Diabetes Art Day!


Collage of D-Art Day Logo and a shot of Lee Ann
I want to spread the word about Diabetes Art Day (September 1), a very fun idea by a super special person.
Lee Ann Thill is an art therapist and a person living with diabetes.  Lee Ann is a wonderful person, and I’m blessed to know her.  I hope that you’ll find some way to participate – even if it is just stick figures on a post-it note.

From her post:

I’m asking you to break out of your linguistic comfort zone, bust out some art materials, and make a piece of artwork – painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, an installation piece, a mixed media something or other, or whatever you can imagine. I’m sure most of you don’t consider yourselves artists, but I think that you are, and just haven’t discovered it yet. Then, once your masterpiece is complete, post it on September 1st. If you want to get your family involved, maybe each of you can create something, or you can even do a group art project. The possibilities are endless if you use your imagination!

“Diabetes Rising” by Dan Hurley

I first heard of Dan Hurley and his book, “Diabetes Rising“, over at Amy’s site (Diabetes Mine).

She did a two part interview about a year ago (Part 1, Part 2), and there was something about what Dan said that pulled at my emotions.

He says about his approach to the book:

… Even with this best medical advice, I feel that
the ‘just try harder’ approach is not going to work for a lot of people.
If you’re very educated, motivated, and have a good attitude, you can
kind of stumble your way through it. But obviously tons and tons of
people don’t have all those attributes… something else is needed to help

How many times have you felt you needed to “just try harder?”  Or worse yet, been told you “just need to try harder?”  I feel that way almost all the time!  Yet I’m always mentally exhausted from it all.  Try harder?

After Amy’s interviews the book fell off my radar.  The book wasn’t available for order at that time, and my attention span just didn’t last.

While down in Florida for the Roche Summit and CWD Friends For Life Conference, Lili and her husband told me they bought a copy of his book at his booth.  I said “wait – you mean he’s HERE?” and made a dash for the booth.  It was weird for me to say “Hi Dan, Uh… I’m a big fan, but haven’t actually read your book yet…”

I told him that I had seen the interviews on Amy’s site and they had really piqued my interest.  He was extremely pleasant.  We chatted for a minute, he signed my book, then I grabbed a picture with him.

"Dan Hurley - Diabetes Rising"

I wasn’t sure I’d like the book.  I figured with a name like “Diabetes Rising” it would be all about type 2 diabetes and the panic the world is in.  That wasn’t the case at all.  There was a lot about both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.  Dan is a very scholarly looking fellow, complete with a bow-tie and all, which set me up to expect a very dry and technical book.  When I got to the title of the first chapter, “Pissing Evil”, I smirked a bit and had a feeling that I would enjoy Dan’s style.

There were a couple of paragraphs that just shouted to my soul, and I
asked Dan for permission to quote them here.

The Computer Cure – The Quest for an Artificial Pancreas
In Chapter 10, Dan covers some information about his experiences being connected to an artificial pancreas for a day.  He’s talking with Marc Breton, PhD, the systems engineer who was designing the software to control the artificial pancreas.  Dan asked Marc “why, from his perspective as a programmer, is controlling blood sugar so maddeningly complicated even though it involves just two variables, insulin and sugar level?”  Marc came up with an almost perfect metaphor to explain it (italics mine):

The glucose you measure with a continuous monitor was accurate fifteen minutes ago.  The insulin you take does not start acting for twenty minutes, has a peak of action around forty-five minutes, and it continues to act for up to three hours.  So you are acting on out-of-date data, and you’re using a mode of action that will only kick in much later on.  It’s like you’re driving a car down a winding road — but you aren’t able to see that the road turned until you are fifteen yards past it, and turning the wheel will have no effect for two hundred yards more. If you’re driving a car like that, you’d better have a good map.

Two sections later in Chapter 10, Dan is now hooked up to a closed-loop trial system:

At 11:07 P.M., watching Seinfeld, I had a sudden urge to go running down the hall, skipping and yelling, in celebration of not having to worry about my insulin and sugar levels — of being, for one night only, magically freed of my diabetes.  And then I felt myself close to tears, thinking what a pain in the ass, and how phenomenally distracting, it is to be constantly worrying about my goddamn sugars, instead of focusing on my work and my family and my friends and my life.

I found myself near tears just from reading that – but am admittedly a softy when it comes to the emotional prices we all pay living with diabetes.  There was plenty of other great writing before and after chapter 10, of course, but these two quotes really pulled me.

I really enjoyed reading Dan’s book.  His writing style entertained me, and spoke to me beyond the words on the page.  There’s a certain wisdom that comes from living a long time with something like diabetes, and I got a lot of that from everything Dan shared.

CWD Friends For Life – Epic Sizer!

I walked into the Richard Rubin Keynote (opening session) with an overflowing breakfast plate and my shoulder bag full of diet sodapop.  After only a step or two into the room I was stopped in my tracks by the sheer size of this thing.  I had no idea.  No. Idea.

Picture of the opening breakfast banquet roomI could not even see the people on the other side of the room.  They were lost over the horizon.  There were THREE giant TV screens to broadcast the podium.  THREE SCREENS!

I was very full of emotion being surrounded by so many people all deeply entrenched in diabetes.  Everyone there was either a person with type 1 diabetes, a parent of a child with type 1 diabetes, family member of someone with type 1 diabetes, or a caregiver for someone with type 1 diabetes.  Type 1 diabetes, type 1 diabetes, type 1 diabetes.  Everywhere.  I have never experienced so much type 1 diabetes in one place.  I was overwhelmed by it all.  The love and support just swallowed me up, and the program hadn’t even started yet.

Picture of Scott & JayJay Hewitt, an Ironman Triathlete who lives with type 1 diabetes, delivered an incredible opening speech.   The Ironman Triathlons are a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, THEN a 26.2 mile run.  One right after the other.  Not the next week, not the next day, but all together in a single day.  It is an amazing accomplishment to train for something like that, much less compete on a professional level.  And to do so with type 1 diabetes?  I find that incredibly inspiring.  I really enjoyed Jay’s ability to tie in the struggles we face living with diabetes into the challenges of such a grueling endurance race.  I was very moved by his speech, and was thrilled to have the opportunity to shake his hand, thank him, and get a picture with him.  Thank you Jay!

I had a lot of trouble deciding which sessions to attend for the rest of the afternoon.  I wanted to go to ALL of them!  For the most part, I made good decisions about what to attend, but I also missed some great discussions.  There was just no way to attend six sessions all at the same time.  If I could have figured out a way to do it, I would have.

One of the things I enjoyed most was constantly bumping into, and visiting with, people from the DOC.

Collage of DOC peeps at CWD 2010

Picture of the Edelman's, Lee Ann, & Heidi

And to top the evening off, I even got to play some basketball with Gary Scheiner.

Action shot playing basketball at FFL 2010

Thanks to Kerri for this action shot!

What’s my insulin to emotion factor?

I’ve always been aware of emotions and stress affecting blood sugars.  I’ve always thought to watch for it and try to “do something”, but it’s always been a very vague thing.  Vague things are hard to deal with on an action level.  Vague things are… vague.  Action things are very specific.

Picture my great-uncle drew of my mom next to her photoYesterday we celebrated my mom.  Cancer took her in April of 2005.  She would have been 60 years old today.  My dad wanted to throw a celebration of the wonderful person she was.  I can’t imagine how hard it was for him to push through all of the hurt involved, but the party was incredibly healing, happy, and full of love.  My sister and I are so proud of dad, and so thankful for all of the family that came.

My great-uncle, Father Jim Schoenberger, used colored pencils to draw this incredible picture of my mom. 

I woke up yesterday morning with a nearly perfect blood sugar of 99 mg/dl.  Mornings are stubborn for me, so I hit my (modest 15g carb, 24g protein) breakfast with a full dose of symlin and a little extra insulin.  It held me pretty steady until the celebration started.

I didn’t feel stressed or emotional, but one glance at my CGM, showing 198 mg/dl with double “UP” arrows, proved that I was feeling it.  I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast, but my CGM was showing a line straight up, and rising, with matching finger-sticks to back it up.

I hit that upward trend with with every weapon in my diabetes arsenal (short of exercise).  Multiple doses of symlin, couple with aggressive doses of insulin, typically a recipe for a nasty low blood sugar, seemed to do nothing.

It was a hard afternoon for me.  Both emotionally and physically.  By early evening I was drained.  I went to bed for the night around 8:00 PM, and except for the two lows I had to treat, didn’t wake up until about 9:30 AM this morning.

The celebration for mom was really a beautiful thing, and I’m glad dad thought of it, and that so many people could come to celebrate the wonderful person she was.  There was a lot of healing that happened, and it was good for everyone.

It was also a very strong example of how stress and emotion can have a drastic effect on our bodies, and how hard that can make managing blood sugars.  There’s no mathematical formula for that.

CWD Friends For Life – Fast Driver!

Picture of Bernard, Amy, Kerri, & Scott at FFL 2010
Bernard, Amy, Kerri, Scott, photo by Jeff Hitchcock

One of the hardest things at CWD Friends For Life (FFL) was deciding on which session to attend for any given pocket of time.  Each session ran for an hour, or an hour-and-a-half, and there were usually six or seven to choose from at any given time.

On Wednesday morning I listened in to Kerri & Amy do a great presentation called “Finding Your Online Voice”.  I loved it.  I thought Kerri & Amy were perfect hosts and leaders, and that the information was well received.  There were lots of questions, ranging from “how do I do it?” to “what about privacy concerns?” I hope that a few people found the inspiration to start sharing their stories.

Picture of Scott & Charlie Kimball - Scott's holding Charlie's racing helmet (very cool!)After the session, I jumped on Kerri’s coattails to go meet Charlie Kimball, which snowballed into having lunch with him and some of the group he was with.  It was really fun to have some “down time” with Charlie and get to know him.  He’s really down to earth, and as nice as anyone could be.

At some point during lunch we started talking about his workouts, and he said his trainer is a real hard-core “basement gym” sort of guy.  You know, making use of all sorts of crazy things in the name of physical fitness:  Tractor tires, sledgehammers, bags of sand, that sort of thing.

He mentioned something called a “slosh tube“, which is a big PVC pipe about 10 feet long, filled 2/3 with water then capped at both ends.  He would have to hold this thing up above his head and walk around.  He said the water would be sloshing around in the tube making it almost impossible to keep steady, not to mention heavy!

Here was my chance to brag about having survived a workout with a record holding competitive power-lifter (Ginger Vieira)!  As soon as I mentioned “turkish get-ups”, Charlie’s face went very serious, as if he was having a traumatic flashback, and he said “turkish get-ups are tough.”  Never-mind the fact that his trainer probably makes him hold a slosh-tube while doing his…

It was also a lot of fun to get to know a couple other folks while at lunch.  Deb Ruppert, who was very familiar to me, but neither of us could place from where or when (maybe from my time at Cozmo and her time at Dexcom?), and Andy Bell, who has done a bunch of diabetes & fitness writing all over the place.  Ambre Morley, chatted with us for a while too, but had to zip back to work before I could get to know her more.

Picture of Charlie Kimball, Scott Johnson, & Andy Bell

Charlie, Scott, Andy

The whole time I was there, I just kept thinking how cool it was to be sitting with Kerri, between Charlie Kimball and Andy Bell just talking.  We should have used Charlie’s awesome iPhone 4 to take this picture, it surely would have turned out better!  I think Kerri must have been off changing a diaper or something, otherwise I would have made her get in the picture too.

I spent the rest of the afternoon visiting with Kerri and Chris, and cuddling their beautiful baby.  I loved it.  And while I do regret missing the First Timers Reception, I wouldn’t have changed a single thing about how I spent my time.

Singing Praises for Ginger Vieira (and me!)

I’ve been working a lot with Ginger Vieira, and she is one of the best things I have done for myself in a long time.  Maybe ever.  She is really good at helping people, and I am thankful to have such a great coach and sounding board.

I have also worked really hard at looking at myself and honestly answering the questions we have come up with.  I can’t say enough about how hard it is to be honest with myself about issues that I am scared to look at (change is hard).  The brain is an incredibly mysterious machine, and it is good at playing tricks.  So I take a lot of credit for my progress too.  Like many other things, you get from it what you put into it.  I’m working Ginger hard, and she is acknowledging the hard work and guiding my energy towards positive life progress.

While in Florida for the Roche summit I exercised with Ginger (who also attended the summit).  Our routine coaching sessions have all been via telephone, so I wanted to take advantage of an in-person session.  I’m almost sorry that I did (I say that tongue-in-cheek).

This particular aspect of my work with Ginger is exercise related, but her life coaching skills can help you with almost anything, and the other things she’s helping me with are not exercise related. I don’t want to “pigeon-hole” her into people thinking she only does fitness and exercise stuff.  That being said, she has a strong background in personal training and exercise physiology, and holds a bunch of national powerlifting records (I know, right?!).  I’d be a fool not to ask her to teach me some exercise/fitness type stuff.

Image of the workout notes Ginger made for meOur specific goal was to teach me a routine that I can do without any special gym equipment.  I wanted to have an arsenal of exercises that I could do wherever I am, whether that is in a hotel room or my living room.   Holy smokes did she deliver.

I have to admit that I was a little nervous on my way down to the exercise room.  Who in their right mind asks a record holding powerlifter to work them out?  Had I lost my mind?

I got there and traded greetings with Karmel, who was kicking ass on the elliptical machine (I didn’t know they went that fast!), and Rachel.  I jumped on the treadmill to warm up, then saw Ginger approaching the door.   The exercise room was secured, and Ginger‘s door key-card wasn’t working.  Here was my chance to get out of the whole deal.  If she couldn’t get in, and I pretended not to see her, I could blame everything on her not showing up!  Brilliant!

But I’m not that bright.  So I let her in…

She ran me through a grueling routine of body weight exercises.  We only worked out for about 30 minutes, and I was completely exhausted by the time we finished.  I was so whooped that she didn’t even make me finish all of the exercises on the list.  I had no idea that I didn’t need any equipment to get that tired.  No. Idea.

She put together a video that is a quick little glimpse of what we did, and it doesn’t do the pain justice at all.  But it’s still kind of fun to look at.

You’ll notice that for the (evil) turkish get-ups that we were holding a small dumbbell, but that could just as easily have been a book or small bag, or anything that adds a little bit of weight.  And please trust me on this, whatever you use for a turkish get-up, it does not need to be heavy – they are hard enough.

I learned so much from this workout, everything from how to make my push-ups harder to physically exhausting myself with no gym equipment in 30 minutes.

This routine is just one small weapon in the exercise armory that Ginger and I are working on.  We are also working on not rushing into big change, because that has never worked for me in the past.  We are working on learning about options.  We are working on having many choices for exercise.

I like where this is heading, and appreciate Ginger and her help.

First Follow Up – 2010 Roche Social Media Summit

Conference CallOn July 30th we had the first of what is to be regular, scheduled, quarterly follow-up conference calls with the group at Roche.

There were two scheduled conference calls that day, in the hopes that everyone could attend one of them.  I attended both calls, because I’m really interested in what everyone has to say around this “thing” we’re doing.  I was pleased with the turnout, and the frank discussion during the calls.

Post-Summit Direction

One of the common themes in both calls was expanding the reach to more people with diabetes.  George said, and I love this,  “getting diagnosed may suck, but there’s an entire online community that can help you make sense of it and support you every day.”

The bottom line?  How do we all give back what we have received from the online community, and how do we help more people.  We all want Roche to leverage their position in the industry to help us help more people.  I love that.

We talked a little bit about some sort of “Social Media 101” eBook or pamphlet that can be distributed and help get more people involved.  Something to help people feel more comfortable with interacting online, introducing them to the many “channels” that are available, and providing some “starting points”.

There was some talk of a centralized “blog roll”, but I have some concerns with this.  The phrase “Social Media” means so much more than just “blogs”, and all of us bloggers would do well to remember all of the other ways people are interacting online.  By talking “blogs” and “blog rolls” and “blog this” and “blog that”, we’re excluding a lot of valuable people, even if it is just unintentional language.

Summit Survey
About sixty percent of the attendees had completed the survey as of July 30th.  I was pretty disappointed to hear that just over half of us completed the survey.  How do we expect anything to come from these summits if we don’t provide ALL the feedback we have?  C’mon guys!  Let’s help Roche help us to help everyone!  Sixty percent?  That is pitiful.  I am calling you out here and now.  If you attended the summit and have not completed the survey you are not pulling your weight.

Todd (from Roche) compiled the survey results into a “Top Ten” list of themes:

10) More information about Roche products.  Don’t want an infomercial but more about what Roche is working on.
9) A clearer explanation of what Roche gets out of the Summit
8) Make sure future conferences are tied to one of the major conferences (ADA, CWD, etc.) and/or centrally located (Chicago, Indianapolis).
7) More transparency about who’s been invited and why they were selected.
6) More communication between Type 1s and Type 2s
5) More opportunities to give feedback regarding non-social media efforts.
4) More opportunities for collaboration with ADA/AADE.  Appreciate the first step, but want to work with them directly.
3) Looking for direct follow-up from ADA/AADE regarding summit.  Please make sure that this wasn’t a “one and done”
2) Don’t rush the schedule.  Better to fully explore one idea than rush through many.
1) More focus on social media at future summits

Looking at the survey results, I feel pretty satisfied.  You can see from the results that everyone who completed the survey (60% ?!) have good, honest, service-oriented intentions about where this goes from here.

World Diabetes Day

Roche has committed to leading a global effort around World Diabetes Day.  Roche has also committed to helping Manny and the Diabetes Hands Foundation put together an online video to promote diabetes awareness and World Diabetes Day.  Part of Roche’s involvement will include donating a relatively large number of test strips, tied to how successful this video is in the online community.  The details are still being worked out, but the better this video does, the more strips get  donated to people in need.

Next Steps with ADA/AADE

ADA: Director of Communications, Lois Witkop, who you may have seen on Amy’s Blog, is particularly interested in hearing from those of us with type 1 diabetes about how the ADA can be more responsive to our needs.  We are told that we will be hearing from her directly soon, but have also been given her e-mail address to help facilitate conversation.

AADE: Since the summit, AADE is working to add our information to their blog roll and also want to know if we would like to receive their advocacy e-mails.

Both: Roche has talked to both organizations about attending future calls when they would like to discuss a particular issue with us or they have information to share.  They could separately reach out to us, but value having an existing session to tap in to.  We are to look for them to attend future calls when it makes sense.

My take on the next steps?  I feel that we may be starting to earn the trust of Lois Witkop, and hopefully through her, also more of the organization.  I was pretty disappointed with the AADE steps, but that part of the actual meeting was a disaster too.  Maybe I was hoping for some show of desire to open communication more so we can find ways to help each other help more people with diabetes.

My General Conclusions
I feel good.  I feel that Roche is listening to what we are saying, and I feel that they are genuinely interested in taking steps towards a closer relationship between them and all of you.  Social media is such a scary place for companies, and I give Roche a lot of credit for being brave enough to engage with us.

I was very clear with them that there is huge potential for all of this to backfire if they don’t deliver some real tangible “good faith” substance through all of this.  They have read my posts, and all of your comments, and are aware of the tenuous situation.  They don’t seem to blame us for being skeptical, which I take as a good sign.

I Need Your Help!
I need to hear from you.  I need to know how YOU feel about all of this.  I don’t claim to speak for anybody but myself.  I feel that I have good intentions behind me, but I need to know what YOU want Roche to know.  They are reading this.  Here is a chance to have your voice heard.  Where do you want “this” to go?

Comment anonymously if it makes you more comfortable (you don’t have to fill in e-mail/URL info on the comment form).  Speak your mind, please.

If you say nothing, I hear nothing, Roche hears nothing.  If you say nothing now, but complain about something later, I will call you on it.  That’s only fair, right?

CWD Friends For Life – First Timer


Picture of my "First Timer" badge at FFL 2010I am easily overwhelmed — especially the first time I go somewhere or do something.

I think the folks at Children With Diabetes (CWD) must have known that.  They must have also known that I’m not the only one who feels that way.

If you have never been to a Friends For Life (FFL) conference, they go the extra mile to make sure you feel comfortable.

No, not just comfortable, more than comfortable.  They make you feel appreciated just for being there.  It was so great.

There is a “First Timer” ribbon on your name tag, a special table near registration with a few volunteers to answer questions and talk about how to make the most of the conference, and a special “First Timers Reception” (which I missed!).  I was bummed I missed it because there is a chance I missed meeting people!  At least I had a good excuse.  I’m pretty sure I was snuggling BSparl and visiting with Kerri & her husband after a fun-filled lunch.

At registration I was also given a green wristband.  This was one of the most special things for me.  The wristbands are color-coded, and everyone that registers gets one.  Orange wristbands were for family members or caregivers, and green wristbands were for those with type 1 diabetes.

It was a really great thing, and I think it serves a couple of important purposes.   There is the safety aspect of it, knowing that if you see a little one with a green wristband having trouble it could be their blood sugar.  But even more special, when you look around and see hundreds of people wearing green wristbands, the isolation that normally swallows you up completely melts away. Instead of isolation, you are enveloped in a giant bubble of understanding, support, and encouragement.  Every single person at the conference “gets it”.  I’ve never felt anything like it, and I miss it terribly.

Walking around the huge conference center and hotel, you’d see groups of kids, all ages, hanging out.  Their green bracelets pulling all of them together.

There were plenty of us “grown-ups” walking around with green bracelets too.  I bumped into Allison from “Low Snacksand Lip Gloss” while she was chatting with Dana Lewis.  I waved hello, then saw Allison and said “waitaminute…I know that face…”  It was very cool bumping into people from the DOC that I didn’t expect to see there.

Can you see the green wristbands in the picture?  It was like this all over the hotel.  Every few people you’d see, there would be a green wristband.  I loved it.  I left my green wristband on even long after I got home.

Familiar Faces, New Places – and Judge For Yourself

I love that little thrill I get when I recognize a face from the online community in a new or different place.

Picture of Scott HanselmanI got that little thrill when I saw Scott Hanselman grinning back at me from the latest e-mail newsletter from the ADA. I love Scott.  He’s a pretty smart dude. He also gave us “The Airplane Analogy“, which is a favorite of mine.  Plus, with a name like “Scott”, what’s not to love?

He’s funny too.  From the newsletter – “They say diabetics die of diabetes. As a well-controlled type 1 diabetic on a pump, my goal is to live long and eventually get hit by an ice cream truck.”

This e-mail update from the ADA was promoting the “Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes” and it got me thinking about the last couple of interactions I have had with the ADA.

For as long as I can remember I have held a belief that the ADA was all about type 2 diabetes and that they have nothing useful to offer me as a person living with type 1 diabetes.

My recent Tour de Cure ride was an incredible experience for me, especially the Red Rider aspect of the whole weekend.  I don’t think the ride would have been as powerful for me if it hadn’t been for the Red Riders, which was started by someone with type 1 diabetes for people with diabetes.  It was a very powerful and emotional experience for me, and I gained a lot from it.

My next experience with them revolves around the last Roche summit.  The ADA brought in a panel of big hitters to listen to us tell them how they are not serving us.  They apologized, they listened, they asked questions.  We’ll see where it goes from here.

My point with these experiences is that my opinion of the ADA is changing.  I encourage you to not judge them by stories you hear, but rather use your personal experience.  If you have a bad experience with them, share your feedback, with them and with us.

In today’s world of blogging and tweeting and facebook, companies can’t afford bad experiences and are (hopefully) quick to engage and fix bad situations.  If we want these places to help us, we need to share our thoughts with them.  They need to listen to the people they are trying to support.

We need to work together.

CWD Friends For Life – The Primer

I have a million things I want to talk about regarding my first ever Children With Diabetes (CWD) Friends For Life (FFL) conference.  I’ve been trying to sort it all out in my head before starting to write about it, but that’s not working for me.  I’m just going to jump in and get started.

I am really hoping to keep my posts about it short and sweet, so I’ll cover little slices or aspects of it each time.

Giving Thanks
Before I get too far into my CWD FFL experiences, I need to give thanks to the people who made it possible for me to attend.

First on my list is my dad.  My dad has been my number one supporter, and encourages me to chase my dreams.  I can’t say enough about how motivating it is to have his support and dreams right there with me.  He helped me cover expenses for the extra nights at the hotel and all the other “little” expenses that come up while traveling.  Thanks dad!

I also need to thank the group at Roche who coordinated the 2010 Roche Social Media Summit.  They scheduled it at the same hotel & conference center, and coordinated the timing of it so we were done by the time the FFL conference started.  Without them getting me down there for the summit (covering travel), I never would have been able to afford getting there for FFL.  Thanks to Todd, Lisa, Rob, and everyone else at Roche who made that possible for me.

What I Knew Going In
I think I’ve been aware of Children With Diabetes for a long time, and recognized them as a group of parents helping families with type 1 diabetes.  I was never much involved with the online activities and forums though, maybe because I was already “grown up”?  I also didn’t get too involved with the online community around diabetes back then – times were different, you know?  In my head I always saw them as a group of good people doing good things.  I respected them.

Looking back, I sure wish I would have gotten involved a LOT sooner.  The people who make CWD who they are, and all of the families that participate in the forums and local events are all amazing people.  Amazing people working to help everyone with type 1 diabetes.

I spent almost five years working at Smiths Medical with the Cozmo insulin pump.  Through my time there I learned that this conference was a big deal for companies interested in marketing to people with type 1 diabetes.  This conference was the one that Smiths put the most effort behind each year.  My experiences at Smiths helped me see that while the name of the organization behind the conference is “Children With Diabetes“, that really means that most everyone there will be touched by type 1 diabetes and will be taking insulin.

Sounds like my type of crowd.

This Place Is HUGE
We were busy with Roche most of the day Tuesday, but I took advantage of some of the breaks to head down and check-in with CWD.  Walking towards the registration desk, the sheer size of this place started to sink in…


There is a corner way down there, and even another hallway about this long.  Incredible.
Little did I know, the epic size of things wouldn’t really register until Thursday morning…