The Easter weekend presented the chance for a new opportunity: my first time meetup with a member of the Diabetes Online Community.
Four of us plugged in DOC'ers (via Twitter and D-blogs) are based here in the Hoosier State, which some may know to be the Crossroads of America. While my abode is on the southside of Indianapolis, two others are on the northside of the city while another is based up in Fort Wayne. Two of us 4 found a chance to meetup on Saturday.
It was a Meeting of the Mike's from Indiana.
Mr. Mike Durbin (a.k.a #mydiabeticheart), who hosts the MyDiabeticHeart blog, was returning from a vacation visiting family in Louisville, KY and was driving back through central Indiana. We'd decided to avoid downtown Indianapolis thanks to the craziness of Final Four Weekend, so we met up at a cafeteria-restaurant about a mile from my house, right off his interstate route home to the northern part of the state.
We instantly hit it off. We're both in the newspaper business - me on the editorial writing side, and he more in the IT end of the newsroom hitting on the tech aspects of the paper. Standing outside after some initial greetings and smalltalk, we delved into newspaper industry discussion that went into how the evolving journalism field is leading to the downfall of so many newspapers.
The conversation continued as we went inside and put some food on the plates, and then we got to partake in a fun little BBQ Sauce survey being conducted. Two types of sauce samples. As a thank you, we received a gift bag full of treats -Lorna Doones, PB crackers, Oreos, trail mix, and a Sugar Free Crystal Light Lemonade On The Go package. Everything a diabetic could want. We enjoyed the food and chatted it up for a while, before deciding to make our way to another spot to carry on the day's meetup.
We journed back to the Hoskins Household a mile or so away, where he was able to meet Suzi, Riley, and Shadow. Not only did Mike get to toss a ball around with the dog and pet the cat, he also learned how we've decided to keep our Christmas tree up year-round and simply change the decorations as the seasons roll on. This didn't seem to be a bother and he was very understanding. He also assured us he wouldn't run screaming from our neighborhood, vowing never to return to the crazy-people's house. (So we think).
Throughout the day, we found ourselves delving into so many topics: traveling adventures, the excitment of petty sharks, career paths, job flexibility, zoos and horse parks, and of course health issues. I can't imagine what Mike's been through with being diagnosed simultaneously with Type 2 diabetes and congestive heart failure, but I appreciate his willingness to share his stories online and take time to be an advocate.
This led our conversation to the Awesomeness of the Diabetes Community, which has connected us and so many others in various ways. We discussed the evolving ways people are getting involved in the D-Community as advocates: summer camps, support groups, hospital seminars, medical conferneces, Children With Diabetes forums, and places like TuDiabetes and DiabeticRockstar. Mike is a board member and actively involved with DRockstar, and has inspired me to focus more attention there (I've signed up, but don't spend a lot of time there as there are so many D-sites and pages to visit...). Anyhow, to be more of an advocate in those places.
We also discussed focusing more advocacy on the D-Complications such as heart disease and periodontal disease, which are included on the list but mostly don't receive the same kind of attention as complications such as blindness, kidney failure, and amputations. I recall when growing up that these were barely mentioned in the overall scheme of possibilities. That should change, as they are definetely influential issues that can be directly linked to diabetes. Some of us in the DOC can be great advocates for this, we concluded.
So overall, the Meeting of the Mikes was a great time in Greenwood, Indiana. I'm looking forward to the chance of meeting other DOC members down the road, either here in the Crossroads of America or wherever our Diabetes Advocacy takes us.