Posted on July 16th, 2012 by Admin
Editor's Note: Scott J. is a patient/caregiver who submitted the following essay as part of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media Patient, Caregiver Scholarship Contest. To vote, simply use the Facebook "Like" or Twitter "Tweet" buttons at the bottom of each post to share or leave a positive comment. The top vote-getters will be finalists.
My name is Scott K. Johnson. I have lived with type 1 diabetes since 1980, and have been blogging about my experiences with it since late-2004. I initially started writing as a way to explore and cope with the feelings and emotions that come with diabetes (http://scottsdiabetes.com). It wasn't long before I connected with others who were also living with diabetes and dealing with similar issues.
Standing on the shoulders of those before us, we proactively engaged with even more people who were exploring the use of blogs to share their stories around diabetes. Collectively, we encouraged each other and worked hard to promote a caring atmosphere. We respected differences and bonded over similarities.
The diabetes online community has grown so large, so fast, that it is impossible to keep up with today. There are so many fantastic story-tellers who are bravely sharing their life experiences with diabetes, and that is a testament to the nature of the community.
Having received so much benefit from that community, I work hard to give back as much as I can. It's interesting, because all that the community asks is that I continue to share my experiences, just like I did when I first started. And doing so continues to be a form of therapy for me, helping me to work through the often confusing and conflicting feelings and emotions about diabetes.
As the communication tools have evolved, the diabetes online community has embraced new ways to talk about diabetes. There is a weekly twitter chat, #dsma (Diabetes Social Media Advocacy), inspired by your very own Dana Lewis (#hcsm), that has grown and evolved surprisingly quickly. I'm honored to say that I am active in DSMA Live (http://dsmalive.com), a weekly internet radio show (via BlogTalkRadio), where I co-host with Cherise Shockley (founder of #dsma) and George Simmons (blogger at Ninjabetic.com).
For over two years we have broadcast each week bringing guests from the diabetes community, diabetes industry, and diabetes health care arenas to the listeners. We provide access and information that is not normally accessible to the average person with diabetes (pwd), allowing them to engage and learn about activities and efforts that they may not have heard of. It has been amazing fun, and continues to grow.
There are three main thoughts that come to mind when I think about how my participation may serve the greater good of the health community during and after the conference:
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the scholarship application program. I am so glad to see recognition that more patients and caregivers need opportunities like this, and that they also need help to get there.
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