After being diagnosed with diabetes (type 1) as an adult in 2017, Rena Rossi found DiabetesSisters and the Part of DiabetesSisters (PODS) Meetup program. Rena knew that she needed peer support for her own life with diabetes, and wanted to become more involved with the diabetes community, but the closest PODS Meetup was more than an hour (and a different state) away. Plus, she wanted to create the first PODS Meetup in Rhode Island.
Rena attended a few PODS Meetups in South Shore/Braintree, MA, and listened to PODS Leaders Sandy Brooks and Sarah MacLeod about starting a new one. She applied and was selected to be a PODS Leader, and then planned and scheduled the first DiabetesSisters of Rhode Island meeting for July 2018. Now the Rhode Island group has 4 – 6 regular attendees that come almost every month.
Some of the recent, most favorite topics that the PODS has discussed include: dosing insulin according to a sliding scale vs. figuring out carb ratios and counting carbs eaten; exercising effectively with diabetes; different types of continuous glucose monitor (CGM)s; and using CGMs to make diabetes management choices.
Rena has heard from all of the PODS members that peer support is the most important reason they keep coming back. They enjoy the various diabetes-related topics each month. They also appreciate being able to ask questions about living with diabetes to other women who understand what they’re going through, and what they’re asking.
Some members have attended events together such as the JDRF Type 1 Nation summit in Boston, and a presentation by cyclists with diabetes Annalisa van den Bergh and Erik Douds at a local REI. The PODS has started taking walks together during some of the meetings. Rena has also heard from women with diabetes who haven’t made it to a PODS Meetup yet, but they may reach out and ask questions in the meantime.
A PODS member recently reached out and thanked Rena, adding how grateful she is for finding the PODS Meetup. Although she was misdiagnosed as a type 2 for several years, she is now breaking through the learning curve and adjusting to her new lifestyle.
According to Rena, “Leading a PODS Meetup is a great way for me to become more involved in the diabetes community. I seek out opportunities to become more involved and provide resources to PODS members. I’ve gained a great deal of confidence in talking to and advocating for others with diabetes who live with diabetes.”
Since 2010 the Part Of DiabetesSisters (PODS) Meetup program has offered monthly support to women living with any type of diabetes or prediabetes, and provided a nonjudgmental place to discuss the successes and challenges of living with diabetes. Led by women who live 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, please complete the PODS Meetup inquiry form – we look forward to hearing from you!