In two days my blog will be 1 year old. It’s hard to believe that it has already been a year! I was going to wait until the actual day for this post, but with Thankgivingkah coming up, I figured this post can come a couple days early.
I started thinking back to why I started this blog in the first place. There are a few reasons, some related to my diabetes, and some that are not. It was days after a visit with my endocrinologist with an A1c of 8.0. I knew something had to change. I wanted a way to hold myself accountable, to learn from others in how they live and manage diabetes, but also to share my own trials and errors.
A year ago, I was deep into the job searching. I had a couple part time freelance jobs, but I was looking for something full time. Since my interest is in health communication, I felt that a blog would be a perfect way to not only practice my writing and apply my education, but to then be able to share my blog with potential employers and be able to talk about it during interviews.
I remember my first few posts and the overwhelmingly positive response from my friends and family at my chosen endeavor. I started off writing for them, writing to people that don’t have diabetes themselves, but may like to know more or know more about my life. I was writing for my public health colleagues and classmates, providing insight into chronic disease management from the patient perspective. But I was also writing hoping to appeal to the other people with diabetes or those who have family members with diabetes. I wanted them to know me, and I wanted to know and learn about and from them as well.
I dove into the diabetes online community (DOC), reading countless other blogs, forums, websites and discussion boards. I created a twitter account and started following other PWD. I started seeing comments on my blogs and was excited when they were from people that I didn’t know or that I recognized from other diabetes blogs. However, it wasn’t until I participated in Diabetes Blog Week and Diabetes Art Day that things really started to take off.
In the past year, I’ve had the honor of having a few of my blog posts voted Best of the Betes’ Blog for the month in the category of humor and advocacy. I had the pleasure of meeting people I knew from the DOC in real life at a JDRF sponsored conference. I was invited to speak on a panel to teens about living with type 1 diabetes which then led to my involvement with my local JDRF Young Leaders Committee. Some highlights of this past year was being recognized by a stranger because of my blog and then more recently, having my Diabetes Art Day artwork printed in the December issue of Diabetic Living Magazine. But probably the most rewarding part of this past year is the positive response that I have received by people who read my blog. Every “I love your blog” or “I read your blog every week” means so much to me. Every comment left on a post is a connection with someone out there that I am so grateful for. If my blog helps one person, makes one person smile or feel less alone, to me it’s worth it.
So back to my diabetes. Over the course of this year, my A1c went from 8.0 to 7.2 then 6.7, 7.0, and as of a few days ago, 7.3. I look at those numbers and I’m incredibly proud of myself. The 6.7 and 7.0 are some of the lowest A1c scores that I’ve had in years! I’m happy at my progress and at knowing that my hard work paid off. But I also look at it and get a little discouraged, especially the 7.3. It’s hard because I didn’t feel like the past 3 months were that different than the 3 before, yet it went up by .3. It’s hard to know what exactly I need to do differently, what am I doing that isn’t enough? It’s a never ending struggle, but I know that I have to be proud of the progress that I made in just 1 year.
So what about the jobs? In the past year, I got an amazing 5 month full time internship at a hospital system working with an infant mortality reduction program. During that time I also started a part-time freelance position writing articles for wellness newsletters. When my internship ended, I began a new freelance position within the same hospital system, while balancing up to 3 other part time freelance jobs. And then finally, as of last Friday, I was offered a full time job in the wonderful city of my alma mater, Ann Arbor. It’s been a crazy year of jobs, but it all led me to where I needed to be. I know my blog helped, as people that I interviewed with would mention that they read it and enjoyed it.
It’s been a year of:
- 4 promising A1cs
- 92 published blog posts
- Over 2100 unique visitors to my blog
- blog visits from around the world (51 countries to be exact, but majority coming from the US, Canada, the UK and Australia)
- 5 “new” jobs
- And a year of new connections, both online and off.