Monday, April 4, 2011

Meri Tyler Moore or Sponge Mom Sappy Pants.

I was bone dry.

I entered the airport terminal like a weathered sponge who had sat in the sun for days. My body ached for relief.

I didn't know what to expect from the Medtronic Advocate Forum I was to attend. It was a complete unknown, and although I was scared to death of traveling alone for the first see people I had only seen within the 17 inch parameters of my computer screen, I couldn't help but smirk to myself as I walked through the jetway to the airplane...

I was ready.

As dry as I was, I was ready to soak up all the hope for the future I could. There was a heaviness to the moment...I knew this trip would mean something.

But when I got off the plane in L.A. the heaviness abated...there was a lightness to my step. The adrenaline had taken over as I was alive with anticipation. If I had a hat, I'm sure I would have thrown it. It was a Meri Tyler Moore moment for sure.

The second I entered the hotel lobby and saw the group of bloggers/writers/advocates chatting in the group I felt plumper already. Just to see their smiling, enthusiastic faces made my trip worthwhile. I spent the evening soaking up every word I could. They couldn't talk about anything without it being fascinating to me. They were my age...some maybe a bit younger, some maybe a bit older, but regardless I felt only motherly towards each and every one. It was like looking into the eyes of my boys' future...and I wanted to know it all.

People with diabetes are remarkable. Adults and children alike. There is no getting around it.

Entering Medtronic was humbling. They had a museum of insulin pump/diabetes history that brought tears to my eyes instantly. I was emotional the entire day. Wrapping my brain around the information being presented brought a plethora of emotions to the surface, with the most immense emotion being gratitude.

Geniuses were paraded in front of us. Each one with a personal connection to Type 1 Diabetes. Each one with a drive and thought process far beyond anything I've ever imagined. I wish everyone of you could have witnessed the emotion, the genuine enthusiasm these people have. The human element of Medtronic was the clincher.

We asked how. They would tell us.

We asked why. They would tell us.

We asked what and when. They couldn't tell us...well not exactly.

They couldn't tell us about any products that have not yet been green lighted by the FDA. We vented our frustrations and they echoed back each frustration. All they could tell us is we are going to be happy with what is coming.

They are frustrated. It is like they are being water boarded by the FDA...they are being asked to jump ridiculous hurdles to get us the technology that we are longing for. They have it ready. They want to bring it to us. They are bringing us what they can, as soon as they can. There are tradeoffs for this...but every decision they make is with us in mind. The technological future for our children, and for our friends with diabetes is in good hands.

Lane Desborough is Medtronic's Project Strategist. I think they invented this position just for him. He is that genius. His son was diagnosed recently and through a series of events he ended up working for Medtronic. He is thinking outside the box and is crossing industry lines to find new innovative ways to further pump technology. He knows we have too much stuff to carry around and dreams about getting it all down to one device. He too is frustrated that he can get any number in the world with his cell phone, except the most important...his son's blood sugar number. He is working on it.

Seriously, I am going to sleep better at night knowing this guy is on our side. Medtronic also has brought in the mother of the Droid. She is working for the company now. Can you tell I'm impressed?

I'm just a mom. I'm not a reporter or someone with thousands of followers. Sure, there is a chance I'm more easily impressed than others in this world...but I'm not completely gullible. I think everyone in attendance was pleasantly surprised with this forum. They even brought in Dr. Richard Rubin from Johns Hopkins to talk about the "person." Medtronic knows diabetes isn't just about machines...there is a person behind the pump making hundreds of decisions a day...and that person risks facing burn out from this demanding disease. Dr. Rubin is getting his own post...I don't want to overwhelm you with everything I learned. I so wish each and every one of you were in that room with me.

I was dripping with hope when I left. I squeezed every drop of juice out of this experience. If I was a dry sponge before I attended...I left a rotund squishy mess. Hell, just call me Sham-Wow.

I'm owning my sappiness people. Maybe it was being surrounded by such amazing/fun/intelligent PWD's. Maybe it was hearing the Vice President of CGM business say, "We hear you." Maybe it was watching a room full of people meticulously assemble each CGM sensor by hand. Maybe it was splitting up in small groups and having face time with people in the company that can make things happen. Maybe it was knowing that the people with Medtronic that DON'T have diabetes, sign up regularly to wear the product...use the product. They want to know what it is like. More than anything is seems Medtronic empathizes with our plight. And that gives me hope beyond measure.

Maybe my attendance to this forum didn't change the world.

But it changed me.

Thank you Medtronic for the invitation. Why you picked me exactly, I do not know. But this experience has changed my path. No, not completely...but the compass is shifting. I want to know more. I'm hungry for information...if I can make the smallest of a difference, I stand ready to do it.

Please visit Amy at Diabetes Mine to learn more of the specific details...she also has posted the "silly" pic of all of us at the forum.


  1. I think this post explains EXACTLY why you were invited - it's hard to convey to an audience exactly what an experience like that means, how it feels, what it looked like. And you've done just that. Beautifully, as usual.

    Thanks so much for sharing your take on the event. I'm so glad you were there.

  2. You are such an inspiration, and I agree with Kim about that being exactly the reason for your invite. You represent this community so well, an we're all so very lucky you were a part of that group. Thanks for that!

  3. Meri, You certainly summed up all the wonderfulness of the event. So glad I had the chance to meet you and chat with you. Your reputation as a fantastic parentcreas is intact, even though you don't have a tidy, organized diabetes go-bag!

  4. Thank you for being willing to go. I hope the people who attend things like this & Roche realize that they aren't just the voices of people with diabetes, they are the voices of us who blog as well. Sure I live with diabetes as well as blog, but the fact that I didn't get invited means that they invited someone else. And I am continually impressed with the people that these companies pick. You are an amazing blogger (I wish I had time to comment more often). And you were asked because you respresent those of us who weren't invited. You do a great job of it. And I'm glad you got the chance. You are letting us in on the stuff that we might not get a chance to experience otherwise.

  5. First of all... you are way too cute :)

    I am so glad you were chosen to go. I can not think of a better, more devoted D mama that I would want to represent me. Reading this just makes me smile. I can't wait to see what they come out with next.

  6. Oh Meri you made me cry reading about your experience at Medtronic. I am so thrilled you socked up everything and they picked the right person in YOU sister - you have such an incredibleness (is that a word?) to share with others. It sounds like a wonderful company and I hear everyone raving over Lane D.
    SO glad you got to go and thank YOU for representing us parents.

  7. Meri, I am thrilled that you were able to attend this event. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I am so happy to hear that it gave you so much hope! Yay for Medtronics! Yay for one of my favorite D Mamas!!!

  8. Meri you are amazing. You tell everyone your storey, you days and nights about having children with type 1. You touch lives each day, you make a difference in this world. You are a wonderful advocate for this disease, and I pray that there is an easier way to manage this disease. I pray that one day there is a cure!

  9. Love the pic!

    Such an amazing experience for you, so glad you were there to represent us D mamas!

    You rock!

  10. I'm so glad it was such a good trip! Reading this post left me with hope! Such an uplifting post! I can't wait to see what Medtronic debuts next, and it thrills me to no end to know that such capable people are at the helm of the company.

  11. Are you in the Argyle? Or it looks to be Argyle...tannish and maybe with some pink....OH.GOD.I.LOVE.YOU!!! In a D-MAMA-SISTERHOOD-INSULIN-AND-JUICE-WIELDING-SORT-OF-WAY!!! xoxoxoo

    Your post gives me hope too. Is the "Mother of the Droid"...the droid phone's mother? I have one of those! I want a CGM to communicate with that bad boy!!! I need to see Joe's BGs while he skates to victory!

  12. Oh Meri! What is left to say?!? You did us proud, Mama! Like Lora, I think you were the perfect choice to represent all of us parentcreases out there! I love your enthusiasm. YOU give me hope!!

  13. Oh Meri! Im so happy and proud for you!!

  14. I am so glad you had this experience and are sharing it with all your sappy glory :)

  15. REPRESENT! Meri, I agree with all above ..I feel so proud knowing you were representing all us D mamas. Glad you got to go be a part of this and that it was everything you hoped for and more. Rock on Mama!

  16. You are AWESOME, and that's why they chose YOU! I'm so proud of you-you wrote and described it SO perfectly!! I wish I'd been there-it sounds wonderful, and I'm so happy with Medtronic-and with Lane and the droid-mama too! You give me HOPE! : )

    ..And I'm thinking the THREE kids with diabetes helped too!! : )

    THANK YOU for going and reporting so eloquently-spongy and juicy and all!

  17. Yeah the Medtronic folks were nice and all but dinner with all of y'all the night before was awesome.

    And it was AMAZING to meet you in real life!!
    I miss you!

  19. Meri - that sounds AMAZING, and I feel hopeful just reading this small bit about it. Can't wait to hear more! You look great in the photo! =)

  20. BECAUSE YOU ARE *MERI*!!! And Meri is amazing :)

    Loved this post and LOVE YOU!

  21. What a great experience that must have been! I got teary eyed just reading all about it! And I agree with each and every one of the commenters here... you were picked because you are you! You articulated your experiences,feelings, and emotions at that event so well, and touched your readers with every word so deep, THAT is why you were picked! Thank you for sharing your experience with us!!

  22. I'm missing you, Meri. Are you MIA with Hallie? : ) Hope you have a great weekend!! : ) Holly

  23. It's so hard to recap a day as amazing at that was, but you did a wonderful job. I'm so glad I got to experience it all with you and it was awesome to meet you. I felt like we were old friends from the minute you walked in. :)


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