Monday, May 21, 2012

The One with the Diabetes Sisters Conference

I went to a conference this weekend with Diabetes Sisters, a non-profit that works with women with diabetes.  I came across it accidentally, and it sounded pretty awesome, so on a whim, I signed up.  I also signed D up for a new program they did called Partner's Perspective, which was for the boyfriends/fiances/husbands of the women with the 'betes.

It was epic in its epicness.  I have not, since my days of diabetes camp, been in the same room with so many people with malfunctioning pancreases (pancreaii?).

Friday night, we got checked in and did "networking activities," which closely resembled "speed dating," and where we discovered that there were people there from 20 states (as far away as California and Washington) and also Canada, and then afterward, a bunch of people went to the hotel bar, where there was space reserved. 

Since I'd never been to a bar with diabetic people, I waited to see if they were going to be Good Diabetics and just order a Diet Coke, or if they'd be bad normal diabetics and get a drink.  Luckily, we were all normal diabetics there, and had a couple drinks.  (D did come to my table with a low-sugar drink for me, which was awesome -- it was a less sugary margarita, and it was awesome.)

Saturday, the conference started bright and early with yoga and zumba which I skipped, because 7 a.m. is too early for yoga and zumba.  Then we had a full day of sessions about diabetes, living with diabetes, pregnancy and diabetes, eating and diabetes. . .all diabetes-related stuff that will obviously be useful for. . .ever.

A group of four of us skipped out on the last sessions of the day and went out to downtown Raleigh's Artsposure!  Neither of the two sessions really applied to me, so I decided to be sociable (surprising, right?) and it was actually a really good time, walking around and checking out the art and weirdness.

(If you wonder, and I know you do, the two sessions I had to choose from were "Is CGM right for me?" and "Is it time to start on insulin?"  I don't really have an interest in CGM until the new version of my pump comes out and I've been on insulin since I was 4, so neither one really applied.  I'm guessing that the insulin one was mainly for the Type 2's that were there, so it definitely didn't really apply.)

Saturday night, we had a dinner and recognition ceremony where we were all given little picture frames with a group picture in it and it was announced how long we'd all been living with the 'betes, and then it was back to the bar.

Sunday morning, we had a 1-mile walk-a-thon around downtown Raleigh, and then breakfast and two more sessions (I went to the exercise one and the one about sex and diabetes.)

It was an awesome time, because I felt like. . .I don't KNOW anyone else with Type 1 diabetes, except the people I went to summer camp with, and we aren't friends anymore.  It's lonely, really lonely to have support from people on the outside (D is literally the greatest husband I could have asked for, in all aspects, but especially when it comes to supporting me and my damn brokwn pancreas.) but if someone doesn't literally know what you're talking about, if they don't do it themselves every day, there's just no way to know.

I made some great acquaintences that I hope to turn into friends, and I'm definitely going to take part next year.

D also told me that he learned a lot from his sessions, and that it was good for him getting the perspective of other husbands who have had to deal with this crap. . .because it's not just the diabetic that has to deal with it.  It's the people around them, too.

So thanks, Diabetes Sisters, for a a full, awesome, learning weekend.

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