Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Finally, My Experience at #CWDFFL2017 - It Was AWESOME

First my apologies for not posting sooner. 5 days after I returned from CWDFFL, I came down with a nasty viral infection (that I’d probably been fighting off since before I went to Orlando,) that left me with a low grade fever and down for the count for a little over 2 weeks.I've never felt so horrible in my life, I never want to feel that way again. 
More about that ridiculousness in another post because late or not, I want to share my Children With Diabetes Friends For Life, experience.
And yeah, I agreee - IT'S ABOUT DAMN TIME.
When People ask me about the Children with Diabetes, Friends For Life Conference - it’s hard to put into words - and it’s not. 
It’s truly amazing being around people who “get it,” without ever having to utter the D word. 
The immediate friendship and feelings of “me too," that green and orange bracelets bring not only prove that you are not alone - it’s also makes you feel safe and connected  - even if you’re attending the conference by yourself - TRUST ME. 

HAPPY - so much happy!
Watching First Timers became part of the mix makes my heart happy for several reasons. I was a First Timer once, I know how it feels - I also know how it feels when the First Timer fears wash away and the feelings of happiness and community replace them - it’s freaking magical. 

Having a green bracelet wearing child see your green bracelet and watch as you change out your insulin pump reservoir between sessions, and then come up to you all excited saying: Mommy and I just changed out my reservoir too!
And then you get excited and all of a sudden you’re grabbing snacks from the snack table and have become fast friends - and friends for life. SO COOL.

All of It
Laura Hugs; hanging with my DOC peeps in real life, watching some special children with diabetes (and their equally amazing siblings,)  I’ve loved over the years grow up and continue on with the fabulous - And damn if I don’t swell with pride!

Hanging out with friends who have become family and that you see for one week every year  - so many hugs, so much laughter - and it makes you feel great to be alive!

Meeting new adults and children with diabetes and having them become part of the tribe.
And don't even get me started on the Jalapeno Margaritas!

Caring - so much damn caring. 
The unspoken rule of “no man or woman left behind,” and seeing it put into action time and time again. Like when your friend experiences a low and you and your friends spring into action - one goes and grabs a soda, the other offers glucose tabs, and another stays with with your friend - and a Disney employee name Christal from the Snack Bar, runs up with juice and food because Disney not only knows that  CWD,FFL is in town, but are there to help anyone in a green bracelet experiencing a low/ high blood sugar, or anything in-between. 

Whether it’s having friends (who are parents to a grown up t1 daughter and newly minted mommy,) pick you up juice boxes and bottled water at Publix because they worry about you having middle of the night lows - and the wife waits in her car while her husband walks you back to your room and refuses to let you carry any packages. 
Also, said D mama was very specific as to what brand and flavor of juice boxes required because she knows PWD (people with diabetes,) have their preferences. 
Or your PWD friend from the UK, who brings you Cadbury chocolate from Merry Olde England because she knows how much you dig British sweets! 

There’s the feeling of safety felt when I experienced a nasty low on my way back from the exhibit hall - and my friend Joanne ( an awesome chick and DMomma,) sat with me while I downed a Mickey Mouse Ice Cream pop. 
Then Jeff Hitchcock stopped over and said - it’s OK, you’re not alone -and again, the feelings of safety and security washed over me. 

I kid you not, you're awe inspired every damn day at CWD,FFL. In awe of the children, adults, staff, speakers, performers, faculty and yes, in awe of the sunsets! 

On a personal note, I watched in awe as children with and without diabetes come up to the IwishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes booth and drop truth bombs and words of wisdom - same goes for the adults! 

Personal note, part 2. There’s the gift of my own personal journey -not always diabetes related - personal insights from D friends, when they saw that I was  struggling with things having nothing to do with diabetes - and care enough about me to take me aside and talk. 
You know who you are. Thank-you and IRREPLACEABLE. 

CWD,FFL feels like home, because it has become just that to all those who attend. 

Bottom Line: Every day at CWD,FFL there are boatloads of wisdom; tears, laughter, (SO MUCH LAUGHTER,) knowledge, understanding and everything else in between - you are surrounded by those feelings for a solid week.

The Children With Diabetes, Friends For Life Conference is wonderful and overwhelming all rolled into one - and I wouldn’t trade that week in Orlando (IN JULY,) for anything! 

If you have a child with diabetes, or an adult with diabetes - give yourself the gift of attending CWD,FFL!
Here's the LINK to all the upcoming CWD conferences so you can do just that!
And you can thank me when we’re hanging out by the pool next July ;)

1 comment:

StephenS said...

Just got around to reading this, but so glad I didn't miss it. Hope you're feeling like yourself again, and I'm glad that FFL keeps getting better!