It seems incongruous to associate sweets with diabetes. After all, sweets may be a thing of the past when diagnosed with diabetes. One blogger somehow manages to take the bitterness of a diabetes diagnosis and make it just a little more palatable with humor, candor, and a ton of information. Karen Graffeo of Bitter-Sweet Diabetes is a blogger we love. Let us count the ways.
1. Most importantly, her blog Bitter-Sweet Diabetes
Karen’s blog is a record of her experience with diabetes as well as her reviews of many different medical devices related to diabetes. The most striking posts are those that get personal and intense. Diabetes can be scary, especially for those who are newly diagnosed. In her post “That Loaf Of Bread,” she writes about how low blood sugar threw her into a haze in the grocery store. It’s a simple entry, but it helps to bring awareness to just what it means to go through daily life with this condition.
It’s one thing to read research about symptoms of diabetes. It’s quite another to read about an experience from someone who has been living with diabetes for nearly their whole life.
Graffeo has a singular voice that gets the point across without belaboring it. She just wants you to understand, and she wants those with diabetes to know that they are not alone.
2. And then there’s her work with Medtronic
Karen also writes for Medtronic as a consultant and guest blogger, reviewing their various devices. She offers herself up as a guinea pig of sorts. The best part about this is that although she is compensated for her work with various medical devices, her opinions are honest and not always positive. Her goal is to find new devices that make living with diabetes easier, and her work reflects that mission.
3. And her coordination of Diabetes Blog Week
Held annually, Diabetes Blog Week is a week-long round up of diabetes-related blogs. Graffeo posts a set daily topic, and all participating bloggers write from their perspective.
In Graffeo’s words:
“The main idea for Diabetes Blog Week is that bloggers sign up to post about a set topic each day for a week. This way, readers can jump around the DBlog Community and get a big variety of different perspectives on a single topic. The hope is that new DOC connections are made, and that our voices are raised to spread a little more diabetes awareness.”
Diabetes Blog week is open to anyone with skin in the game: patients, parents, spouses, caregivers, and kids are all invited to participate and grow the connections within the community. In 2015, nearly 200 bloggers participated, posting over 1,200 blogs on diabetes.
4. She is a board member of Diabetes Community Advocate Foundation
The Diabetes Community Advocate Foundation is an active part of the diabetes community. They hold regular Twitter chats under the auspices of Diabetes Social Media Advocacy under the hashtag #dsma. Topics run the gamut from food to new research to media portrayal of those with diabetes. This chat is moderated, informative, and fast-paced. Archived chats are also available.
This organization also promotes Blue Fridays, urging diabetes patients, caregivers, and other stakeholders to wear blue every Friday and on November 14th (World Diabetes Day) to build awareness and promote understanding.
5. She runs a monthly virtual support group
Graffeo runs a PODS support group for DiabetesSisters. PODS stands for “Part of DiabetesSisters” and is an online support group that has branched out and now meets in real life at various locations across the country. This valuable resource not only offers online meetings and local support groups but is also a leading educational resource for the diabetes community, offering classes and sharing recent research.
6. And if all that wasn’t enough, she is also a member of Diabetes Advocates
In a continuation of her support of those with diabetes, Graffeo is also a member of Diabetes Advocates, a group whose mission is “To connect advocates dedicated to improving the lives of people living with diabetes in order to accelerate and amplify their efforts.”
That Graffeo is one of those advocates speaks volumes about her dedication to demystifying diabetes and helping those with this condition to remain positive and informed.
We love Bitter-Sweet Diabetes and Karen Graffeo because of her tireless advocacy on behalf of those with diabetes. She is not content to simply treat herself but instead uses her blog as a platform to educate, inspire, and support diabetes patients and those who love them. It is this spirit of giving back and her refusal to treat her diagnosis as the end of the world that sets her apart from other bloggers living with diabetes.
While few, if any, would wish to have diabetes, Graffeo somehow manages to take this diagnosis and make it seem less bitter and more sweet. “Because life with diabetes isn’t all bad” is more than just a tagline for Bitter-Sweet Diabetes and Karen Graffeo. It’s the motto by which she lives her life. We applaud her advocacy and support.
Check out Bitter-Sweet Diabetes and tell us what you think!
Image by freeblogphotos via Flickr