Dear newest and best friends a CutTheBSGirl could ask for,
I sit here in awe of the weekend I just had with you all, attendees, facilitators, and sponsors. I had no expecatations of the weekend but I cannot believe how much I learned from each of you. I actually went into this thing, thinking I didn’t belong there because I have only been a PWD for 2 years and 9 months. I was scared. I was afraid I was going to hear things like, “Oh, you’re so new. You can’t possibly need to go to an event like this.” I did not hear that once this weekend. You were open, candid, funny, frustrated, happy, angry, and most of all, genuine with me. You also created an atomosphere where I could be open with my own feelings of being a PWD. My heart is heavy…I can’t figure out if its because we all had to part ways yesterday and I’m sad, or if it is because my heart is overflowing with love, encouragment, and a sense of peace with how I’ve been living my D-life thus far.
I learned this weekend many things:
- Diabetes doesn’t really have a “type” it likes to strike. We varied greatly in size, shape, color, gender, personality, food preferences, and fashion styles. One of the few things we had in common were our busted pancreases and that it wasn’t our fault no matter what anyone may say or think. Another thing was the sense of humor we have about this chronic condition were share.
- I’ve been burrying my thoughts and personal feeling on Diabetes deep down by filling my schedule with “stuff” and have just thrown on a happy face. I learned this weekend that it’s ok to be angry and frustrated about it, but to not let that anger and fustration consume me.
- I miss my Dexcom. IV3000 here I come!
- I’m not alone. Yes, I know, you’re thinking, “Well, Duh!” But, I didn’t know there was such a thing as a DOC. I look forwardward to connecting with others online for years to come. It won’t even compare to meeting you all in person, but it is the next best thing. Also, who knew I’d find a few “soulmates” on this D-journey. (You know who you are.)
- I learned that “My Diabetes May Vary.” (Bennet, where do I send my quarter?) My Diabetes reacts completely differently from someone else’s, so hearing and trying what works for someone else is totally worth a shot because it might just work! Or it won’t and that’s OK too.
I don’t know much about Diabetes…but…Diabetes doesn’t know much about me, dammit. I declare war, Diabetes. I’m going to win as many battles as I can. I am optimistic, inspireD, and hopeful. With the support and knowledge I was gifted this weekend, I will make every effort never to let Diabetes bully me or anyone else for that matter. Because of you and others like us, I aspire to be a Dia-advocate, a Dia-nurturer, a Dia-cheerleader, a Dia-bestie, lastly and probably most importantly, a Dia-Badass. I pledge to make other People with Diabetes feel welcome, respected, and valued beyond the confines of the Red Rock Conference room. I hope you’ll join me.
Thank you for sharing your experiences, sarcasm, tips, and personal style as a PWD with me. Most of all, I thank you for being you. It was more than I could ever have hoped or asked for (seeing as I seem to have a hard time asking for help). It’s hard but, I will try not to cry beacause it is over. (This Vegas dust is just getting to me.) Instead, I will smile, because it happened!
With much admiration, respect, and love,
To find out more about the Diabetes UnConference, Click Here.
21 replies on “Open Letter to my New Friends from the First Ever Diabetes UnConference”
Arlene, I was so honored and happy to make your acquaintance this weekend! I keep saying this, but it’s true – although our interactions may have been brief, it was so very meaningful and appreciated more than you can know. THANK YOU for coming, and can’t wait to see you again next time!!!! ~Rhonda
Rhonda! I had a blast with you! I’m going to have to hit Off the Strip with You next time…I may have to check Evan out the next time I am at the Linq!
So great to meet you. Us D-newbies have to stick together!
Cheers to that! I’m gonna PM you with my number after making the girls’ lunch so that we can stay in touch…I figure we might be going through some of the same things at the same times…or we might not…that’s the crazy part!
It was such an amazing weekend! I keep crying with everyone’s comments, posts, and photos. I am so thankful we met and look forward to hanging out again next year or sooner!
Everyone I met this weekend inspired me. It reminded me of camp and I want Adult Camp! I’m so happy to have been apart of this special beginning and can’t wait to watch us grow! Love you all!
I’m so happy that we had this experience together…In the M1X is gonna rock!!!
Arlene. I knew as soon as we “met” on FB, that you were someone I’d get along with. Well…I have now met you and I adore you! Personally, as one of the ppl who has had it a little longer, your attitude was inspiring to me. You are jumping in feet first & running, you have my complete admiration. I’m so sorry your pancreas decided to give up on you. I truly am. But the D community gained an awesome person. One I am lucky to call a friend. ❤️
Ali, I felt the same way about you. You have this awesome gift of bringing people into the conversation no matter what is going on. I love that about you! I look forward to learning, growing, and taking more test strip contain shots with you! I thought the dust had settled here in Las Vegas, but after reading this message, I find alas…it hasn’t. #happytears #DSoulmate #theAteam 😭😂
Arlene, I was soooo happy to meet you after weeks of online chatting. You have such an adorable personality! My happiness level goes up a few notches when I’m in your presence. Stay strong in your fight and remember you’re not alone. I will always be your co-pilot. Together we will make a great pair of pliers (Filipino joke).
Oh AJ…You are the definition of cool. From the time I saw that Duck Fiabetes shirt, I knew we were gonna raise hell and probably blood sugars in Vegas! Our talks in between the different sessions were just spot on for me…I almost wish the unConference ran longer…I definitely will book a room next time and we will be a pair of singing pliers!! I will think of you and our crew every time i have an empty container of test strips!! #theAteam #DunCon #DuckFiabetes #CutTheBS
Thank you for being there! We may not have chatted as much as others, but I’m still glad you were there.
Agreed, Jenn! At first, I thought…90 people, that’s not alot…I’ll have time to talk to everyone…not true at all. I found myself looking for those unConference cards to give to people on Sunday. Maybe we’ll get more face to face time next year!
I love this. And I’m so happy to have your voice in the mix (not that I’m happy you have diabetes, but if you HAVE to have it, at least I can enjoy another great blog, right? You know what I mean…).
Your attitude about all of this is great. It puts a smile on my face, and is contagious. Thanks for being awesome and working so hard to help so many.
I look forward to seeing you again soon!
Scott, it was an honor for me to be around so many inspiring people. You, for example are amazing in the work you do to bring PWDs together and to make sure every voice, every opinion, every perspective is heard and understood. It can get easy to get bogged down by the numbers…but realizing that we’re not alone and that we can have fun while doing this has really opened my eyes to the resources available to us. Thanks so much for facilitating and not letting “Mean Scott” out…I honestly think he’s a myth…like Bigfoot or the Lockness Monster. Haha!
Wish I could have been there, but I’m glad I found your blog. I’m a bit of a noob too. You might be interested in DTreat happening in Boise, Idaho. The info is here- http://goo.gl/ojpZ3Z. It’s a great event for young adults with T1D. I attended last year and came away with a similar feeling to what you described. Cost is only $75 for room and food for the weekend. We would love to see you there!
Thanks for reading! The DTreat sounds amazing! I’m flattered, but unfortunately, I no longer fit into the category of “young adult.” I would love to hear more about it. Did you write a blog about it? I just signed on with JDRF as a Volunteer Outreach Co-Chair for adults 18 and up in my town. I’d love to get more information. I find it important to share this information to anyone who might need it…especially in that 18-30 age demographic!
I did blog about my experience there last year, have not gotten anything up for the upcoming one this year. Most of the info can be found in the link in my original comment. It is really a great experience, even though I was one of the few people there on the upper end of the age range. The $75 covers the retreat, the room, and meals for the days they are there, so the only additional cost is travel, and I know allegiant flies from Vegas to Boise for pretty cheap. If you know anyone who is interested or anyone has any questions let me know and I can get you my contact info. The link to the registration page has a lot of the info as well.
Very cool…Yea, my friends and I were like, “Maybe we can pass for under 30 and sneak-in!” Lol! I will pass on the information to anyone I can. Thanks again!
Arlene… sorry I’m just getting to this now. I’m so glad your experience at the UnConference was a good one. Everything you say here is absolutely right on. So inspirational. It’s only been about a month, but I’m already looking forward to next year. Thanks for sharing… I’ll be back!
Thank you for reading! I actually read this comment on #dayofdiabetes day. I was mentioned in a Tweet where someone appreciated the idea of being understood. And that is how I felt at the unConference, understood, without much explanation. I’m so happy you were there to contribute everything you did. I learned alot!