Tuesday, July 19, 2011

CWD FFL: Moments.

image credit: Sara
One thing that was said many times throughout the week that was Friends For Life was that the organizers hoped to help "create moments" for all of us. Moments that we would remember, cherish, laugh about. Moments that likely would never happen, if not for the wonderful group that conference brings together.

Moments that can last us for the next twelve months, until we can do this all over again.

Moments like that one time I was washing my hands in the bathroom at the convention center, and the adorable little blonde girl at the sink next to me gave a glance my way. Seeing the green bracelet on my wrist that matched hers, she grinned and said to me, "You have diabetes TOO?", to which I replied, "Yep! Just like you." "Cool." Yeah, it kind of is, isn't it? (I ran into her and her family a few more times that week, so I gave her my email address in case she ever wanted to write me. "My mom won't let me have a Facebook yet." "GOOD - she's a smart lady.")

Moments like seeing my horde of FWDs (friends with diabetes!) at D-Coaster Day for the very first time. I found the group as they were finishing their ice cream (yes, I said ice cream) and gave everyone a huge hug. Because my Dexcom graph was doing an impersonation of the downhill portion of a ski jump, I opted for ice cream as well, and went to stand in line. Seconds later, after having just "met", I found Jacquie at my side. "I thought I'd come stand with you." Aww.

And speaking of D-Coaster Day, there was also that moment when Sara and I held down a park bench together outside of the Space Mountain ride, and tried to talk each other out of hurling. We wondered if the "riding while low" thing was what did it in for Sara. We also noticed that the gentleman on the bench next to Sara couldn't quite keep his attention away from us, but not in a creepy way - just in a, "I'd like to jump in on this conversation but can't find the right time" way. Turns out he was a paramedic, and thought we might need the crackers in his backpack. Again, aww.

Moments like this:

Heather: knitting. Becca: making herself comfortable.
Moments where doing a blood test felt like this normal thing that everyone has to do, rather than this annoying thing that only I have to do.

Waking up one morning to Sara telling me: "I heard your Dexcom going off, but it was the high alarm, so I just let you sleep. I figured you'd value the sleep more than the correction bolus." She knows me well, folks. (It was also funny when she added, "And then I thought about just bolusing for you - because your pump would be able to figure out your correction - but I just let it go", and I replied with, "Thanks anyway, Mom.")

Moments like the one where I realized that I had the best roommates! (Heather, I still feel super bad about Sara and I waking you up nearly every night, well past midnight, when we rolled in. Also, to Becca: I'm sorry for making you bark that first night, when I tried to be all quiet about my entrance. And thanks for being so mellow the rest of the week!)

The "First Timers" reception on Wednesday morning, where event organizers gave us some tips for the week, and conducted a little bit of an ice breaker. We were asked to leave our tables and go sit where we would if the room were a giant map of the U.S. - so, being a Nebraskan, I sat right in the middle. And even though it appeared that I was the only Nebraska native in attendance (at least, as a First Timer), my fellow Midwesterners from Kansas, Iowa, and Colorado joined me at my table. (I think it may be impossible, either emotionally or physically, to feel "alone" at this conference. And that's a great, great thing.)

Moments like that one in the pool, where my prominently-displayed Ping grabbed the attention of a young family whose son was wearing the same insulin pump.

The first time walking into the huge exhibit hall, and thinking (as I tried to not be cynical at about the "business" side of it), "This is all here... for me. Kinda."  To have a ginormous room full of people who totally get what your day-to-day needs are is something kind of special. The free swag was also special.

Speaking of free swag, I got around to having that moment that I mentioned several months back - I got to try an automatic infusion set! (I did, however, need some help with it, so thanks for the assists, Heather and Brian!) I talked to an Animas rep at the hall, and told her that I'd never tried their infusion sets before - and she hooked me up with one each of the Inset and Inset 30 to try. When it came time to do my set change on Saturday, I gave the Inset 30 a go - no better time than when you're surrounded by PWDs, right? Heather helped me dislodge the thing, and as I went to finish reloading my pump, I realized that the Animas rep hadn't given me any tubing. Which would render the set useless. Except that Brian saved the day by seeing my tweet and trotting over to our room to lend me some of his, all within a couple of minutes. (Twitter - gotta love it.)

Moments like the one where I realized that Courtney seems to spontaneously dance as often as the rest of us blink.

It was super cool to meet people like Tom from DRI, Andy and Gary from JDRF, Joe from Team Type 1, and all of those DOC people who normally just live in my computer. (I'd also like to say that all of those people were just as awesome as they appear to be online. Diabetes picks the best people?)

Moments like our last night there, spent at Downtown Disney, where the medical director of Roche Diabetes Care asked my opinion of a Tinkerbell statute he was considering for his daughter. (A third time - aww.)

The fact that the cryfest at the Farewell Breakfast was tipped off by yours truly. (The "tears up too easily" part of my Twitter bio isn't an exaggeration.)

And that moment, on one of our last nights there, when there were around 22 of us sitting at the same shoved-together assortment of tables. Scott Johnson was sitting next to me, and we were both just listening. Being present. He smiled at me and said, "Just look at this. Take it all in. Isn't this awesome?"

We both shook our heads and laughed a little, at just how true that was.

image credit: I'm not sure!



16 comments:

  1. Awesome recap! Again!

    I think that might be my picture. I still feel kind of bad for smashing Bob's head down. See how we treat our Type 3s?

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  2. Ok I am sobbing on my couch. I so want to go next year and have Justice feel everything you're saying.

    When I found the DOC I was happy. But I never knew how much of my heart you guys would occupy.

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  3. The connection is instant and amazing, I think. Thanks for sharing your experience--I could feel the emotions rising!

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  4. Yes, very awesome. How on earth was there any time to knit??? I'm impressed!

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  5. I'm not sure I could go because I might cry the whole time! I loved the description of you seeing the little girl in the bathroom that was excited to see you had diabetes--my Leah would so benefit from seeing grown ups with D like you guys!!

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  6. Love it!! Just makes me want to get to next year's conference even more!! I know it would be great for me, but even more so for Bean...to be in a room full of tons of others 'just like her' would be the coolest thing ever! Well, maybe not cooler than a cure, but you know what I mean!! ;)

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  7. It was just awesome,wasn't it? Those are sometimes the best parts. Just sitting, listening, taking it all in.

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  8. *sigh* diabetes does indeed pick the best people. i am so glad to have met you in real life! can't wait till next year!

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  9. It IS awesome. Love this post Kim, thanks for sharing with everyone who wasn't there. You make us all feel like a part of it. :)

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  10. aw man, so rad. i love that moment with you and the girl in the bathroom. awesome! thanks for this post! :D

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  11. The only problem with you two waking me up was that it reminded me I'm really too old to play all night with you kids. ;) My favorite was when you came in and I actually woke up and we chatted for a while.

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  12. Heather -

    I loved how you weren't "that roommate" and instead of being annoyed when Kim and I came in, you wanted to talk to us about our night. (After Becca decided we were safe)

    Kim - the vibrations! LOL! I loved the times of night when all three of us were vibrating and we couldn't figure out exactly what pump or DexCom was sending the alert!

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  13. and all of those moments were AWESOME.Can't wait to do it all over again next year!

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  14. Kim...I have been taking my now 23 y/o son to FFL for 8 years and now both of us are staff...me at registration and Ben in Sports Central. It has been absolutely amazing to see how the conference has evolved. I worried what was going to happen when Ben became a young adult, where would his support come from? Silly question, eh?

    Being in registration all week doesn't afford me a lot of time to go out and meet as many people as I'd like to....so when I get to read all of these blogs from you guys, it just does my heart good. I don't have to worry about my boy, he's going to be just fine =)

    Thanks...
    Joanne

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  15. Just curious where in Nebraska? I had my first teaching job in Scottsbluff in the western end of the state, and lived there 3 years. Being from Los Angeles, it was indeed culture shock, but the people were very nice to me. I did get to learn what the rural center of the country is like -- good experience, although I'm back in the West now, where I belong!

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