Roche Summit – Part 3 – Reflections

It was really hard saying goodbye to everyone.  It didn’t really hit me until I was driving home from the airport late Thursday night (after I made sure to not get hit by the Light Rail Train).  I was so very emotional, and didn’t fight back tears, but rather let them roll.  I let loose because it felt like the right thing to do.  It was almost like a tribute to just how incredible and great everybody was.

I needed to get it out so that I could see things from the other side of the pain.  It was painful to say goodbye to everyone.  But seeing it from the other side I could see that the pain was SO WORTH IT!  The pain was nothing compared to the joy, love, support, and happiness that I got to experience!  A steep price for a ticket, but one that I would buy again and again, without question.

Of course I was very excited to get home and see my wife and kids, and to sleep in my own bed.  But there was also this very tangible missing of everybody that I met and visited with over the couple of days.  How can I NOT feel alone with my diabetes after being surrounded by kindred spirits?

The Exercise I Misunderstood

Early in the day we broke into groups for an exercise.  I forget exactly how Manny phrased it in his instructions, but it was something about listing a couple ways to expand our audience and measurable tasks that we could do towards that.

I really struggled with this, because as you all (hopefully) know, my blog has never been about cranking out impressive visitor counts or anything like that.  I’m just a guy trying to figure out this damn diabetes thing, going through ups and downs, and using this space for free therapy (thank you!).  It is so healthy for me to be able to put words to many of these vague feelings I have, and the feedback you so graciously offer me is priceless.  I learn a lot from all of you.

I was with an awesome group for this exercise.  It was Chris Bishop, G-Money, Bernard, and myself. But as the timed exercise started, we all just kind of looked at each other waiting for one of us to “get it”.  In terms of blogging, I think that many of us are in the same boat.  I don’t know a single blogger that does it for anything other than what I mentioned.

But we also recognize that we have all gotten comments or e-mails from people that identify with the same stuff we are fighting with, and feel less isolated because of what we wrote.  That is powerful stuff, and knowing that we have helped someone, somewhere, feel less isolated is full of all kinds of warm fuzzy feelings.

We struggled with the exercise.  I thought I would lose some of my authenticity if I started pushing for blog traffic instead of just being me.  My thoughts were “why does it have to be bigger than it already is?”, and “what’s the rush? why can’t things just continue to evolve as they are?”.

But when my dear friend Christel (who was the spokesperson for her group) talked about how there are SO MANY more people out there who need help, and how we are collectively reaching only a tiny percent of those people, I started to understand the goal of the exercise.

You see – the people reading blogs and participating anywhere in the online community are ALREADY motivated and interested in helping themselves (even if you don’t feel it, the fact that you are reading this means you are).

For every one of you there are maybe ten more people out there struggling!  They might not even know about any of the great resources available to them.

I don’t know about you, but I know my life has been much different and more positive since the online community has hit the scene.  We need to get that support out to as many people as possible.

Besides, you never know, someone out there might have something to share that will change your life.

For me?  I just want to write more.  And brag about all of you in the community as often as I can.

Good Examples and Bad Examples

The next exercise was all about examples of how companies can get involved with social media and either hurt themselves and their reputation real bad, or do it “right” and earn a little slice of trust.  I think that many of us, as patients, are very skeptical of these companies trying to “budge” into “our” space (as if we have some claim to it or something).  I will leave the details on that exercise to the many other great bloggers out there who attended.  Mostly that is because I don’t feel I can do as good a job as others have already.

And with that we had to wrap things up!

The Fallout/Life Goes On?

I don’t think that any of us that attended have been able to just step right back into our regular lives without longing for the connection and love that was so plentiful at the summit.  To be sure, that comes with any meeting of fellow people with diabetes.  But maybe that connection was a little amplified here because many of us have been friends for years and finally got to meet in real life.

I’ve experienced similar things with my local “D-Buddies” around here that I had never met OR talked to online before our Diabetes Daily Coffee meets.  There are some great tools we have here on Diabetes Daily, or TuDiabetes, or any of the social networking sites, that can help get a group of nearby folks to meet.  Even taking it to the next level, we have played around with Skype and Tokbox.com, which has some real potential (more on that soon, I promise!) to get people connected that don’t know anyone near them.

At the end of the day, I really miss everyone I was around, and will do everything I can to meet up with anyone and everyone that I can, as often as I can.

Picture of Scott with a flower in a pocket

Scott in Bloom – taken by G-Money

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13 thoughts on “Roche Summit – Part 3 – Reflections

  1. It’s so amazing to hear all these summit stories. I love being a fly on the wall from out here — it’s awesome to see you guys connecting a filling a void that has existed in each heart for so long.
    It also reminds me not to underestimate the opportunities we have to foster relationships with other CWD for Addy.
    Thanks for being here, Scott. As a mom, I NEED to hear that Addy will grow up and be “normal”. I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights I’ve already lost wondering if she would every be happy.
    Through your blog and others like it, I’ve learned that her happiness is inevitable…because you’re paving the way for her to make lifelong connections 🙂
    Thanks.

  2. Scott in bloom is so pretty.
    I am still reeling. Holding back a thousand tears.
    Millions.
    I still cannot believe I had the honor to meet all of these people. So many more to meet…
    We will all continue to do what we do because we care.
    That is a darn good foundation.
    Such a Great post Scott. Great.

  3. When someone told me that they quit smoking because of my posts I thought I could quit now. But I see that maybe through all the crap and struggles that someone else will get something from my posts and not feel alone any more.
    Like I did with you, and Kerri, and Christel. Your blogs and presence are what helped me. And frankly saved my life. We need to do that for others just by being here.

  4. Hmm. I’m less worried about the stats on my blog. I’m interested in the discussions that start on the forums, but I’m also interested in connecting to people in real life — the people who don’t get referred to CDEs and Endos, the people who don’t have past experience or other folk to show them how to rework their grandmother’s recipes to make them healthy and accessible, the people to show them how to eat healthy with little time and less money… These folk may not have computers, may not know how to search online, may not be able to tell the difference between scams and research (or the scams being presented as research), and may not have the transportation to reach hospital-based support groups…

  5. Awesome! We need to continue our presence, on the web, to help/encourage each other and new D’s. Strength and love in numbers. The future for us is looking brighter every day.

  6. Scott, this is beautifully said. You captured exactly how I feel about the whole experience. I am so charged up to take what we are doing and share it with others. I don’t exactly what it will all look like in the end, but if it’s just a pale shade of what we experienced, it will be plenty.