Friday, July 22, 2016

Another Year, Same Magic

Airport Buddies
 In the beginning of July I attended my 2nd CWD Friends For Life Conference. After last year's incredible experience, I wondered if the magic could be recreated a second year. Would I feel the same joy? Would I learn as much? Would I make meaningful connections? All those doubts were erased the moment I arrived at my airport gate to board my flight. Sitting there was a FFL, Mike. From then on, I knew I was in for another amazing trip.
    This year, I was lucky enough to make some sweet friends through the DOC (Diabetes Online community) and meeting them in person was like reconnecting with old pals that you have known for 10 years. The connections with FFls is an instant bond. We all "get it" and knowing that makes it so much easier to be yourself. By the end of first night, I found myself cracking jokes and watching fireworks on a hotel balcony with friends I had met for the first time just a few hours earlier.
   Besides, the instant friendships and wonderful camaraderie, the educational value and emotional support available at the conference is top notch. The keynote speaker this year was the magnificent Dr. Ed Damiano. I was once again blown away with the technology he and his team at Beta Bionics continue to come up with. The progress that has been made with the bihormonal bionic pancreas, iLet, is incredible. The freedom and precision this device will offer people living with T1D is incredible and I am excited to see it come on the market as early as 2018!
   Like last year, my favorite sessions were the open ended discussions among fellow T1Ds about topics such as complications and diabetes burnout. I am able to learn so much through the experiences of those who have lived the D-life for much longer than I have. Scott, Kerri, and Sean do amazing job leading these discussions keeping the mood light and filled with laughter.
    This conference is so much more than I could ever write about in a blog post. It's the ease of having all foods carb counted. It's a feeling of togetherness. It's the amazing people, both those with green bracelets (T1Ds) and orange bracelets (those who love someone with T1D). After you experience this, you will never be the same again and I wish everyone with T1D could attend this conference at least once in their lifetime. Special thanks to the Diabetes Scholars Foundation for once again making this trip possible for me!