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Guest Listener.

I boarded the train in Connecticut and from the time I found Karen (of Bitter-Sweet fame), I was downing Dex4 liquid things, glucose tabs, and Smarties constantly.  The Dexcom kept BEEEEEEP!ing, my meter kept confirming, and I kept infusing the sugar.  I was under 70 mg/dl for the entire train ride, the cab ride, and then the first ten minutes of the support group meeting in NYC.  By the time the group arrived and we were doing introductions, I was punchy from the sugar rush.

"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?"  

Of course I'm going to put this on the blog, damnit!  :)

(Answer:  Yes.) 

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!! 

Comments

I have to agree, it was such a great experience and so very cool. My mind boggles at how different we were also all so similar. What a cool group of women. It's so nice to get a chance to share with people who really get it!

Sorry for talking non-stop on the train ride home - I forgot to tell you I tend to ramble even more when I'm over-tired. As if you couldn't tell . . .

What a great time last night ... I am still smiling! :) I can't even explain why I always have a great time with these girls but it just happens. I am SO glad you got to join us Kerri!!! And thank you for sharing our story on your blog :D

never...ever get tired of reading about D-meets =)... Thanks for sharing! Looks like a wonderful group of ladies!

This is so silly - I am officially de-lurking on your blog!! I feel a bit self-centered it's on this post... :)
But I'm tearing up here reading this thinking about how mutual all of these feelings are - I'm so glad you could join us as guest speaker/listener/member, we will work on starting later to be more inclusive and always welcome you all back!! Thanks for writing this up, Kerri!

Karen - I enjoyed the rambles. And I think that lady next to us wanted to join in on the cat puke talk. ;)

Stacey - It was SO nice meeting you, too!! I'm looking forward to hanging out again.

Jaimie - Next time I'm in CA, I'd love to say hi to you in person, too.

Katie - YAY! De-lurking! I'm glad you have you commenting and I'm so glad that your group has really made a difference. You're doing wonderful work, and I'm proud to help however I can.

I love meetups. Sounds like it was a fabulous time!

I would have loved to have come, but unfortunately the group starts at 6pm, which is exactly the time I get out of work over here in Jersey. I wouldn't have been there until it was more than halfway over.

Katie, if it's possible to start at 7pm, I'd be there for every meeting!

I love D meetups. I have an instant connection with other diabetes parents and often I find that diabetes has brought me friends that I never would have met otherwise. It's a weird happy thing.

Kerri (and all!) great finally meeting you in person. Can't even tell you how much fun I had last night. (And man, Kerri, for someone who was low half the night, you were still funny and smart as hell. Me, I'd have been making motorcycle noises with my lips.)

Can't wait to meet with you all again!

Hi All!

Kerri, it was so wonderful to finally meet you in person (even though we probably did got to CBC at the same time-did you check your pictures yet?).

Last night was amazing and even though I was exhausted this morning with all my little Kindergarteners, it was well worth it!

I am currently gearing up to go meet up with the girls again for dinner and I hope you are able to join us again soon!

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