Last night I got home from the first ever Diabetes UnConference in Las Vegas. During my trip home, I saw on social media that Stephen wrote a blog post about it and I thought to myself, wow he’s quick! But then I thought, he had the right idea. While it’s still fresh in my mind I wanted to share my thoughts.
The above photo is when we were on top of Las Vegas. We took a ride on the High Roller (an observation wheel that goes 550 feet up and gives the most amazing panoramic views of Vegas). It was incredible.
I’ve been to numerous diabetes conferences before. And I was always happy to attend them not only to learn from the experts or panelists but also to connect with others from the diabetes community. This was a little different. The goal of the first UnConference was to allow the attendees to create the agenda, using various methods for us all to share with and learn from each other as peers. I think it did that very well. Nothing was shared on social media and I won’t even share explicit details here. Just imagine being with about 90 other people with diabetes who get it, talking about what is important to all of us and I probably don’t even need to go into much detail. As wonderful and important as online connections are, in-real-life connections are that much more powerful. And stick with you forever.
Christel asked us to write down one word to describe how we were feeling at the end. (I hope I don’t get in trouble for sharing this part!) I was, and still am, feeling extremely thankful. Finding the diabetes online community about 8 1/2 years ago when I was getting my first insulin pump was the best thing that ever happened to me. And it has been extraordinary to watch it continue to grow over the years. I’ve learned more over that time period than I did the first 24 years as a person with T1. And I’m not exaggerating. I wish so much that my father would have had the same opportunity. I think it would have been so good for him and maybe things could have turned out differently. The diabetes community (both online and off) has had an immensely positive impact on my life and for that I will forever be thankful. I wish that every person with diabetes has this same opportunity and I will do whatever I can to reach those who may not have it yet.
This above photo is one of the amazing views from the sky during my flight home back to the East Coast. Looking through the (few) pictures I took during the weekend, I sensed a theme. We were on top of Vegas. I was on top of the sky. And what I was left feeling – on top of the world.