"I did the math - there are probably around 800 people with diabetes in this hotel. If they all test around eight times per day, and we're here the equivalent of five days... that means we generate 32,000 used test strips at the end of this conference. No wonder we're finding them all over the floor." - a father of a child with T1
If I told you that attending the Children With Diabetes Friends For Life conference in Orlando, FL meant that you'd be completely surrounded and engulfed by diabetes for a week (and that it might be one of the single best things you can experience as a person living with T1), would that give you the complete picture? I know it won't.
|Showing off our new You Can Do This Project bracelets
The magic lies in the intangibles. The beauty lies in hundreds of small moments of serendipity.
It's in the feelings that ramped up to the exhibit hall opening on Friday - that moment when I felt that I was exactly where I was supposed to be, doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing, at exactly the right time.
|photo credit: Scully
Friends For Life has this wondrous balance to it - it's the get-down-to-the-heart-of-things seriousness you need, but it also has the silly, no-one-tweet-this moments that keep you giggling for hours, days, and weeks afterward. You learn from attending sessions, but you also learn from simply being around other PWDs and their families. You can't help but want to check your blood sugar, inject, or wear your pump on the outside when you're in this atmosphere. You can't help but smile at the sea of green bracelets worn only by those living with T1. You can't help but feel, at least a little bit, like you've found your tribe.
You feel better because you are there.
You'll hear a chorus of beeps, and then a mass exodus of purse and pocket contents as everyone tries to figure out whose device it was that just alarmed. You'll see each and every food served with a carb count. You'll meet some of the most passionate and driven people in the diabetes community. You'll have the chance to hear from people who have done amazing things, given some of the very same circumstances you face.
The magic is in the moments; the atmosphere; the people.
Is it July 8th, 2013 yet?