I grew up hearing the saying, “Give me my flowers while I can smell them.” It’s so important to honor people who have made our path in the journey of life a little bit smoother. To kick off this year’s Diabetes Awareness Month, I’d like to give a special shout-out to two diabetes advocates whose encouragement for this blog is extra special.

When I started my blog, I didn’t use my name because I was fearful and terrified. I didn’t want anyone to know that Phyllisa had diabetes. Diabetes stigma (the negative opinions and misbeliefs about people with diabetes–like we are lazy and brought diabetes upon ourselves by making poor choices) made me use an alias for many years.

I remember the evening I built up the courage to put my email address on the blog under the CONTACT tab, something surprising happened. It feels like within 24 hours, I got an email from a man named Bob who said he’d been waiting for me to add my contact information to my blog. He had been reading my blog and wanted to add it to a list of diabetes blogs that he created. That instantly made me feel like my blog was valued. Prior to that, I thought I was just writing to the wind most days not knowing if anyone was paying attention.

Over the years this blog’s likes and comments have risen and fallen, as expected. Although it is expected, no one likes quiet times, we want all of our posts to have tons of comments confirming that our effort to help others is a worthwhile endeavor. That’s the reassurance I get from one person who consistently comments on my blog. His name is Rick. I’m so thankful for his comments that I’ve stopped saying, “Sometimes it feels like I’m the only reading my blog” to “Sometimes it feels like Rick and I are the only ones reading my blog.” Of course, the analtyics tell me otherwise, I can see that they are many people who read my blog who choose to not comment.

If you’re reading this, feel free to leave a comment and let me know that we’re not alone.

I haven’t met Bob in person yet, but I look forward to the day. I did meet Rick in Chicago and in South Korea. It was an honor to tell him, “Thank You,” face-to-face.

Here’s to giving a shout-out to two diabetes advocates that have made me feel like I belong here in the moments when I left like I didn’t. Thanks!