Roche Summit – Part 2 – The Fun

A quick disclaimer.  I’m having a lot of trouble writing this because there is just simply too much goodness to put into words.  To all that were at the summit, I love you guys, and am honored to have had an opportunity to give each and every one of you a big hug.  To those that couldn’t make it, I missed you guys, I wish you ALL could have been there, and I will keep working on that big hug.  We are all in this diabetes thing together, and that bond is so much stronger than any of us can imagine.

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Last post I talked a little bit about the business aspect of the meeting.  This post I’d like to talk a little more about the fun parts.  Though, as I mentioned, there’s nowhere near enough time/space/attention to cover it all at once. It’s going to take me months to decompress and share little bits and pieces with you.

I love people watching at the airport.  I always wonder where they are coming from or going to.  Are they traveling for business or pleasure?  And that lady there, does she know she looks a lot like Amy Tenderich? I mean, seriously, like twin sister!  Could it be her?  No way – she’s from San Francisco. What on earth would she be doing here in Minneapolis?  Besides, I’ve never even MET her, do I really know what she looks like?  And just like that I was on to the next group of travelers and back to my music…

When the flight landed in Indianapolis I shuffled along with the rest of the flight down to the baggage claim and after a brief stop for a Coke (my BG was heading south) checked in with a driver that Roche arranged for.  The driver asked me if I was with “the other lady and guy” and pointed over to the baggage area.  Sure as shit, there was Amy freaking Tenderich waving to me!  It WAS her in Minneapolis! I had been riding on the same plane with her the whole time!  Scott King was also on the same flight, and I had the pleasure of riding to the hotel with both of them. Talk about a couple of smart cookies!

Picture of three Scotts
Scott King, Scott Strumello, Scott Johnson

At the hotel there were a group of folks hanging around in the bar by the lobby.  It was amazing.  Here, in front of my face, were a dozen people who I have learned to love and respect, people who I have bonded with in ways that are stronger than what I could have possible imagined.  And here they are.  My tongue got stuck and my brain was only firing on half of its cylinders.  Total Sensory Overload.  I’m surprised that smoke didn’t start pouring out of my ears.

From that moment on, it was just “wow” after “wow” for the whole trip.  Later that night, after the Roche “Meet and Greet” dinner, I was sitting across the table from George ,Kerri ,Christel, Kelly, Crystal, and Gina thinking that it had to be a dream. I suppose the fact that I was half in the bottle didn’t help.

Picture of George, Kerri, Christel, Gina, Crystal, Kelly
I love the look on George’s face!

After a while, Bennet and Chris T. got us kicked out of the hotel lobby bar, so we moved the party up to a room.  It was a little more quiet and easier to visit, which was nice.  We visited the hours away, sharingsome laughs and some tears.  In short, it was a brief time where we could hang out and chat in a comfortable and safe setting.  Everyone in the room knew just how challenging it can be living with diabetes.  Everyone in the room is also a huge inspiration to me, in that they are all living life well and doing big things, including wrestling their diabetes into a position where it doesn’t control them all the time. We all enjoyed the little slices of company through the meetings the next day, and I know that I learned something from each and every one of you.  Thank you!

As the afternoon sped by, we ended the day by touring the test strip manufacturing plant.

And with G-Money and I around, you know there would be some goofing off involved…

Scott with a hair net over his entire head
Nice hair net!

I promise I didn’t break anything important (who can resist a red button?).

No, I don’t have the answer to the question you’re all asking.  I don’t know how much it takes to make a test strip, and I’m not going to get into that here (I’ve lived with diabetes my whole life, you don’t need to tell me about the high test strip prices).  But, I do have a whole new respect for what it takes to roll out such a high quantity of those little strips AND make sure they all work the way they should.  It was impressive.  I’m not saying that I am fine with the price of test strips, or the fact that they still cost the same as they did years ago.  Simply said, after leaving that tour I have a new respect for what it takes.

I wish I had the space and your attention long enough to tell you about each and every person that was there.  They are all as awesome as you think they are, multiplied by ten.  No one hundred!  There are a lot of pictures on Flickr, and I would love for you to go check them out for more smiles and laughs.

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. Patient Success Manager, USA for mySugr (All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent the position of my employer).

Diagnosed in April of 1980, I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. Read more…