"Hi, I'm Kerri Sparling and I've been low since Karen and I got on the train in Connecticut."
This is how I decide to introduce myself to the support group in NYC? Great. Already off to a decidedly awkward start. (But I'm nothing if not awkward.)
But these women were patient with my ramblings. And they truly are something else. Katie Savin, organizer of the NYC support group for young women with type 1 diabetes, has found some of the most compassionate, open, and well-spoken women in the NYC area to share her space with. I was invited at their guest speaker, but I was humbled to be more of a guest listener.
They share openly. Someone asked a question about CGMs and three people leapt up to show their sensors. A woman shared her emotional journey with complications and guilt and the rest of the group immediately offered words of support and validation. Another woman is getting married nine days from today and went on her pump barely a month ago, and the group offered tips on hiding her pump in her dress. Another (with the best hair I've EVER seen) is marrying in November but proactively preparing her body for pregnancy, and I felt her frustrations intimately.
We talked about what it's like to be newly diagnosed, or a diabetes veteran. Some on pumps, some on shots, some on CGMs, some on the fence - it was a melting pot of personalities and passions, all lives laced with type 1 diabetes.
It. Was. So cool.
(And I finally had a chance to meet LeeAnn from The Butter Compartment and author Elizabeth Joy. I love putting smiles and inflection to the writers I read, and I was very happy to say "Oh my gosh, hi!" in person. They are two lovely and extremely talented writers, that's for damn sure.)
The hour and a half meeting ended too soon, and we found ourselves tumbled out onto the sidewalk and chatting out there. Sidewalk chats lead to sidewalk photo shoots.
And photo shoots lead to "Are you going to put that on the blog?"
And then we blinked and about ten of us were sitting at the Gramercy Diner and still talking our faces off. I am constantly amazed by the steady and comfortable flow of conversation between diabetics, and how quickly the conversations stray away from diabetes stuff. We are not short on things to say, it seems. (Just short on islet cells. :: rimshot ::)
Much like the Fairfield County dinners, the group is comprised of people who have nothing in common but diabetes. But at the same time, that gives them everything in common that they need to sit and talk for hours on a Tuesday evening and become friends.
Thanks for having me, Katie - I was very honored to be your guest. I hope to see you guys again soon!!