2017 was an exciting year for me. I learned a lot of about diabetes advocacy and discovered that some things are possible that I didn’t know existed. When I think back over 2017, there are some things that stick out as milestones and/or extremely memorable. Here are a few of those things (in no particular order).
1. Creating a peer-to-peer support group for women. This was a long time coming, but when it came, it was right on time. I use to attend a weekly diabetes informational clinic that resembled a support group, but I moved to a new city and didn’t have that support any more. For a while, I missed it and then decided to create my own version. Although it took two years for me to build up the courage to begin my own program, I am so glad that I stepped out and believed in myself. The group is now entering into it’s second year and it’s a partnership with the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre.
2. Creating Diabetes Awareness Trivia Social.
This was my second public event for the community and it was a success. One of the best parts of this for me was the love and support that my sorority sisters gave in making the event a success. This was the only informational event in my town held in honor of World Diabetes Day. The event was announced in local news, on social media, and even on the IDF’s
website as one of the 3500 events happening around the world for World Diabetes Day.
3. Winning the Biggest Loser Competition at Work. I’m not usually the person who gets involve in weight loss competitions, in fact I have participated in roughly three in the past and lost every time. This one was slightly different because when I weighed in and saw that my muscle mass was in the red zone (as in not good), I knew that I would join just to see what I could do for my muscles. I lost about 5lbs over the 12 weeks, but my muscle mass moved from the red zone to the yellow. This was amazing. For 2018, I’m focusing on moving into the green zone. Wish me luck.
4. Being on the How Do We Prevent A Diabetes Avalanche panel at SXSW.
This was an AMAZING experience. This was my first time at South by Southwest and I was blown away at all the interesting inventions, productions, and films.The room for our panel was packed with people who wanted to know about diabetes and this wasn’t a diabetes conference.
Not only that, but our session was happening at the same time as Joe Biden’s talk. We still have a room full of people who were interested in our session and that was very beautiful. My fellow panelist and I shared our expertise and represented DiaTribe’s message and purpose.
5. Attending HealtheVoices Online Advocates Conference and the 2TruthinNumbers Type 2 Diabetes advocate conference.
When I heard about the HealtheVoices conference I was overwhelmed with excitement and after applying and finding out that I was going, I was jumping for joy. Nothing, however could prepare me the wonderful experience I had.
I left HealtheVoices feeling more informed and more educated about the various ways that I could become a better online advocate. If you notice, there have been a few changes in my site and outreach since the summer. I started an IG page, my videos are more clear, and I spread out between the blog, Facebook, Twitter, and IG. These positive changes are a direct reflection of what I learned at HealtheVoices.
I’m looking forward to HealtheVoices 2018 where I am one of the Advisory Board Members.
6. Celebrated My 90lbs Weightloss Journey.
I was trying to wait until I reached 100lbs, but I decided that when it was 11 years from the day I started my journey and I was going back to Paris, France where it all began, I decided to honor my journey. To take the time out to pause and applaud my hard work over the past 11 years. It hasn’t been a bed of roses, but I shed the pounds, broke some of the mental chains that kept me holding on the weight, and I am a better person today for having taken the first step.
7. I Now Use My Real Name. I started this blog seven year ago and never used my real name because of the stigma and shame around having Type 2 diabetes. In 2013, at a Blogger Conference, I was asked to write down the 1 thing that I would do if I wasn’t afraid and it was to use my real name. Over the years, I thought about it many times, but let fear stop me each and every time. Well, in November for Diabetes Awareness month, I decided to step of out the stigma closet. I feel so much better and I feel like this was the final step I needed to take in order to fully embrace my purpose as a diabetes advocate. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future brings.