Friends for Life: Madcap Recap.
by Kerri Sparling on July 9, 2014
A bulleted list because that’s what bloggers do.
- My personal schedule had me running around like a chicken with its head (and pancreas?) cut off, and while I felt really lucky to be so busy, I didn’t have enough quality time with people I love. It’s a nice problem to have, but it was frustrating because now that I’m home, I wish there had been long coffee chats with so many different people.
- Coffee tastes best out of my new favorite mug –>
- One of my favorite moments was during the Parenting with Type 1 Diabetes session, when Marissa Town and Melissa Lee started singing the Dexcom “ATTENTIVE” low alarm song, complete with facial grimaces and in perfect harmony.
- It’s weird how therapeutic it can be to cry in a room full of “strangers.”
- Even odder still is putting the word “strangers” into quotation marks because anyone living with diabetes has intimate knowledge of moments in my life that even my closest family members can’t quite wrap their head around.
- It was so nice to meet the team from Kedz Covers, and yet so odd to meet them in Florida, seeing as how they live here in Rhode Island. Only in the diabetes community do you meet your actual neighbors at a conference 1300 miles from home.
- (And yes, that’s the “Don’t Mess with Rhode Island, Either” t-shirt, but I negated its awesome message by wearing my bag cross-body style, covering the little Rhody and making it look like I’m on the welcoming committee for Texas. Whoops.)
- The “Reducing Social Stigma from Diabetes: A Patient Perspective” session with Richard Wood, Kelly Close, and Adam Brown was one that I wish I had been able to attend, because the stigma related to (and nestled around) diabetes of all kinds is a topic that is very top-of-mind for me. I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing more about this survey and have been stalking the #dstigma hashtag for feedback.
- Watching Melissa pass the diaversary torch (so to speak) to Briley in the bar at midnight was a moment that made me laugh, but also gave me goosebumps because marking a diaversary can be intense, but doing it a room full of people who love you is fucking empowering.
- It was an absolute honor (and wicked fun!) to partner with Dexcom last week, sharing stories and giving away copies of Balancing Diabetes. A huge thank you to Dexcom for their support, and also to the diabetes community for stopping by to say hello at the booth.
- And thanks to Scott for lending me a pen to use at the book signings, which just so happened to be a pen from George’s office, making me feel like a little bit of George was at Friends for Life, too. Full circle, there.
- I loved being part of a session for parents of children with diabetes aiming to answer the questions they might not be asking their own kids, and it was an honor to partner with Adam Brown (of Close Concerns) for this session. The discussions were intense, but productive, and for anyone in attendance who didn’t end up watching The LEGO Movie that night, here’s a link to what the hell I was talking about.
- I learned that Scott, aka “Pockets,” keeps an army of diabetes (and non-diabetes related) supplies in his pocket. The man is half kangaroo.
- (Happy belated birthday, Pettus!)
- After Friends for Life was over, Chris and Birdzone flew down to Florida to meet me and we spent a few days at Disney. Getting ready to head out to the park the next morning, Chris asked why I still had my conference bracelet on. “I like it,” was my response, because it’s hard to articulate what the green bracelet really means to me, or how the orange bracelets keep me going.
- I still have my green bracelet on. We walked through the Magic Kingdom and I found myself glancing at wrists around the park to see if anyone from the conference was there. I didn’t see any green bracelets. But I kept mine on in case someone was looking, too.
- I still have it on now, only I don’t think the cats give a shit.
- (Total sidebar: It was Loopy‘s birthday two days ago, and Birdy and I will be making her a “cake,” which equals out to Birdy wanting to eat cake and this is her excuse.)
- Attending Friends for Life is a place where I can wear my emotions on my sleeve and my pump on my hip. It’s somewhere I can feel safe admitting the things that weigh heavily on my mind but also celebrate something as simple as a 100 mg/dL on my glucose meter. And nothing reminded me of this more than when I was walking towards my next session and I saw Briley outside of it, tears streaming down her face. “I just had my eyes checked. And they’re totally fine!! After twenty-five years, they are still fine.” I couldn’t hug her fast enough, or hard enough, because that’s what you do. You celebrate the things others would never think to celebrate, and you appreciate the people who understand.
Tags: balancing diabetes, Close Concerns, CWD, dexcom, diabetes, diabetes stigma, Florida in the fucking heat, Friends for Life, green bracelet, Kedz Covers, type 1 diabetes