Here are the easy steps you need to follow in order to meet an amazing PWD for dinner:
· Leave your house at 5AM and drive for 3 hours to get to the airport.
· Board a plane and sit in it for 4 ½ hours.
· Drive from the airport to your hotel: 1 ½ hours.
· Wait impatiently all day.
· Receive much awaited text and hurry to the lobby of your hotel.
· Meet a wonderful person.
Ok, maybe that wasn’t easy but it was oh-so-worth the effort! I just had an opportunity to travel to Connecticut for a diabetes related meeting. This post isn’t about that experience (that will follow soon), but instead about the side benefit that this trip gave to me. I had dinner with Karen Graffeo of Bitter-sweet!
I “met” Karen online when I found her blog in May of 2011. She was hosting her D Blog Week where folks blog each day about the subjects she posts and then we share links to our blogs on her site. It was a great experience and introduced me to so many more bloggers and awesome people of the DOC. Since then we exchange greetings on FB and Twitter etc. Karen always has kind and encouraging words and often leaves such lovely comments here on my blog. I said early on, “I’m going to meet her some day!” but I figured I’d never get the opportunity.
When I told Karen that I was going to be in Connecticut for a couple of days, she offered to drive to where I’d be and meet me for dinner. I was so excited!! I did get to briefly meet Manny Hernandez at the San Diego TCOYD conference but I count this as my first-ever D meetup. (Manny didn’t know me from Adam but he is such a great guy!)
When we met in the lobby of my hotel it felt as if I was seeing an old friend who I hadn’t seen in ages. It’s interesting how you can meet someone who is essentially a stranger and yet feel so comfortable and at ease right away. We had a lot of time to visit and get to know each other a bit better. Dinner was great but the company was much better. I won’t bore you with our conversation but I will tell you about something that I took away from that meeting that surprised me.
There is someone in my extended family that has type 1 but we’ve never really discussed her care or her pump or how she handles her condition. I have seen her measure and weigh food at family meals etc, but diabetes hasn’t been in our discussions much. Therefore, this was the first opportunity I have had to “hang out” with a T1. Let me say that Karen dealt with her D so seamlessly that you wouldn’t really notice…unless you were someone like me who spends so much of her time thinking about D, reading about D and is interested in how others handle their glucose control. I was a shameless snoop and asked her questions about her glucose and such. Afterwards it occurred to me that it might have felt intrusive and that made me feel bad (sorry Karen), but I was just so interested! At one point she showed me her CGM and how she is able to see trends etc. I’d never seen one “in person” before. It was fascinating. She was so diligent and conscientious. I was in awe.
So here I am hanging out with this lovely lady, watching her test multiple times and calculate her carbs and bolus and such and I had a few moments of guilt. You see, I did test before we went out and during our meal my alarm went off reminding me to take my meds. Then I tested again later in my hotel room. When I compared that to all that Karen had to do during our few hours together, it seemed like nothing. I actually felt a bit like a fraud. Yes, I have diabetes. Yes, I have to pay attention to what I eat and make sure that I exercise and take my meds. But DANG, I’ve got it easy by comparison!
This post isn’t about how one type of diabetes is better/worse than the other. There is no better or worse diabetes, but you can’t compare apples and oranges, which is what you’re doing when you compare types. Type 1 and type 2 are both diabetes, just like apples and oranges are both fruit, but the level of attention needed to control the one is so much more intense than the other. All I’m trying to say, perhaps badly, is that I so admire those folks who are so dedicated to their health that they are willing to do what they do. (That includes all types because we T2s definitely have our work to do too.) Karen is an awesome “I’m taking care of my D but it’s just part of what I do and it isn’t in your face” dynamo! I’m so impressed and I learned so much in just those couple of hours with her. I got to see it up close and it amazes me. People with diabetes who pay attention and want to do all they can to control their D are nothing short of phenomenal. We rock! We roll with the punches! We may have our down days, but damn, we are amazing! No matter the type, no matter the regimen we follow, we make this look easy when it’s anything but.
I’m so pleased to have finally met Karen. She is a wonderful person and amazing advocate for PWD. Thank you for teaching me so much even though you didn’t know you were doing it. We’ll meet again, I know, and next time there will be shopping!
|Next time we'll ask the photographer to step a bit closer.|