George believes the most important parts of blogging for him are the feedback from posts and his relationships with other bloggers.
George said, “I remember one morning my blood glucose level was 455 mg/dl and I freaked out. I had not seen a [blood glucose reading] that high in a long time. I e-mailed a couple of blogging friends and got two e-mails back almost immediately telling me how I should handle it. I told my wife about it, and she was in tears. She said, ‘I am so thankful that we have them in our lives’ and I agreed 100%.”
What does George think people should know before blogging? “That they are going to need to put some time aside for reading!” He also said it takes a couple of posts before people begin to comment, so commenting on other blogs helps build connections.
“The main key is to be open and willing to put yourself out there. I think that is what makes for a great experience.”
Penny—My Son Has Diabetes
Ten-year-old Riley loves baseball, soccer, and his older brother Holden. Riley also has Type 1 diabetes, which his mother Penny writes about on her blog, My Son Has Diabetes. Riley was diagnosed in October 2005 at age three.
“I think I felt like most parents whose child has just been diagnosed with a chronic illness. I felt alone, scared, overwhelmed, and helpless,” Penny said.
While researching diabetes online, Penny found a chat room on the Children With Diabetes Web site (www.childrenwithdiabetes.com). A woman gave Penny the link to a blog post at Six Until Me. Penny says it was exactly what she was looking for.
“I found plenty of clinical advice, but what I was really searching for was someone who could understand what I was going through,” Penny said. Penny then typed “my son has diabetes” into Google, looking for someone else going through similar issues of raising a young child with diabetes. Penny decided to create her own blog to meet new people.
“My hope when I started the blog was to reach out to parents going through the same thing,” Penny said. “I really started the blog to help others, but what I didn’t know was that I was really helping myself and my son more.”
By discussing issues and experiences with other parents, Penny receives valuable comments from parents about trouble-shooting problems. The posts have also helped Penny work through the emotional difficulties of caring for a child with a chronic illness. Blogging helps her express and process her emotions, and reading blogs helps her see that there are adults with diabetes who are living happy and productive lives.
“When I blog, I get things out and then try to move on. By doing this, I am able to more effectively focus on Riley’s care instead of the emotions that sometimes feel like they are going to overwhelm me,” Penny said. Blogging also helped Penny trust her instincts on certain issues such as frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Riley’s endocrinologist had mentioned the possibility of monitoring less often when she saw they were checking an average of 13 times a day. Many bloggers commented that they check anywhere from 12 to 20 times a day.
“Most people also reminded me that I was Riley’s mom and that I knew what was best for him, so if I needed to test him 13 or more times a day to keep his blood glucose level regulated, then that is what I needed to do,” Penny said. The boost of confidence from other bloggers helped Penny overcome her doubts and truly recognize herself as the authority on Riley’s treatment.
Penny also uses her blog as a platform for advocacy during November’s National Diabetes Month. In past years, she has encouraged other bloggers to post a “Cure Diabetes” ribbon icon on their blogs. She plans to encourage more people to become vocal advocates.