Monday, July 4, 2016

Friends For Life The Third

I am sitting on my deck right now enjoying an ice cold diet coke in between loads of laundry and other last minute details before I depart for Orlando tomorrow.

The sun is blinding and hot, but the breeze is cooling my skin enough to remind me that this is a fabulous life I have built for myself (and also maybe I am trying to soak up the last bit of cool breeze I will have until Saturday)

I just finished mowing the lawn of the yard that my husband and I have tended to for the past 3 years, and even though it's sweaty hard work...it's worth it. I had this odd feeling, before I went outside though. I am wearing my Dexcom sensor on the back of my arm, and I threw on an old tank top since I knew I was going to get dirty. I worried for a brief moment if my neighbours would see the odd piece of machinery on my arm and question what it was. It's not that I even care when people ask me what these things are, it's just...a feeling that I can't put my finger on.

When I was laid off in February, my life kind of crashed a bit. I felt like the rug was pulled from under my feet and I had to seriously decide on what to focus on. I realized in February I may not be able to make it to my now favourite event of the year, the Friends For Life conference, due to finances and potential new employment.

In steps the Diabetes Hands Foundation. They are graciously sending me to Masterlab to talk about my advocacy, and to learn about others' advocacy. Being in a room surrounded by powerful advocates, each with their own special toolkit, and being understood is key to being able to raise awareness and live healthy.

When I was younger, I was a part of a very close knit diabetes community in camp. It was my one week a year where I was welcome, understood, and everyone else felt the same way I did sometimes. Over the years, I grew up and worked at the camp. Eventually I had to stop working at the camp because real adult life took over, and I drifted from that community. I still have a small group of very close friends who I made at camp...but I no longer feel like I am part of the camp community. For a few years that really hurt, and I couldn't find a replacement. Cue finding the Friends For Life Conference. I have been so lucky to be able to attend the past few years, it is truly an honour to now be working at the conference. I am a firm believer in having a community of people who can say "me too" when you are living with a chronic illness, and when you are at a conference centre where thousands and thousands of people say me too, it's magic.

I am so lucky to found a new community who is accepting, understanding and ready to advocate again.

For me, its a few days escape from worrying about my neighbours eyeing my sensor, or having to halt a hike because of juice box and feeling like a nuisance, it's a few days where there's more people who just know- no questions asked.

It's seeing a dream I had while working for JDRF actually be alive and a well oiled machine. I always wanted this sort of thing to be real, little did I know that it existed on this sort of scale.

So before I board a plane at 4:30 tomorrow morning, I wanted to take a minute here and try and explain the absolutely unexplainable.


1 comment:

  1. It will be delightful to meet you in Orlando, have a great trip.

    I referred your blog to the TUDiabetes.org blog page for the week of July 4, 2016.

    ReplyDelete