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Monday, April 23, 2012

Transforming Lives - Closing Thoughts

Last weekend's Transforming Lives conference was awesome!  It was apparent through every detail that Lawren and the rest of our JDRF chapter poured their heart and souls into making the event a success.  For more than a year, this team worked to ensure our community would have access to a top-notch panel of experts armed with relevant information, presented in a prime location.  From structured children's activities to dietary accommodations...from the "Low Station" to the exhibitors...from the vast array of topics to individualized agendas, each attendee was treated to a wealth of support and knowledge from every angle.

After almost seven years of managing Sugar's sugar, I have to admit that I have fallen into a couple "traps".  For the most part, I have decided that life is too short to spend it hoping things I have no control over could be different.  While this viewpoint hasn't changed, I must admit that it felt good be encouraged by the current research intended to continuously improve the quality of my daughter's future.  It was comforting to reflect on how far technology has come, and exciting to think about where it is going.

I've also fallen into a shallow trap of feeling like there isn't anything "new" to take in.  Lows?  Highs?  School?  Pumping?  Carbs?  Been there.  Done that.  And I'll do it again tomorrow.  Somewhere along the line, I've forgotten how much you miss when you stop looking for something new.  I left last weekend with tidbits of knowledge that were either brand new or freshly reinforced.  More importantly, however, I realized (once again) that surrounding myself with friendship, support, and community is the best remedy for the stale ruts that have become all too familiar lately.

One of the highlights for me was the opportunity to meet Manny, Cherise, Bill, and Mike.  I've been blogging for about 4 years, and have connected with several of these names online for quite awhile.  Being able to introduce them to my husband, get some real-life hugs, and share their laughter was good for my soul!

When I first began learning about he DOC, I wasn't sure where (or if) I'd fit in.  As a parent without diabetes, I couldn't relate to the firsthand experience of managing my own blood sugars.  In this sport, I guess I thought of myself as a sideline coach, and really wasn't sure if I'd be welcome in the player's circle...but, fortunately, that hasn't been the case at all.  I'm completely honored to have been embraced by such amazing people.  These adults teach me something new everyday -- about creating a life of joy, making memories, and not allowing diabetes to get in the way of our dreams.

I've been surrounded by kids with their meters, syringes, and pumps.  I've tested Sugar alongside other parents at least a zillion times -- but it was a unique experience for me to hang out among these guys.  Big kids, all grown up -- taking charge of their diabetes -- beep, test, beep.  Regardless of how the insulin is getting in, at the end of the day we're in the same family.

I really want to send a special thank you to the adults with diabetes EVERYWHERE who have taken the time to hear our story.  Thank you for connecting with me, sharing a part of yourself, and allowing a glimpse into what the future could hold for my daughter.  Thank you for reminding me that there's no need to rush -- she'll grow up soon enough.  Thank you for empathizing with my reality.  Learning to let go and eventually transferring control of her diabetes care is, perhaps, on of the hardest challenges I'll ever face.  Thank you for sharing my joy, and acknowledging the victory for the little things -- such as staying after school independently for Drama Club.

I love you all.

I guess the only disappointment about the conference would have to be the attendance.

Amazing speakers.
Amazing location.
Amazing accommodations.
Amazing exhibitors.

Creme de la creme experts, lunch, children's activities, awesome information booths...all in one incredible place....

For *FREE*.

And only 42% of people who registered showed up.  There was a wait list of families who wanted to attend, but the tickets were gone when they were ready to register.

Beyond disappointment, this part just makes me really sad, honestly.  I guess it stings my heart a little more,  because I know firsthand how hard our JDRF team worked to make it happen.  I know their loved ones worked alongside them to support our conference.  I know that most of the volunteers who worked the event don't even have a connection to T1D...these people gave up a gorgeous day with their own families to make this event possible for ours.  I know my girls were looking forward to seeing friends who didn't show up, and meeting new friends they may now never know.

Sadly, the lack of participation, could potentially inhibit our chapter from ever being able to host something like this again.

Let's hope that won't be the case.

Part 1:  Transforming Lives - Overview 
Part 2:  Transforming Lives - Notes
Part 3:  Transforming Lives - Closing Thoughts

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  1. Great post! I loved meeting you too!

    The attendance issue does suck. I think that the fact that it was FREE had a lot to do with the poor attendance. People signed up before they knew they would certainly attend (why not? It's free!) and then others made other plans (like sleeping in) because there was nothing to lose from going. Maybe charging a few bucks next time would help get people there (or at least pay for their un-eaten lunch).

    (Dang! How many paranthetical asides can I stuff into one paragraph?!)

    With love.

  2. what a fantastic event it sounds like! Sorry to hear about the poor attendance though...:o/

  3. This post made my gush with smiles... and so awesome it is to see those great photos!!! Thanks for the great series of posts recapping the event, which sounds incredible, Wendy! Although, I too echo your sadness and disappointment that only 42% of people registered showed up and others who'd wanted to attend were bumped. I do hope this event can happen again, because IT'S SO NECESSARY!!! Thanks for being a part of it, and telling the rest of us about it, and please let me know if you need anything down the road to convince people that this should be done again.

  4. Ugh on the attendance Wendy.

    So glad to see that pic of you with "the crew". What a wonderful opportunity. xo

  5. i agree with everything you said about being grateful to all the adult PWD in the DOC who have welcomed us in and shared their experiences.

    i'm bummed to hear about the low attendance. i hope there's a way to make it happen again in the future, with more attendees. and thanks to everyone who makes conferences like this happen all over.


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While I'm happy to share our experiences with what works, and what doesn't work, for the management of Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease in our house, please do not mistake anything you read here for medical advice. Decisions regarding your/your child's health care should be made only with the assistance of your medical care team. Use any information from this blog at your own risk.