|photo by RoadsideGuitars|
It’s been a year. Some days I feel like a 5 watt radio station with a broadcast range of half a block. At least a third of my regular audience is friends and family. So why bother? Why not let the scores of articulate, passionate celebrity-level advocates in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) handle this soapbox? Some of these folks are followed by thousands. They are involved at every level from grassroots events to international forums. Why would I think I could ever help at that level?
I don’t. I’m here for two reasons-- besides the fact that we need as many voices as possible as this epidemic washes over us, I’m simply compelled. I would so much rather research and write about sailing, mobile tech, or astrophysics. But no, I was assigned this topic by the universe and lo and behold, my research led me off the beaten path. I was just looking for a way to buy time until some pump or transplant that I thought I could stomach was developed.
But now it looks like my blend of a few western and eastern medicine components may have fixed my pancreas. I know that the timeline for LADA diabetics means it won’t be confirmed for years. Even then, my case will just be anecdotal. But I can’t just sit on the possibility that the answer I’ve found to the different question I asked is right. We still need all the vast power and persuasive support of the DOC. Even if the battery-powered devices and insulin are not required, diabetics still need the compassion and encouragement that seasoned advocates provide, to be able to re-design their lives.
In all things social media, audience-reach and interaction is key. Unfortunately, just knowing this doesn’t make one well suited for it. Even if I wanted to, I can’t bypass the community of diabetes patient advocates. They are the curators of the vast and muddied stream of information about diabetes. They are rock stars because they have consistently, over years, listened, opined, and connected the hordes of existing and newly diagnosed. I’m a communicator, but not at that level. I’m too arrogant and crusty to dole out the quantity of hugs required for the mission.
So I have to resist my anti-social tendencies and reach out. It’s a lot to ask these advocates to include even the mere possibility of the success of my approach in their dialog. I’m sure I appear like some sort of diabetic Ron Paul out there that’s just cluttering up the airwaves. My admittedly dramatic headlines are annoying enough that at least one well-known diabetes blogger has blocked my tweets. That’s OK. The occasional controversial shout-out has more volume than a murmured amen.