Thursday, June 27, 2013

#2013ADA: A Global Diabetes Village~

As for me,  I believe that it takes a Global Diabetes Village to live; understand, treat, empower & hopefully one day cure people living with diabetes. And for me, the American Diabetes Association’s 73rd Scientific Sessions was the embodiment of that D Global Village coming together and uniting~

So I’m still discombobulated (it’s my new “old” favorite word,) from attending the American Diabetes Associations 73rd Scientific Sessions in Chicago. 
It was Diabetes in all dimensions for four days and so much info was being thrown at me in the form of lectures, symposiums, meetings, etc that I still am digesting it all! 

 So here are a few thoughts while I continue to digest the experience  and get back on track in my world.

I strongly believe that it takes a Global Diabetes Village when it comes to living with diabetes - I'm not trying to get political, it's just how I feel. 
And I had the opportunity to meet many members of that Global D Village at #2013ada

I had the opportunity to talk with (and just as importantly, listen to) scientists; Endo’s, CDEs, nurses, Pharma and other empowered patients and their families talk. And the global diabetes village concept was what kept going through my head for days and days. 
While we live in a big world, social media has made the world of diabetes even smaller, communication more immediate and widespread. 
Diabetes was the topic not just in the hallways of the convention center, diabetes was the topic on shuttles, taxis & the metta. When a scientist sitting next to me whilewaiting for the metta (metro) told me that he purposely  induced hypoglycemic episodes to have a better understanding of what being low actually felt like, I was simultaneously impressed and worried for him at the same time. 

Why would anyone purposely do that do themselves if they didn’t have too??? But the fact that he was both amazed and disturbed by how he felt and wanted to prevent others from feeling that way, showed me how much he really cared... And how much he really "got" it. 

Diabetes was the the topic of no holds barred conversations at breakfast, lunch, dinner and happy hours. Incredibly honest conversations - and not all of them polite, either. 
But those conversations helped me as an empowered patient to understand the science, research and pharma side, of a disease where 95% of the care is in my/our hands. 
And I like to think maybe I (and by "I", I mean WE - as in other Diabetes Bloggers in attendance,) helped more than a few people to understand the human and day to day, 24X7, 365 days a year with no time off for good behavior, side of living with diabetes.

Bottom line:  “If each person helps another person, the world will change,” lives will be saved - And people with diabetes and who work in the Diabetes Global Village will pay it forward. 
Don’t take my word for it, watch THIS video produced by The Diabetes Hands Foundation and see those words in action!

I was lucky enough to hear the fabulous Kelly Close talk live about her experience test driving the Bionic Pancreas trial at the t:slim dinner on Saturday night. Kelly reminded us all how much time in our lives is consumed with diabetes trickery and treatment. 
And early Sunday evening, when I was literally trapped in my hotel room waiting fro a 48 blood sugar to go up before I could actually leave said hotel room and grab a cab to attended the Johnson & Johnson DOC Exchange dinner, Kelly’s words once again rang through head: 
During the trial, I also had a striking epiphany about living with diabetes: “Oh my gosh, I waste so much time having diabetes!” Being distracted because of a low, doing all these things to make sure I’m staying in range, and the super big time-leech, hyperglycemia. Whew! I felt like my whole world changed when I was constantly in a state of normoglcyemia. And then I wondered how much I try to be "normal" and make it "seem" like diabetes is easy to manage – that mentality is also probably exhausting, even though I'm not even aware of it.”

And at that moment in time when I was running late and so very mad at myself and my low blood sugar, all I wanted do was tell my diabetes to leave me alone! I wanted to stop having to wait for diabetes to get with my program, instead of always having to get on my diabetes program. 

And there were so many moments of Diabetes wonder - Like too many to write in one post.  
One in particular was a pretty awesome because I had the opportunity to watch from the side lines as my very own Endo presented in the Poster Hall. I literally beamed with pride at my Rocking Dr. J!
Another D moment of wonder and awesomeness was when I met DOC member Renza Scibilia in Chicago from Australia. I’d know Renza from the DOC, and I  consider her a friend. But I actually got a chance to talk with her face to face and give her a hug in real time - Amazing and priceless! 

And ironically at that moment - I loved that diabetes had given me such a beautiful opportunity. 

This Diabetes Global Village is many levels and multifaceted  - It’s amazing and awe inspiring - And communication is paramount to all the members of the D Global Village. Communication helps us to understand one another and help one another, whether we live with diabetes, or work in the diabetes arena.. or both.
And there was a hell a lot of valuable information being communicated in all dimensions at #2013ada  !!


Scully said...

So touching and beautifully written as always.
I really REALLY liked this!

Rhonda B said...

Yeah, what she said :)

Kristin said...

I'm still stuck on the scientists who induced hypoglycemia out of empathy... Amazing detail. Great write-up - many thanks!