Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Diabetes Research Institute's 2.0 Conference from a Deviant Diabetic's P.O.V

dBloggers Scott, Fran, Gina, Karen, Lee-Ann, Val, Yours Truly (whose pump tubing is hanging out & looks suspiciously like my fly is open), Allison, Amy, and Bernard
Special thanks to Scott for forwarding the group photo~

So as many of you know, Saturday October 25th was the Diabetes Research Institutes 2.0 Conference: Harnessing New Technologies & Treatment and it was fabulous.

My day actually started the previous afternoon, when I arrived at my friend Mark’s on the Upper west side. After an afternoon of “planes trains & automobiles,” I was ready to relax. We had dinner & watched a movie, knowing that yours truly needed to be awake at 6:30ish the next morning.

Cut to morning
and Kelly stumbling around a darkened apartment looking for a host of things including; her meter, spare infusion sets, socks, and her favorite lipstick.
I grabbed a cup of coffee and hailed a cab to midtown.

I arrived at the hotel, signed in, and made a beeline for the buffet.

OK, here’s the thing: at absolutely every Diabetes event I’ve EVER attended, I’ve noticed a recurring FOOD theme among the attendees. Directly after sign-in, every diabetic wants to know where the food is, without fail. We could care less about the fire exits, but damn if we don’t need to know ASAP where the bagels and cream cheese are!

After getting lost in a dizzying array of yogurts; Breakfast bars, bagels, muffins, croissants, eggs and a stellar variety of fruits, cheeses. (I settled on a hunk of cheddar and plain croissant.) I circled the room few times looking for Karen from Bittersweet Diabetic.

We’d emailed each other regarding the event and Karen told me she’d be carrying a green ball of yar
n (she’s a crafty chick with sticks, A.K.A. - an amazing knitter) and I kept my eyes peeled for a flash of green. Soon after, I ran into Allison, Gina, and Lee-Ann, (I’d met Allison previously, but not Gina or Lee Ann) and gave them all big hugs! I hugged all the Bloggers I met that day, because honestly, I already felt like I knew them. I feel like I know every one whose Blog I read.

As we walked to a table I mentioned that had been looking for Karen, who at that very moment, happened to be standing less than two feet away. More hugs, more buffet cruising and food talk followed. Then Bernard and Scott S joined the scene and the hugs and salutations were repeated.

On a personal note, I was dressed in black jeans and a black biker jacket – Scott started calling me the “Deviant Diabetic” due to my penchant for black leather
- I took it as a compliment– Diabetic with a whip so to speak – MEOW -How very Anne Margaret/Angelina Jolie of me - ;)

Then it was time for the first part of the conference, which was two hours devoted to the DRI’s research. As we settled in our seats, and just as the first speaker was starting, Val joined us.
The topics discussed were of course all “diabetes centric” and included, the latest DRI research in islet cell transplants & protection and stem cell research. All very interesting and all available in more detail on the DRI’s website.

At that point My B.S was gong a bit crazy, and as I found out later, so was most of the Bloggers. Personally, I think it had to with a number of things. The rushing to arrive to arrive at the event (Val hopped on a train at 4:30 a.m.), the sitting for two hours, and the anticipation of meeting others from dBlogville. After the session, I quickly introduced myself to Amy (seriously, she is SO nice and down to earth) and then went to the first of my breakout session, entitled, When Diabetes Hits Home (for parents) given by Dr. Wendy Satin Rapaport, Psy.D., L.C.S.W.

As a former child with diabetes, I was very interested to see another piece of the diabetes puzzle. I know the issues children with diabetes have and I read many fantastic and telling blogs of parents whose children have diabetes, but I wanted to actually hear the voices as they talked about their P.O.V. The parents also were able to hear from the diabetics in the group – it was eye-opening for all of us. I think both groups walked away with a much better understanding of what the other group go through.

I have to say, Dr. Rapaport speaks my language on so many levels and I love her!
We both feel that humor is key in managing diabetes. That if you can’t laugh about diabetes, you’ll go crazy! She not only validated the way I handled diabetes, she’s downright funny to boot!

Next was lunch and a panel discussion with the discussion topic: “Research News – Hype or Hope,” with Amy Tenderich as Moderator. Amy was wonderful and asked smart questions (many sent to her from her readers) and others asked from audience members. Amy also did a great job on steering the panel back towards topic when the answers went off on another subject.

What I took away was that, big breakthroughs for researchers don’t necessarily mean the same thing to patients – at least in the early stages.

Next, it was off to another breakout section and I chose to once again sit in on Dr. Wendy whose session was about Relationships and Retraining the Diabetes

She pointed out so many things to both the diabetics in the room and the people who love us. Oh yeah – I was ALL OVER THIS!
At one point she asked what if felt like to get an unexpected high blood sugar- on a day in which we’d done everything right. I raised my hand and said (actually spelled) – W. T. F.?

Wendy told me that it was an absolutely correct response, and W.T.F. become a war cry of sorts to those of us in the room that day.

Dr. Wendy also said that studies have shown that those who write about their diabetes actually have lower A1C's. Hmmmm...., interesting. Coincidence or fact? You be the judge. Me, I'm going to keep blogging and watch my A!C go down - hopefully!

The final session was called also hosted by Wendy, and was called “Diabetes Burn Out.” And ALL of us, (t1’s and t3’s alike) not only GOT IT, WE’D LIVED IT! We laughed, we cried, it was better than cats!
At one point, Dr. Wendy asked the group “What do you think when someone says why the hell is your blood sugar 350?” Then, she handed the mike to me. My response was “W.T.F – but thank you so much for your concern regarding my blood sugar!” More laughter ensued and Dr Wendy went even further and stated exactly what the initials meant! Like I said – LOVE HER!

The day ended with a cocktail hour and photo ops. The Bloggers all had the opportunity to chat for a bit. Most of the Bloggers went to dinner but unfortunately,
I had to say my Good-bye’s there. I was going back up town to spend the evening with my friends Mark and Ron, who graciously opened their home to me for the weekend. I'd blown them off for the past 10 hours and felt that maybe they needed a lit
tle attention!

As I left the building I was happy. I’d learned so much and had spent the day with 300 people who spoke my language and understood the day-to-day Diabetesalciiousness of my life. It was AMAZING. Nothing could damper my spirits, not even the fact that I was unable to catch a cab (thanks to the rain) and had to walk 26 blocks to the upper west side. I used that time to take in the sights and sounds of the city and go over the events of my day.

Photo Right: What I saw as I exited The DRI Conference & and began my
trek back toward Mark and Ron's. - Not to sound like a total self absorbed Dia-bitch, but I'm rather pleased with this shot~

Photo Below: Actual aerial footage of my Magnolia Cafe purchase - Note the sprinkled cupcake in the lower right hand corner - YUMMY

At Rockefeller Center I came upon the Holy Grail of cupcakes known as the Magnolia Café and bought ½ a dozen cupcakes for Mark and Ron.
Of course, I found out later, that had I waited until I reached their apartment, I would have realized that there was a Magnolia Café just 2 blocks from their house. No biggie, I carried t
hem for 20 blocks and arrived back unscathed – cupcakes and all.
I was absolutely gushing about the day to my hosts - and they were more than happy ( or the cocktails had kicked in) to hear all about my DRI adventure. After a late dinner and drinks, we went back to the apartment and got ready for bed. I took my blood sugar – 160 and calculated 50 carbs for a sprinkle cupcake. It was beyond delicious.

Two hours later, I took my b.s again and it was 121. W.T.F !? I’d actually achieved Blood Sugar Nirvana!

What a glorious way to end such an extraordinary day.


George said...

That sounds like an awesome day indeed. I just wish your ninja friend could have been there to shout WTF!
Next time.

Scott K. Johnson said...

That sounds like such a great time, and I really wish I could have been there!

Next time I will, and I'll bring G-Money with me. There'll be no stopping us! RAWR!

k2 said...

Very awesome,except for the fact that you could not attend - WTF!

Wish you had been part of it as well!
Can't wait for you and G-Money-Ninja to make an appearance - It should be quite the show!!!


Crystal said...

You achieved Nirvana???!!!!!!!

I am impressed and SO happy for you!!!

Sounds like the event was a hit. It is So nice to be around others that simply get it.

Rock on Deviant! ;-)

Unknown said...

Wow, sad that I missed it. Think they'll have one next year?

Cara said...

I'm so sad!!!! I want to meet that many bloggers! And all at once, too! :P
One day.... I swear, anyone who lives in the lovely Northeast is going to know I'm coming and I am going to meet up with some of them!
It sounds like you guys had lots of fun.

Karen said...

Never underestimate the power of your favorite lipstick!! It's known to work miracles. My former boss used to say we all dragged around the office tired and cranky, but the minute we put on our lipstick before going to happy hour, we all transforming into happy, energetic people!! (He called it Magic Lipstick) WTF?

Yup,the first thing I heard you say that morning was "I'm supposed to look for knitting" - and I knew it was you and you were looking for me! Just another benefit of knitting - it's great for identification. After all, how many other people at the seminar had a half-knit green & black sock in their bag? WTF?

Mmmm, those cupcakes look divine. Did they taste as good at they look? Like you, I ran so high all day - it was the worst B.S. day I've had in ages (that's Blood Sugar, all though my reading were b.s.). But after a chocolate souffle for at dinner I came down to 137. Two hours later, before bed, I was 67 and needed a snack! WTF???

Anyway, it was so awesome meeting you - and we will do it again soon!!

k2 said...

CP -
I was shocked regarding the whole Blood Sugar Nirvana acheivment-I strongly believe the cupcake had something to do with it!
The event was wonderful and I was "among my people" in every sense of the term ;)

Hannah -
They will have another one next yr and you will go - even if I have to drag you myself! Maybe we can get the DRI to do a Philly stop!

Karen -
I'm all about lipstick, I always make sure I have a variety in my bag and I always no just the one I want to wear - of course, that was the one I had a problem locating - WTF!
I thought the same thing regarding your flash of green - no one else in the place could be carrying their knitting arsenal - what a great marker for you - WTF
The cupcakes were heavenly - and obviously very good for my B.S.
Looks like we have stumbled on to the Cupcake/ Chocolate Souffle B.S secret - though I think it needs further "study"before we actually can confirm or deny-WTF!
It was awesome meeting you as well and I can't wait to see you again! WTF!!!

k2 said...

Cara -
Your comments keep getting lost in my Blogger.com - they never make it to gmail!
You better give a shout out whenever your on the East Coast - because we need to get together!