We Came, We Saw, We Cut, We Conquered.*
Time for the CWD Friends for Life recap.
Short version: It was awesome.
Long version: Most of the time when I go to diabetes conferences I don’t really go to learn. Aside from the information overload you get during your first year or so of living with diabetes, it’s really hard to learn much that is “new” in diabetes. Besides, as someone who both writes and reads diabetes blogs, information about new technology, like CGMS and insulin pumps, and research is readily available to me.
So why did I go to a diabetes conference? Simple: for the people. In addition to the bloggers I’ve already met, I also had a chance to meet Manny, Sara, the “Other Allison” and Mandy. This also means I’ve officially reached meeting 10 new bloggers (actually, I’ve met 11) in just seven months! This isn’t even including Kevin and Jillian, who I am meeting on Monday.
It’s true what they say: going to CWD is like coming home. I am involved in several different communities and through it all, the diabetes community is the one that feels like family. It was a phrase that was used several times throughout the conference by all the staff. The people who were attending the conference were a part of our family.
I flew in Tuesday night and Mandy and her parents picked me up from the airport. After an exciting adventure in finding out hotel, we finally arrived and settled in as we had an early morning the next day. Wednesday was an unofficial conference day. Many people were there for the receptions and the focus groups, but the conference had not officially begun. I attended the Young Adults breakfast with Sara and Mandy where we discussed some great ideas for how to expand the conference to include young adults. It’s not quite the all-inclusive adults with diabetes sessions that I’m aiming for but it is a step in the right direction.
The conference itself was amazing and Jeff Hitchcock should have a full report of all the activities in a couple of weeks. I’ll post a link when I see it online so everyone can read the re-cap.
In addition to the two day conference, we (Sara, Mandy, Heidi, our new friends Alex and Beakal and ourself) also spent a day at Universal Studios. We went on all the rides and had lunch at the CWD’s buffet area in a closed off Latin Quarter. We escaped the clutches of Lord Farquaad, fought off aliens and survived a twister. We even had our picture taken with Shrek and Donkey.
One of the perks of going to a conference for people with diabetes is that they make all kinds of wonderful arrangements for you. This year, those of us who went to Universal Studios (or Islands of Adventure, which was the other option) received a Community Relations pass that allowed us to use the Express line which is usually reserved for people who are either handicapped or who pay extra. I have mentioned a few times about going to Guest Services and requesting a disability pass because standing out in the hot sun for several hours can damage insulin (which, for my new readers, you need to live). When I was in Orlando two years ago, I went with some of the other teens with diabetes to pick up these passes on our own, but this year they were included with our park tickets. However, rumor has it that Disney is getting very, very stringent about who they give these passes out to but I say it’s a fight worth fighting. Not only is it a legitimate reason (the July heat from the Orlando sun really can do serious damage), it’s also a nice perk. Considering everything I have to do to stay healthy as a type 1 diabetic, this is the least the universe can do to repay me.
P.S. Shout out to Dorothy, one of my faithful readers!
Sara Mandy for letting me steal this as the title for my post.