find one of the easiest places to spread awareness and education is through social media. I love the diabetes community on Instagram and often scroll through my feed knowing an abundance of inpsiration will soon follow. I have had the pleasure of connecting with so many incredible individuals, some who I have been able to meet in real life, and I love that, at the end of the day, one of life's great difficulties, chronic illness, is what brought us all together.
Advocacy, education, and awareness isn't just for those who don't have or don't know what it's like to live with diabetes. It's also for those who ARE living with diabetes. It is my pursuit of advocacy, and my desire to help educate others, that has been an integral factor in the success of my daily diabetes management. I know seeking opportunties to help make the lives of other diabetics easier is something that keeps me going. I'm proud to be a part of this incredible community. There is so much support to be found and so much love to be shared.