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Diabetes Sisters: A Celebration of Strength.

For the last three days, I was out in San Diego for the Weekend for Women: Celebration of Strength conference, and throughout the course of my quick, two and a half day trip, I met so many inspiring women.  And I heard so many inspiring things.  

Brandy Barnes, creator of the Diabetes Sisters organization, opened the session by talking about dispelling some of the myths and misconceptions of life with all kinds of diabetes.  “Fight the mental battle of making our diabetes management a priority, while juggling the competing forces of jobs, family, friends … we have this all in common."  Everyone in the room was living with type 1, type 2, or LADA (and with one self-proclaimed "Type weird", Ms. Natalie Sera, who I had the pleasure of meeting and hugging).

Natalie rules.  And all of her dresses have pockets!

“Lets wrap our arms around them and help them feel like they are part of our sisterhood," Brandy said, encouraging those who have attended the conferences in the past to reach out to new attendees.  

That was the theme of the weekend - reaching out and being there.  There were many speakers (and I was very honored to be one of them, on a panel with some fellow insulin pumpers, talking about diabetes and technology), and their topics varied but their messages all contained the common thread of community.  

Susan Jung Guzman, Phd and Director of Clinical Services at the Behavioral Diabetes Institute, spoke about the diabetes juggling act.  She talked about how, if you sit in on an average diabetes education course, you will hear about over 155 recommended "things to change" in your life.  "Or at least 155 things, because we stopped counting after 155.  But really?  155?  That's three hours per DAY that diabetes eats up."

"All of you are diabetes jugglers.  Some of you are quite masterful.  And some of you are learning," she said in reference to all of the things we, as people with diabetes, are trying to manage in the course of our lives.  And without a lot of positive reinforcement.  "You bring your A1C down from 11% to 9%, and it isn't met with a 'Good for you!'  Instead, you hear about the things that can happen when your A1C is 9%."  She shook her head.  "There are 26 million  people with diabetes, but only 13% are managing to the established metabolic goals.  We're scolding people instead of offering them help, and hope."

I heard a lot of inspiring things over the course of the weekend, but one of my favorite quotes did come from Susan in that first session.  "We have a full spectrum of wellness in here," she said, smiling at the group of women with diabetes who were listening to her.  And I appreciated that focus on wellness instead of illness. 

The outdoor lunch on the patio, overlooking the water, was pretty nice.  :)

More on some of the other sessions later this week, including a mindful eating exercise involving an M&M.  Which I'm still wrapping my mind around.  :)

[Disclosure:  I was asked to attend the conference by the team at Animas, and they paid my travel, lodging, and expenses.  Full details on my relationship with Animas here.  Also, if you're interested, this is a really cool Rube Goldberg machine.]

Comments

It sounds like so much fun! I loved the event the first couple years I was able to go, but now that it's a whole weekend, it's not in the old budget. Hopefully I'll get to go to another one in the future though. I love Susan and BDI, and I think it's great that Diabetes Sisters has partnered up with them to have this event. I attended a mindful eating workshop several years ago, and thought very highly of it. We had a raisin instead of an M&M though, so I think you got the better sensory experience, lol!

Sounds like a great weekend!

I BET that was a beautiful lunch. Southern California in the fall is a beautiful place!

So glad you got to go :) I had a great time when I went earlier this year. Their next conference is in Raleigh, NC in the Spring!

OMG, I can't tell you how honored I am to have my picture with you posted!! :-) Everyone, Kerri is even funnier and more delightful in person than she is in print. We were so lucky to have her there!
And, Kerri, give the Bird a thousand kisses for me -- although I doubt she'll sit still that long, LOL!!

I'm bummed. I couldn't go. Surgery for trigger finger last Thursday. So I type with with left hand and peck the keyboard with my right. But I appreciate the fill in. It's the pits being stuck here in my house.
Christine
But I'm getting in touch with my non-dominate part of my brain using my left hand.

is that the coronado bay bridge peeking out in the background? sounds like a fab time, i look forward to your future posts. :)

I took so much away from the conference in NC in the spring. One of the best experiences of my diabetes life :) It sounds like you enjoyed it too. (I actually contemplated attending this as well, especially since I've always wanted to visit San Diego, but I didn't give myself enough time to plan!)

See that girl in the yellow...she was talking to me. You totally missed my back. It would have been a great picture...
I love your blog. Thanks for writing.
Do you remember me? I'm the cynical one, but not in real life, I'm actually quite a positive person. But it was funny in the moment.

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