In 2015, DiabetesSisters partnered with Dr. Laura Young of The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism to lead a research project exploring stress, diabetes, and community support. Jo-Nette Boyd and Lisa English co-led the DiabetesSisters support group that met in Chapel Hill for about 10 months as a part of the research. While the Chapel Hill group was meeting, Jane Dyson was leading a DiabetesSisters PODS Meetup at the DiabetesSisters office in Durham, NC. After the study was over and DiabetesSisters moved to virtual office, Jane, Lisa, and Jo-Nette decided to join the 2 PODS Meetups together. In Spring 2016, they became co-leaders of DiabetesSisters of Durham, NC.
No matter the type of diabetes they have, the members like learning about life for women with a different type of diabetes - learning about how they have similar issues with diabetes management, and sharing their experiences. They appreciate having a good diversity in the group. "What I love about the group is that we are not all 18 or 70...we cover everything in between. We have each had diabetes long enough to help others deal with it."
PODS members agree that the idea of nonjudgmental support is very important. A new member Marjorie shared that she was very impressed how safe everyone made her feel. PODS members shared so freely, and she quickly discovered that the Meetup was a no judgment zone. Another member, Angela, likes that members share their direct experiences and are not labeled “right” or “wrong.” She says that they are always learning something new about living successfully with diabetes.
The Durham PODS has explored topics such as different distresses women with diabetes encounter as they work to keep themselves alive. Examples include being diagnosed and sent out the door of the doctor’s office without much information about how to take care of their diabetes; being told not to eat any white foods but with no explanation; hearing that people with diabetes should not drive; and deciding whether to disclose one's diabetes to co-workers and how much personal info to share with them.
In addition to leading group discussions and activities with DiabetesSisters educational modules, Jo-Nette, Jane, & Lisa also address underserved diabetes education needs by inviting experts to PODS Meetups. Presenters have brought info to the group about topics including mindfulness and breathing. At some meetings members bring and share favorite healthy low-carb snacks.
Co-leaders realize the benefits of leading the group together. Jane remembers her commitment to the group even if she's having an off day, because the group is about being together and sharing with each other. Lisa says, "As a leader I've learned much more than I prepared to share." Jo-Nette describes the women in the PODS group as not only her support group, but also her friends.
Since 2010, the PODS (Part Of DiabetesSisters) 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 18 states) and online (members meet via computer cameras from the comfort of their own home). Women age 18 and older, 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!
DiabetesSisters appreciates the Dexcom One Step Ahead Foundation and the Boehringer-Ingelheim-Lilly Alliance as the 2017 sponsors of our signature PODS Meetup program.