Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Medtronic Diabetes Advocate Forum Post 1: The Things I Can't Stop Thinking About!

The 2014 Medtronic Diabetes Advocate Forum  
I’ve been staring at my computer screen for days (l kid you not,) and feeling stuck due to writing roadblocks in my head and put there by me~ 

I kept thinking: What can I say that hasn’t already been said about the Medtronic Diabetes Advocate Forum - And might I add, said so very eloquently from other members of my DOC family? 
How can I accurately articulate all that went down at the forum and in my heart, while incorporating the technical touch points of the forum with the emotions experienced at #medtronicDAF in one post? 

That wasn't working for me personally - At least not in this particular post - So many things were being discussed that it's easier for me to break things down in different posts instead of including everything in one

So I decided to write what I couldn’t stop thinking about first - And write about the science, technology, and the thumbs-up verses thumbs-down later. 

This post is about being inspired and re-energized in my diabetes advocacy efforts and in my own abilities to advocate for myself in all dimensions - And hopefully paying forward those feelings of being re-energized and re-committed on to you!

I was inspired by so many people and things at the Medtronic Diabetes Advocate Forum, a.k.a., #medtronicDAF. 

I was inspired by the communication flying across the room, whether it was technical and scientific,the breakout sessions or the brain storming sessions led by George, Bennet, Scott and Mean Scott and the actions that we - The DOC and industry can work together on. 
Speaking of, check out today’s post from Bennet and take be a part of the brainstorming  via the survey on today’s blog post. 

I was incredibly inspired by my fellow D advocates and the Medtronic folks in the room coming together and not just communicating, but really talking with and to one another instead of “at” and regardless of whether or not we agreed with one another or not.   

I was (and continue to be,) inspired and blown away by Dr. Francine Kaufman's passion and expertise in treating diabetes. Dr. Francine is a Diabetes Super Shero in my book. 
A pediatric Endo who has devoted her career to helping children with diabetes GLOBALLY and hands on via IDF's Life for A Child program
Dr. Kaufman was incredibly candid and reminded every single person in the room that it’s not just about us - It’s about every single person in the world living with diabetes.  

Dr. Fancine not only talked, but explained in graphic detail about the deplorable conditions in Haiti & other countries for children and adults living with diabetes, she showed us facts followed by examples like but not limited to: 
80% morality rate for type 1 diabetics in Haiti - That statistic was backed up by a picture of a child who died because there was no insulin for that child. Every person in the room was crying.
There is no such thing as dialysis in Haiti - If you ended up with renal failure, you’re done.  
Dr. Kaufman told us a story about parents in India who felt it was OK to let their newly diagnosed t1 daughter “go” because she no longer had any worth. 
Sidebar: It's not OK, she does have worth, her parents finally "got" that and didn’t let “her go" and today she's alive and doing well~

Dr. Kaufman explained that while t1 treatment in China at the time of diagnoses and in the hospital was great, treatment once the patient went home was anything but. 

And because of that, Medtronic and China’s MOH (Ministry of Health) are working together on a care pathway for both children and adults with type 1 diabetes. 

Life for A Child also works to provide insulin to people in The United States for those who don't have access to it. During hurricane Katrina, Life for A Child was the first organization to get insulin and supplies. I didn't know that, but I do now. 

At one point Dr. Kaufman stated: How do you figure out the next step for pwds in countries where there's no diabetes management, let alone guarantee of insulin?”  

And that would be when the 'Spare A Rose, Save A Child" campaign talk talk turned into a tsunami of action as PWDs, both in the room and in the twittervierse, and the folks at Medtronic came together and committed to make a real difference in people living with diabetes globally. 
Looking over to my right I saw Kerri furiously taking notes as everyone in the room started sharing ideas on how to take 'Spare A Rose, Save A Child', to the stratosphere this year! 
It was reminiscent of those old black and white “Andy Hardy” movies with Judy Garland & Mickey Rooney. You know the ones where Mickey & Judy & Company put on a show to raise money and show the world (usually their parents,) what they can do. 
And then someone says: I have a barn! And then simultaneously other people start to chime in: I can write the show, I’ll sell tickets,” "I’ll handle the costumes!” And so on - And then all of a sudden they produce a show that saves the day! 
YES, I watch too many old movies and I'm OK with that, but back to the D production at hand.

This D production isn’t about actors fighting over whose name is first on the Marquee or who gets more stage/screen time. 
Nope, this production is about BOX OFFICE for the greater good of people globally living the diabetes life. It’s about saving lives. Stay tuned for more info on the 2014 SpareARose campaign - There's a part for you in it! Let's get this D show going!

Finally, I was inspired by David Lee Strasberg, And yes, I see the irony of my movie and stage references, but that wasn’t planned, but it makes me happy!
David is a T1, father of a t1, son of Lee, and Medtronic’s guest speaker/facilitator of the  Connecting with Your Core & Diabetes Advocating: Moving Forward Workshops. 
David is a method actor (of course he is,) and David tells it like it is. 
And he's funny,  incredibly intuitive and can read you like a book within a few minutes of talking with you. His first words to the group: I want more communication and less shame with diabetes.
Sound familiar? David is DOC people for sure! 
And David taught me (us) that in order to advocate and ask/help for others - I/we need to advocate and ask for myself - And to lead with truth - even if the truth scares me. 
David took his talk a step further and directed us in exercises that had us do just that. 
I’m going to let you guys in on a secret about me. I can advocate for others in the DOC no problem - And I’m incredibly verbal about advocating for my own health - But when it comes to advocating for myself in all dimensions?? I need to work on it.
Sometimes going for the ask can be paralyzing & it can stop you in your tracks. 
I get it, I've experienced it - And I want to move past and embrace all the good that "going for the ask brings.
David’s secessions reinforced the fact that in order to be the best advocate for the DOC, 
I have to give myself the same permission to go for “the ask,” in life and my life with diabetes - Regardless of the outcome - And regardless of the fear associated with the outcome. 
We, each and everyone of us, are not only worth “the ask," we deserve “the ask.” 
Sounds simple enough - But for the first time in a very long while that point is sticking with me. 
So I’m going "for the ask" and asking you to do the same. 
And I say damn the torpedoes and the fear of pressing the SEND button can bring!

To read more DOC thoughts on the #medtronicDAF checkout these great blogs/podcasts listed in no particular order - And if I'm missing any posts, please let me know and I'll add them, ASAP!

Full Disclosure: Medtronic paid for my flight lodging and expenses, but all thoughts are mine and mine alone. 


Cara said...

I love all your references. :) They made me smile. Also, I think that we are all feeling renewed after this weekend. Time to get the fire lit under everyone that wasn't there. We can do it. We just have to go for "the ask." :)

StephenS said...

I've been encouraged by what everyone's written about this gathering so far! Kelly, I'm glad you were in the room to experience it.

Richard's Rambling Review said...

Thanks Kelly, I'm sure you inspired many of your readers, including me. I am going to try and visit all the links you posted. Thanks for those!

Karen said...

You have absolutely captured an experience that seems almost impossible to capture!! Thank you for such a great recap on an incredible few days. And now, onward and upward!!