Here are nuggets of wisdom from my fellow diabetes online advocates. I asked them to answer two questions, and their answers carve a path through the light and darkness we all experience living with diabetes. (If you saw my article, "Tweets of Diabetes Experience" on The Huffington Post, these are the comments that weren't there.)
1. Give one way in which diabetes has helped to shape your personality, character or values?
"The loss of my insulin-producing beta cells, has helped me, slowly but surely, increase my production of empathy. Living with this burdensome and dangerous chronic disease has shown me that we all have challenges and that we all need help and support to live life to the fullest." Kelly Rawlings, editorial director, Diabetes Forecast magazine, Twitter: @Kelly Rawlings
“Diabetes is a large piece of what has shaped who I am, not as a symbol of someone who is sick, but as someone who is healthy and not easily knocked down. Diabetes is an uphill hike everyday and it takes thinking and caring about yourself; because of that my resolve is unwavering.” Ann Bartlett, Body In Balance, Health Central, Twitter: @annbartlett
“Diabetes has made me -- with the exception, of course, of my chronic incurable illness -- healthier than most of my friends. I will always eat well, and I will always go to the gym.” Catherine Price, A Sweet Life
“Diabetes has given me a sense of purpose outside of myself to try and help better the lives of other people with diabetes and a desire to educate everyone I meet. I would have never thought I would feel the way I do about diabetes 22 years ago when I was diagnosed. Plus the power of peer support feeds a wonderful desire to reach more people! I love it!” George Simmons, Ninjabetic, Twitter: @ninjabetic
“Diabetes has taught me that I'm stronger than I thought and able to do things I didn't think I could do. I'm more empowered now.” Kate Cornell, Sweet Success: My life with Type 2 Diabetes, Twitter: @SweetenedKate
"Diabetes has taught me discipline in the most unforgiving way, but I've learned to appreciate it. I don't even think about slacking on my diabetes care because I know I'll feel bad if I do." Jessica Apple, A Sweet Life, Twitter: @jessapple.
“Diabetes has given me more determination to succeed because I'm the type of person who, when you tell me I can't do something, I'm going to do everything in my power to show that I CAN! Thanks Diabetes!” Brandy Barnes, Diabetes Sisters, @diabetessisters
“My daughter Tia, who's 12, has become a mentor and role model helping many other children. It has given my life a purpose in my work at Carb DM.” Tamar Sofer-Geri, carbDM
“I think living with diabetes has helped shape me into a stronger, more appreciative person.” Stacey D., The Girl with the Portable Pancreas, Twitter: @PortblPancGrl
“My relationship with diabetes is constantly evolving: we both reshape ourselves from moment to moment, often a reaction to the other. It's given me the ability to sense when change is necessary; to embrace change, for better or worse, and adapt myself to it. Diabetes also gives me a sense of mortality that I live with everyday: I can be extremely impatient when people waste my time - I feel like yelling, Get outta my way - I'm dyin' here!!!” Haidee S. Merritt, Haidee Merritt, Twitter: @BirdWingPress
“Diabetes has given a clear focus to my desire to serve others. We were overwhelmed at the time of our diagnoses. I hope to serve others in their time of need.” Bennet Dunlap, your diabetes may vary, Twitter: @badshoe
“I have learned to overcome challenges better after being diagnosed with diabetes and living with its everyday challenges. It has also taught me to go after my dreams now because my diagnosis was with a blood sugar of 858 mg/dl and I knew that could have had serious implications.” Chris Stocker, The Life of a Diabetic
2. What habit have you developed that makes managing your diabetes easier?
“I don't eat many carbs. And I wear a CGM.” Catherine Price, A Sweet Life
“I do not beat myself up for being imperfect in diabetes. When I miscount the carbohydrates in a meal, and wind up with a high blood sugar afterwards, I make a note of what I can do next time to prevent the high blood sugar and carry on with my life. I'm always trying my best and I'll never give up.” Ginger Vieira, living-in-progress, YouTube: Ginger Vieira, Twitter: @GingerVieira
“I have developed the habit of planning each day to prepare for the obstacles that lay ahead. Planning the day helps me to understand insulin and food needs to keep my blood sugar in control.” Brett Griswold, Diabetes is like..., It’s only diabetes!
“My habit that makes managing diabetes easier is keeping my supplies on one shelf and always keeping it organized.” Marie Smith, Joy Benchmarks, Twitter: @cellobard
“Thanks to the Big Blue Test (shameless plug), I exercise more now than I have ever before in my life. I am no athlete (far from that) but exercise is definitely a more important part of my life these days.” Manny Hernandez, Diabetes Hands Foundation, Twitter: @askManny
“Honestly? Reality checks. I tend to be much more aware now about my body than I was before. I have learned to "listen" to the way I feel and I make decisions accordingly.” Beatriz Dominguez, Cranky Pancreas, Twitter: @crankypancreas
“Staying active makes my diabetes management easier.” Scott Johnson, Scott’s Diabetes, Twitter: @scottkjohnson
“I try to stay calmer because I know it affects my health. That's less a habit than a state of mind and it's all relative - I try to work at this every day and all my friends and family would point out there's still lots of upside <grin>.” Kelly L. Close, editor in chief, diaTribe, Twitter: @diaTribenews
“A lot of stuff gets thrown at you when you or a loved one lives with Type 1. I try to let it slide off my back, but when I can't... that's when I know the experience needs to be written about. Blogging is my habit.” Scott Benner, Arden’s Day, Twitter: @ArdensDay. Scott's book 'Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal' will be on shelves this April.
“The habit that makes managing diabetes easier is testing my blood sugar. You can't manage properly if you don't know your blood sugar!” Stacey D., The Girl with the Portable Pancreas, Twitter: @PortblPancGrl
“Accepting that a “bad” number is good information. A chance to fix a problem, not
an indictment of my control, or me as a person.” Wil Dubois, Diabetes Author, Educator, & Advocate LifeAfterDx, Diabetes Mine, dLife, etc., ad nauseam :-)
“Daily movement through walking and yoga help keep my blood sugars and A1c in good range, while also providing a sense of emotional wellness and vitality.” Cynthia Zuber, Diabetes Light, Twitter: @diabeteslight