Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Thoughts on Diabetes Hope Conference 2014

The Diabetes Hope Conference was just over a fortnight ago and I've spent a bit of time reflecting on how I found it. There were a lot of things I loved about the Conference and only one minor thing I didn't really enjoy. In a nutshell - I loved the theme, the participants, the conversation and the ease of access. The one thing I wasn't such a fan of was the early start it required. 

First and foremost I loved the idea behind this conference. From the About page on the website:

"We thought that this lack of hope should change. We thought that someone should take up the mantle of hope and at a minimum, start creating hope by getting people to talk about complications like DPN. By talking about it amongst each other, with members of the medical community and yes, even with the pharmaceutical companies that supply the devices and medications for diabetics, we can share knowledge. And it is our belief that knowledge is the first step towards hope."

Diabetes is relentless, it's unforgiving, it's incurable and sometimes it does truly feel hopeless. Talking about hope and talking about the things about Diabetes that make you feel hopeless was only ever going to be a great thing. 

Great range of speakers and topics. They were conversations that I was truly interested in. I missed about half of the first conversation due to timing schedules (I was in bed snoozing... it was 4am!) but I still was immediately interested in it even though it was 4.20am NZ time. The whole complications thing can sometimes weigh on my mind. I'm 10 years in to my diagnosis, if they are going to happen, the time is only coming closer. Also, having just finished Diabetes Blog Week - was great to be able to Karen live in person! :)

As a blogger, the Value of Blogging Chronic Illness immediately jumped out when I first looked at the topics. It was really interesting hearing about the research done into this by Pamela Ressler and it gave me a bit of perspective. I spend so much time wrapped up in my own blog and the Diabetes Online Community that I hadn't given thought to what other chronic illness communities may be out there. I can only assume a lot!

The Doctor/Patient relationship is something that I come across in both a personal and professional way. In my professional life as an Advocate, I know what rights people have when it comes to health care in NZ. I know what quality means and I am find I am speaking up more about this  in my personal life and embracing this idea of being an active participant in my health care!

The biggest thing about the participants and their topics is that 99% of them are names I have come across before. They are the celebrities of our online community and I was a bit starstruck. Like so many of my peers, these bloggers are cornerstones of my online community - I read about them, tweet them, see them pop up on TuDiabetes etc. It was really fantastic to tune in and be a passive part of their conversations. 

As a kiwi it is so so amazing to have the chance to participate in something like this. I have to admit I get very jealous hearing about the events that are held in the States. So, having the opportunity to get involved in this conference was something I jumped at. I invited a friend for a sleep over so we could both get up earlier in the morning. I organised bacon, eggs, hashbrowns and croissants. And I got the laptop hooked up to our big TV screen - check out the pic I posted on twitter: .

I rocked my dressing gown and pajamas for the entirety of it and when it finished I jumped in the shower and headed to work for the day. I wasn't watching intensely for the whole time, I balanced between cooking breakfast, drinking coffee, chatting to my D Friend (thank you for joining me that early!) and watching the goings on. I like that side of it, that I could relax and be in my own environment. I sure did enjoy being in my pajamas! Comfy! That brings me to the only thing I wasn't such a fan of - the timing! It meant an early start of 4.30am for me and I was exhausted by the end of it. But it's a non issue, so much so I am purposely not putting it under a heading. Being in NZ means that timing is always going to be an issue and with something like this I would rather it be on in the early hours of the morning NZ time. The DSMA chats are on at night time in the US (I think?) but 2pm here in NZ so its sometimes hard to participate due to work. 

All in all - such a positive experience for me and I can't give enough thanks to the organisers, speakers and every one else behind the scenes. You all rock. 


Karen said...

Thank you so much for getting up so very very early where you are to participate!! I'm so glad you liked the conference. :)

S said...

Thanks for being a part of it! Had coffee so I was sorted for an early start!