So it's been a while (a year) since I've posted on here. My senior year of college kind of took up all of my time and I wasn't able to post anything. Since my last post I've competed in several Quidditch tournaments, including World Cup VII, graduated from the University of Florida, and been accepted into UF's St. Petersburg campus for pharmacy school starting in the fall. However, I want to talk about this past weekend.
The one weekend that I always look forward to in the year is the one that contains the Students with Diabetes (SWD) national conference. Every year the conference gets better and better. This year was no exception. Honestly, I would probably enjoy the weekend if it was just a bunch of us SWDs hanging out and there weren't any talks or any real plan. Obviously, that isn't the case and the talks make the weekend even better.
|Jim Turner talking about life and diabetes.|
"You think it, you go there and you be there."
That night was concluded with a dance party and general social time. After reconnecting with some old friends and making some new ones I was kind of exhausted and called it a night earlier than I normally would have at a conference, but that left me being awake for all of Saturday!
Saturday started with Zumba for those that wanted to go (I am so not able to follow Zumba). After breakfast for me since I skipped Zumba was Mike Lawson bringing the humor to diabetes. His talk had us doing fun things like coming up with phrases for memes like success kid and not sure fry. This talk was followed by the first of two breakout sessions.
For the first talk I chose to go to the one on diabetes in the workplace and insurance with Tom Boyer as our speaker. I learned about some things I didn't even know we're happening. Apparently there was a bill in California that recently died on the assembly floor that was trying to charge people for sharps containers every time they bough lancets or needles. There are similar bills in New York and Rhode Island that haven't yet been defeated (to my knowledge). The California bill was defeated because due to the help of advocates! I also learned that there is a high potential for discrimination against PWD in hiring, which is why some will not mention they have it until after being hired.
The next breakout session I went to was a talk on exercise. rian Fee gave an excellent talk on endurance and managing BG levels while exercising including using such things as Clif Energy Shot Gels and Chews as well as using Nuun in water instead of drinking Gatorade to replenish electrolytes. I also learned that an optimal starting BG for working out is somewhere in the range of 120-145 mg/dL and that excercising in an anaerobic zone will increase your BG levels to an undesirable range. The second speaker of the talk was a personal trainer that had us try out a workout that involves just us and a little bit of room. We completed a workout of 10 lunges, 10 squats, 10 leg to leg lunges (I don't remember what these are actually called), and 10 jumping squats paired with planks and push-ups followed by doing squats along with a song for two minutes and planking for a minute while rolling a ball between people. Completing the solo part of the workout (excluding the song also) would help maintain and even build muscle mass. I feel that I learned a lot from this session and I know I am more inspired to exercise and I hope to use what I learned to improve.
|Dr. Ed Damiano on the bionic pancreas|
After this session was lunch and the vendor fair. I didn't get much of a chance to talk to the vendors, sadly but I did get my a1c checked during this time and found out it was at 6.1! After this came probably the most anticipated talk for me, the bionic pancreas.
|A sample screen view of the bionic pancreas|
The last talk before we departed for dinner was a talk about risky behavior and diabetes by Joe Solowiejczyk. I learned quite a few things from this speech -most not from the speech but from my fellow Type 1's that were also listening. He asked us questions about how we dealt with the burnout from dealing with diabetes 24/7. He spoke of taking "diabetes vacations" to relieve that burnout. For me I did really understand at first. In the thirteen and a half years I've dealt with diabetes I've never really seen it as having a choice. I took the responsibility of taking care of my diabetes as a necessity like breathing. Yet when these questions were asked most people in the room readily had a response as to what they do. I guess I never really stopped to think about the toll that diabetes takes on us. I usually find some outlet to put any of those frustrations into (e.g. Quidditch, gym). I guess I never thought how other people deal with the daily frustrations of diabetes. I now know some people will take mini vacations and not think about their diabetes. They won't do it for dangerous amounts of time, but enough to feel some sort of relief from the daily "madness." Sometimes it's the little things that also get you through the day. Instead of testing every time some people may just look at their cgm and say "eh, close enough." But it's the feeling that you're more powerful than your diabetes that gets you through.
|My fortune cookie from dinner|
|Breakfast! (Probably too much protein)|
Our final speaker was Tye Maner who spoke about leadership principles. I feel like though this was the least relevant to diabetes, this was probably the most relevant speech to life. He spelled out leadership with different principles of leadership:
L: Listening to understand and not to just respond
E: Energize and motivate with your leadership
A: take Action! Don't wait for things to happen
D: Develop a purpose (I don't think I fully realized mine until this weekend)
E: Enable others to do their best
R: Reach out and reach back (give to the community and they will give back)
S: Self-control. "You never have to apologize for a thought."
H: Handle human relations well.
I: Integrity. Who you are when nobody is looking.
P: Positive. Life is not fair but it will be what you make it.
|Nicole Johnson crowning me Miss America|
The weekend concluded with us saying our goodbyes and "cya next year"s while some us got a bite to eat for lunch before departing back to our regular lives, away from that one weekend a year where we aren't anomalies, but we're the most normal thing in the room.
I must thank Nicole Johnson for creating this unique weekends for us SWDs. I always look forward to this weekend very year now and I hope to be able to attend for many more years. This was my third conference I attended and they all have meant more to me than I can really put in words. I have met so many great people that I hope to stay in touch for many years.
- Keep flying steady
Some pictures of some new friends and some old ones (some photos were not originally mine and actually belong to Libia, Marsha and Alicia):
|A crew of us from 2 years ago!|
|The lunch crew!|
|My fellow tweeters! (@T1Diabetes101(@JayZelll), @MarshaWeiss03)|