Like an essay handed in at the last minute, here is my offering for #DBlogWeek.
It's been a busy week for me at work and at home, so not much time for blogging, but having been invited to a conference in Stockholm for diabetic bloggers, I would feel bad if I let the week designated for DBloggers pass by unmarked by me.
So here are a few, not very original, thoughts arising from my unexpected invitation from Abbott to a be part of a gathering of bloggers from across Europe in Sweden's Summer Night City at the start of June.
I put out a tweet this past week saying that the #GBDOC was "the silver lining of the cloud of diabetes". Unsurprisingly it got some likes and approving comments, which is hardly remarkable - flattery will get you anywhere!
But I do mean it. For about 16 of my 18 years with diabetes, my attitude to the condition was one of "just get on with it". I couldn't be bothered with it, to be honest, and so just did what was necessary to stay well and enable me to live my life much as I always had done. I was pretty successful in so doing, and therefore had no want or need for much support from others. I certainly wasn't very interested in talking about it and had no particular interest in meeting others with the condition.
Nobody, therefore, is more surprised than me to find myself now so involved in the wonderful online-based but very real world of the #GBDOC. Like most of its users, I am unclear how or even when I started to get involved, but I know that I am now a fairly prominent presence in a community of people united by their affliction with an ever-present, incurable, but ultimately manageable condition.
Through this community, I know that at almost any time of day or night, I can say something on Twitter and someone, somewhere will respond in a friendly and positive manner. And if I, or anybody else, tweets anything that remotely suggests unhappiness, discomfort or difficulty, it is certain that others will be quick to offer help, support, advice and good humour - and in saying that, I hope that I am as much a provider of that support as a recipient of it.
This, then, is indeed the silver lining to the cloud that threatens to block out the sun from our lives. I cannot now imagine life without such easy access to friendship and support, and I regard the #GBDOC as a great vindication of the often-maligned online world, in that those I have got to know through the filter of social media have invariably turned out to be just the same in real life as they are online. Many of us have met up in real life, notably at two successful national meet-ups of the #GBDOC, and of course in a couple of weeks' time I will be joining some whom I already know and others whom I don't at a European bloggers' event.
It is truly remarkable where diabetes and Twitter have taken me, and I cannot help but smile when I think that just because I chose to associate with a few fellow sufferers from diabetes, and to sing the praises of a new glucose monitoring device - the FreeStyleLibre - I am about to be flown to a country I have never visited before to meet with people I don't know, or I haven't known for long, to spend a couple of days talking about a condition that I spent sixteen years trying to ignore.
Such are the serendipitous, and sometimes welcome, twists and turns of life, even at the age of nearly 60. Thanks to diabetes and the #GBDOC, my horizons have broadened, and I have new friends of all ages at a time in life when often the number of friends and contacts tends if anything to decrease. And all because I suffer from an annoying, very dangerous, ever-present and incurable medical condition. For me at least, the cloud of diabetes does indeed have a silver lining for which I am humbly grateful. Hi-ho, Silver Lining !