I like summer. Summer means there is a lot of activity in the DOC, with conferences, meetings, people traveling, etc. I’m glad I’m still able to do some of that even with my busy schedule and my two jobs. That’s probably why I like doing what I do, because I can take time off when I need it.
So last week I was off to Boston for a diabetes summit organized by Valeritas, a company that manufactures the V-Go, an insulin delivery system designed specifically for people with type 2 diabetes, and the summit was with the purpose of bringing the type 2 diabetes community together. I had the pleasure to see Mike Durbin, Kate Cornell, Phyllisa Deroze, Kelly Close and Bennet Dunlap. It was so nice to sit down with people who wanted to hear what we had to say and concentrate on the needs and struggles of people with type 2 diabetes. Valeritas wants to know what we need, what we want, how they can help, and of course I always bring a little be of skepticism with me but I think that’s healthy.
Phyllisa, Kate, Bea (me), Kelly, Bennet and Mike at the Type 2 Diabetes Summit
Most of the the conversation revolved around the big stigma people with type 2 diabetes have to face, with the whole “we did this to ourselves.” Now, if you put a person like me in the mix, then it becomes harder because I deal with weight issues. And you see… people don’t look beyond what they see. If you saw me, you’d probably think “no wonder she has diabetes… look at her, she’s fat!” — And I would say, no wonder I have diabetes because I have insulin resistance due to PCOS, and it’s hard for me to manage my weight because I also suffer from depression. The thing is, nobody cares… And we want people to care!
And here is where I make a stop to ask for 15 minutes of your time to watch this video where Dr. Peter Attia talks about the diabetes/insulin resistance/weight conundrum. Really… watch it… I mean WATCH IT! You can do it now or later, but please… WATCH IT.
Caring… yes, I was talking about caring. We need that, and we need compassion, and we need people to stop their judgment and their criticism. But we’re not going to get too far if we don’t unite and make our voice louder. That’s where meetings like the Type 2 Diabetes Summit come in. The DOC has such an amazing capacity for success, and it’s been shown again and again that we’re able to move mountains. So when it comes to dealing with my personal struggles with type 2 diabetes, I don’t want to do it alone. And Valeritas wants to help… we just need to figure out what kind of help we need/want without losing our identity as diabetes advocates.
Funny thing is that when I got the invitation for the type 2 diabetes summit, I was a busy bee (Bea) working on a project that’s been simmering in my mind for a while. A project that wouldn’t be possible with the help of some really cool members of the DOC and whom I’m extremely lucky to call friends. So after a long time thinking and a short time discussing it, I decided to launch a collaborative blog called The Type 2 Experience and I had Bob Pedersen, Kate Cornell, Mike Durbin, Lizmari Collazo, Sue Rericha and Rachel Foster join me and help me get it started. What happened next is Valeritas getting excited about it and wanting to know how they can help, and having Phyllisa Deroze and Bennet Dunlap join us as well. We’re still at the early stages, we still don’t know how the site is going to evolve, but I’m pumped and I really want to make it a place where people with type 2 feel connected and heard.
I came back from Boston to a diabetes themed Chicago because the ADA 73rd Scientific Sessions were in town, and although I didn’t have time to attend the sessions I was able to meet with some of DOC people, joined the Diabetes Hands Foundation at a cocktail party, and DSMA Live for an offline get together organized by Roche Diabetes Care downtown. Both events showed me I’m in the right spot at the right time. Like Cherise Shockley said, I went from being a quiet member of the DOC to being on the spotlight because of my involvement with DSMA en Vivo. And I don’t do it for me… I don’t like being the center of attention, but if I can help ONE person, then I’m all for it.
To hear Manny Hernandez talk about the mission of DHF and all the things they have accomplished to help people with diabetes not only made me happy, but extremely proud because I was humbled by their invitation to join the advisory group. There I was thinking “Holy shit, and I make part of all this?” YES, I DO! I don’t like to brag about what I do, but being part of this amazing movement and see things happening… yeah, sometimes I feel I want to cry. When I joined TuDiabetes.org 6 years ago, I never imagined I would be so committed and so passionate about the diabetes cause… not at this level, anyway.
And DSMA Live… what can I say that I haven’t said already? The session last Monday was fun and engaging. I love how we talked about stigma, I love how we can connect to people, I love the members of our team, and I’m SO FREAKING HAPPY that Mila Ferrer has agreed to join the DSMA en Vivo team.
(Scott, Kerri, Bennet, Cherise, Mila and Bea (me) at DSMA Live event)
This is all so general, and I believe I owe a much better and detailed post about the Type 2 Diabetes Summit, but I wanted to write about this last week, because once again I was reminded that what I do has meaning and fuels my life.