There's absolutely nothing in the world like a D-Meet up!
Not to long ago, I had the chance to have lunch with a Fran Carpentier, a PWD, Mom, Wife, Senior Editor and Writer at Parade.com. Fran writes about food, health and diabetes and not necessarily in that order. She’s sat on many a diabetes board and or committee, has met and interviewed a real life Jonas, and is funny to boot!
I first met Fran at the Diabetes Research Institutes Research Update last October in NYC. We didn’t have much of a chance to talk one on one because we’d meet 10 minutes before we had to file into the conference. But I did get to see a glimpse of both Fran’s personality and diabetes perspective that day because she was an active participant in the DRI’s “Hype or Hope” discussion panel and she made me smile whenever she spoke.
I reconnected with Fran at the Roche Media Summit this past July and we bonded on the shuttle to the restaurant the night before the conference. Later that evening on the shuttle back to the hotel when Fran whispered in my ear, “ That meal was fantastic, but did you see what passes for Mozzarella in Indiana?” And with that, I knew we’d be friends for life.
Fran is one smart cookie, and one awesome PWD. She makes me laugh, while inspiring me to learn and use my voice.
When I knew I was going to be in NYC for a few days to attend a 4-day whirlwind wedding extravaganza weekend (I dare you to say that three-times fast) that included 4 days of wedding related parties and or activities, I emailed Fran and we scheduled lunch.
Cut to September 4th, and me sitting on the train, impatiently waiting for the minutes to pass. Fran called and asked, “What are your blood sugars like? Because I’m considering an Italian restaurant for us to meet at, but if your blood sugars are on the crazy high side- we can go somewhere else.”
That question right there and the reason for it made me all warm and happy inside. It’s little things like inquiring about another PWD’s blood sugar in order to pick a place to eat that are so uniquely diabetes centric. It wasn’t said accusingly or to make me feel bad. On the contrary, it was just said to make our lunch more enjoyable and less stressful in case my numbers happened to be going north. My blood sugars where good and Fran’s were heading south. She mentioned a Diner called The Tick Tock across the street from Penn Station and we decided that would be the place, with an ETA of 1:15.
My train arrived 15 minutes early so I went to the restaurant, hit the bathroom, and grabbed us a table in that order.
Fran walked in 10 minutes later and on time might I add, and we hugged each other tight- I WAS SO HAPPY TO SEE HER!
We started gabbing immediately and couldn’t stop! We talked about life; work, family, diabetes, and our lives with diabetes. The waitress “circled La Guardia”, and tried to take our order 4 different times, but neither of us had even looked at the menu. Finally, we told her we’d call her over when we were ready- and proceeded to talk for another 10 minutes before we cracked open out menus!
At long last, we flagged our waitress down and were ready (and really hungry) to order. We decided on breakfast for lunch. We both ordered eggs (Fran went with eggs sunny side up with turkey bacon & I ordered my eggs scrambled with salsa and turkey sausage- but I digress) and continued talking. The only time we one of us stopped was to listen when the other spoke.
Our meals arrived we were famished! Of course the food didn’t stop us from talking- it just added a few extra pauses here and there.
We sat and shared our experiences growing up with Diabetes and how the times had changed dramatically since we’d been diagnosed. We talked about previous relationships with friends and significant others, and what part diabetes played in those relationships.
We talked about how our diabetes had affected our families and how our families affected our diabetes.
Ironically, we both felt that diabetes was so much a part of who we are and how we live our lives, that things like taking our blood sugars have became surprisingly second nature and automatic. “I just do it automatically!” Fran stated emphatically- and I agreed!
Fran was diagnosed with Diabetes at 14, and she didn’t let it stop her in any way shape or form. She became a professional writer, participated in the Diabetes Control and Complications trial, got married, got divorced, met the love of her life and married him, and gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Fran lives her life in BOLD LETTERS AND SCREAMING CAPS and is a kindred spirit in every sense of the word. She’s this fantastic combination of sweet and sophisticated, with New York tough and street smarts all rolled into one. At the same time, she’s got a heart that’s bigger than the city itself.
When was time to leave, I didn’t want to say goodbye.
Fran is what my family would call “Good People.” And I would have to agree. BUT, I also think she's pretty damn FABULOUS~