I Loved TCOYD, Des Moines, IA (Taking Control of Your Diabetes)

I didn’t think too long before deciding to head down for the Taking
Control of Your Diabetes (TCOYD) Conference that happened on September
25, 2010.  It’s less than a single tank of gas, and only a four-hour drive from my house to downtown Des Moines, IA.  Add in a night or two in a hotel, and it’s a perfect recipe for recharging my “Diabetes Battery” and visiting with some folks from around the DOC.

I played basketball on Friday afternoon, then got in my car and sat behind the wheel for four hours straight.  When I got down to Des Moines I was so stiff and sore I didn’t think I’d be able to get out of my car!  I met up with C, Kim, Scott Strange, and Kelly Rawlings for a quick dinner, which was a lot of fun, and was where I was dubbed “Other Scott”, then headed back to the hotel.

I always get a kick out of the hangers some of the hotels/motels use.  For some reason they remind me of the shrunken head dude from ‘Beetlejuice‘.

Picture of a hotel hanger and the shrunken head beetlejuice dude

We were up early for a half-mile walk to the Polk County Convention Complex.  It was a really nice venue for the conference, and even had credit card readers on the Coke machines!

George & Green Lantern T-Shirt

Scott Strange & I volunteered to work the Diabetes Hands Foundation booth, which was a lot of fun.  See that bucket of feet?  That was the giveaway for the booth next to us.  They  were a “stress ball”, but shaped like a foot.  How awesome would it have been for us to have some stress ball hands (get it, Diabetes HANDS Foundation)? No?

The opening session was great.  There were a lot of people there, and everybody seemed to love Dr. Edelman’s opening presentation.  He’s a funny guy, and his humor totally comes through in his sessions.  Dr. Bill Polonsky followed that with a great talk titled “Harnessing the Interpersonal Power of Diabetes”, in which he mentioned Mike’s YouTube video on The Diabetes Police.

Scott and I had to return to the exhibit hall, and we were both very impressed with how many people came up to the booth and more impressed with how many of them were receptive to learning about connecting online with others who have been touched by diabetes.  We actually stayed at the booth talking to people through all of the morning breakout sessions.  We got to meet Ahmad, one of the TuDiabetes members and Romelle, a friend (and volunteer for ADA) that I met on Twitter, but had never met in person.  I really enjoyed getting to know both of them better.  I also bumped into a couple of friends from my time at Cozmo – small world isn’t it?

For the first afternoon session we abandoned the booth and went to a Type 1 Workshop. A  husband and wife team of presenters; Linda Severidt, who had lived with type 1 diabetes and was struggling with hypoglycemic unawareness, and her husband, Dr. Larry Severidt.  Linda has gone through a series of Islet Cell transplant, and they both talked about the experience.  It was fascinating.  Linda is doing very well, but stressed that this stuff is still a very new thing, and time will tell how it all plays out.

Collage of images from TCOYD
The second afternoon session we attended was our friend Kelly Rawlings doing a presentation on cutting calories but not taste.  She did great, and there were a TON of people listening.  I loved seeing her session be so well attended, and loved it even more that she knocked it out of the park!

You can take a look at what other sessions were going on by checking the conference schedule.  For some time periods it was difficult to pick just one session to go to, and for other time periods there was only one session that interested me.

Kelly was also up on stage for the Closing General Session, and she gave an awesome “shout out” to the entire DOC, then took it to the next level by sneaking our names in there!  We gathered up and ran out for a quick dinner before people had to head for home.

Scott and I actually stayed another night.  The idea of driving back home after working an expo booth all day sounded pretty miserable.  I’m glad I listened to Scott, he’s a pretty smart guy.  We had breakfast at Perkins the next morning, and the waitress saw us checking our blood sugars and without batting an eye offered Diet Coke first in her list of beverages and asked if we wanted sugar-free syrup.  Yes, we tipped her well.

It was a great weekend, and I highly recommend attending the conference the next time it is anywhere near you.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate, and Senior Community Manager at Blue Circle Health. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent my employer’s position. Read more…

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