For the first 37 of her 43 years of living with diabetes, Clare Fishman was the only person she knew with this condition. Then one day she stumbled upon the DiabetesSisters website and saw that there was a PODS Meetup located in Ashland, MA - the town right next to hers. She remembers going to her first meeting of DiabetesSisters of Boston - MetroWest in the fall of 2014. Though there was just one other woman at that PODS Meetup, that was one more person with diabetes than Clare knew before.
In the year after Clare’s first PODS Meetup, she kept attending and meeting more women living with diabetes. The location has moved from Ashland to Natick in 2016, and from Natick to Framingham in 2017. After life and work changes meant stepping down as PODS Leader for Harmeet Chhabra in 2016 and then family additions did the same for Colleen Coyne that same year, Clare decided to take on the leadership responsibility for the Meetup.
About 5 members usually attend the meetings, held these days at a café in Framingham. The group discusses many hot topics including: high costs of diabetes treatments; advantages and disadvantages of various insulin pump models; a just-released version of continuous glucose monitor (CGM); new type of fast-acting insulin; finding and maintaining endocrinologists; when asking for help when blood sugar is low doesn’t happen; and being a mom with diabetes who is raising twins (two PODS members each have twin girls). Clare enjoys being a PODS Leader because for her, it means being up-to-date on new diabetes innovations so she can inform and educate.
PODS members appreciate having an entire cadre of women who nod in agreement when they talk about something like trying different places to insert insulin pump sites or CGM sensors, or having trouble finding the hole in a juice box to put the straw while having really low blood sugar. They also like being able to share about managing blood sugar during different kinds of exercise, and what/how to pack for international travel and long domestic trips. Shared experience, shared solutions, shared challenges - that's what this peer support group is all about.
Clare breaks it down to the essentials: "Diabetes is such an isolating condition. I don't want anyone to feel alone with this chronic lifelong condition. I have been delighted to share, support, educate, learn, and just be there for any woman who comes to the PODS Meetup. Since discovering the diabetes online community (DOC) and then in-person peer support through DiabetesSisters, I realize I am not alone and there are thousands of people like me. Some of my closest friends are women with diabetes whom I met through DiabetesSisters. Getting and giving support to my dSisters is a joy and I am grateful for the opportunity."
Since 2010 the Part Of DiabetesSisters (PODS) Meetup program has offered monthly support to women living with any type of diabetes or prediabetes, providing a safe and nonjudgmental place to discuss the successes and challenges of living with diabetes. Led by women living with diabetes, the groups offer true peer support focused on women and diabetes.The PODS Meetup Program reaches more than 1,300 women annually, in person (in 22 states) and online (members meet via computer cameras from the comfort of their own home). Women age 18 and up, living with any type of diabetes or prediabetes, are invited to attend PODS Meetups. If you would like more information on local PODS Meetups near you, or starting a group in your community, please complete the PODS Meetup inquiry form –we look forward to hearing from you!