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Posted by on Dec 16, 2016 in General, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes | 6 comments

Chronic Blessings 2016 – Friends

Chronic Blessings 2016 – Friends

Living in a community and having friends is different.  I live in a community, and I am thankful for that community, but I am also thankful for those in the community who are my friends. My final blessing for this year are my many friends made in the three online communities I am a part of.

Friendship

When I speak of friends, I mean the people who are willing to laugh, cry and support me daily.  People who I care for as much as they care for me.  Some share the conditions, Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis, and some who have similar conditions.  These people are my rock and they are always willing to give a word of support, a kind note or in some cases tell me to get up and move on.

Online friendships are sometimes difficult to maintain as people lose interest and move on.  I understand that, and I am happy for that ability.  But the people who stick it out day to day are to be celebrated.

My Friends

I am part of a small group some with RA but all with type 1 diabetes.  We have never met as a group and some members I have not met personally.  But we are all accountable for one thing.  We say three good words each and every day.  We can pick the words and sometimes those are happy and sometimes they are angry.  But each day they are our own personal three words.

It is a way for the six of us to check in daily.  Of course, we say a lot more in our forum.  We send pictures and laugh, and we sometimes cry and offer support.  But no matter; to be part of this group you must check in each day seven days a week.  When we invite someone to join, they must make the commitment to say three good words daily.    It is sometimes difficult to find those three good words and friends are there to help when we cannot find them.

In the RA community, I am part of Joint Decisions.  It is a small group of people who are bound together to find ways to help patients with Rheumatic conditions find information and a collective voice.  When we gather we laugh, take photos and find the commonality in our lives.  Like three good words, we watch out for and care for each other.

Of course, I also value the many friendships I have formed in the larger communities that I participate in.  The Mighty, CreakyJoints, and TUDiabetes all have allowed me to form individual and lasting friendships that sustain me.

So for this season of blessings, I am blessed by these close relationships I have been able to cultivate in my online communities.   They help me know I am not alone.  Because as we say at TUDiabetes, no one should face Diabetes (RA, Ankylosing Spondylitis) alone.  Because of my friends, I am not facing these things alone.

-30-

rick

6 Comments

  1. Sometimes those online relationships become all important. The trick is finding ways to make them as lasting as ‘real time’ friendships. I do believe it is possible – dating myself as one of the pen pal generation! Ultimately it comes down to sharing more than just the disease – values, common interests and commitment – just as in an on ground friendship – they need to be there too.

    • I so agree great online friendships are about more than surface sharing. It is about actual connection on the same level that would share if the friendship was limited to face to face interaction. Thank you so much for being my friend Karen.

  2. I love the three good words a day. My sister and I have been doing something similar for several years. It’s a great way to reflect on the positive in my life. Plus, it is nice to know someone is checking in on me every day.

    I’m so thankful to have met you outside the elevator at HealtheVoices. You inspire me and make me laugh. You have such a kind, loving heart. Happy 2017.

    • Cathy, it was great fun to run into you and your husband at HealtheVoices and then to share your birthday celebration at Joint Decisions this past fall.

      The little twitter group I belong too is also amazing. It is so much fun to check in daily and to know that others who experience chronic disease share similar stories.

  3. I met one of my very best friends on an online diabetes forum. I make the trip across Australia to see her at least once a year, and we attended each other’s weddings.

    Its great to see how technology has allowed people to form connections and support.

    • When I was diagnosed I already knew many people with diabetes but we never talked about it. Our world was so small it seemed like those of us who have diabetes were so few and far between. I then found TUDiabetes and a whole world opened to me. I am so thankful that we get to connect on a broader scale.

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