Last Saturday I had the honor of attending, and participating as faculty at the TCOYD conference in Santa Rosa, California.
Amy Tenderich of Diabetes Mine asked to me to sit in a forum and discuss “living with diabetes online.”
Most of you know I was extremely ill the previous weeks, and it was nothing short of a miracle that I was in good enough health to attend. I was still coughing, (I AM still coughing,) but I could walk upright…so that in itself gave me the green light to get off my couch and go.
I brought my mother with me. She is an insulin dependent type 2. She was diagnosed about 5 years ago and we have some suspicion that she may be a LADA patient, rather than type 2. LADA stands for Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults. Basically it is an adult that acquires type one, with an onset that is generally quite slow going. The beta cells are killed at a slower pace, so often those with LADA are diagnosed with Type 2. My mother has asked to be tested to see which diabetes she really has, but has been put off by her doctors. She’ll get the test eventually…but right now she is doing all she can to Take Control of HER Diabetes.
So this conference was a perfect fit for her!
We attended some sessions together. I would have to say that she gleaned much more information than I did. The conference seemed more applicable for the Type 2 community…although there were many workshops that offered help for both communities.
Some things I DID learn:
You get what you give. They showed examples of what they called, “The Extreme Diabetes Makeover.” They took a bunch of Type 2 and Type 1 Diabetics and gave them the whole gamut of support. The results in less than a year yielded A1C’s that were literally cut in half. It goes to show the right support team is invaluable when it comes to diabetes. If your endo isn’t actively trying to help you take control…if your endo or doctor is not empathetic to the cause…then it is time for a new endo.
They showed a map of the prevalence of diabetes 10 or 20 years ago. (The states with a higher than 3% diagnosis rate were colored red.) There were a few states colored red. Today the entire map is red. I knew that diabetes, both type 1 and 2 were on the rise…I wasn’t surprised at the statistics at all. But just looking at the map made it all more real. Not a fun feeling really.
In another workshop I learned that when a man gets angry, three parts of his brain light up. When a woman gets angry, SEVEN parts of her brain light up. Again…not too surprising. :) The workshop talked about our “caveman” emotions. That we all have an automatic-gut-reaction-emotions to EVERYTHING. We need to identify what the triggers are that make us angry and upset, and then we need to accept…and deal with that emotion head on.
The Happy Diabetic workshop was our favorite. He talked about his diabetes, his denial of it all and did a kick-butt cooking demonstration. We learned that if you have vegetable oil in your pantry…throw it away…and throw it away NOW. Cook only with Canola oil and olive oil. (I checked, that is what I have in my pantry...phew!)
Our conference was next. Participation was much smaller than anticipated as the main Doctor of the conference, Dr. Edelman, had his most popular workshop in the giant room the same time as ours. We were o.k. with the smaller audience. We hoped we could reach out more personally with the attendees. I don’t think I was prepared for the diversity of the audience though. There were many older type 2 adults who simply came to find out what to type on their computers to find a community that would understand them. There were parents of Type 1’s…there were adult type 1’s and there were people who simply wanted to know technically how to get their website out there.
We started out with each of us going up with our power points and giving a spiel about ourselves. I of course got all weepy talking about why I go online. I talked about the power of “same” and the relief to know there are others who 100% get it. Afterwards we opened it up to a question and answer forum and tried our best to satisfy all the answers in the audience.
All in all it was a success, and that is something! It was a good introduction for me in an advocating forum. I hope to have more opportunities to get out there and let people know they don’t have to be alone in all this anymore.
The vendor fair was pretty rockin’, although I think I missed out on some as I only walked through first thing in the morning. I had an opportunity to speak for a good five minutes with Billy Mills, the Olympic gold medalist. He is a very sweet man and it was a blast talking face to face, speaking so candidly with a legend. It was a really cool experience and I will remember it always.
Thank you TCOYD for welcoming me into your family. What you are doing is nothing short of amazing. Encouraging thousands of people to Take CONTROL of their Diabetes is an admirable cause indeed! Keep up the good work! I know many lives were changed for the better after attending the conference last week…my mother’s included!