|Sock Monkey preparing to give a speech!|
|We made it to Vancouver!!!|
|Hamming it up within the #bluecircle|
This was my 2nd time volunteering with CDA (Canadian Diabetes Association) for the IDF convention, the last time was in 2009 in Montreal where I lived at the time (you can read about it @Diabetes1.org where I also did a stint wearing a media badge for them … this time I didn’t). I loved my experience last time, talking to doctors, researchers, companies involved in helping diabetics live life to the fullest. This time though, IDF due to legalities of products either not being available in Canada, as well as my not being in the medical profession limited the company representatives the ability to converse with me, and some could not even giving me a brochure to help me pass on the info to others (e.g. my CDE's at Cornwall Community Hospital - sorry). This was my main goal with attending the IDF conference! So sadly this maybe my last time going (next one is in Abu Dhabi) – as I found it highly frustrating not to have open and honest conversations with people.
|Henna Tattoo (I got two) - and insulin pens that have been blinged out in "jewels"!!!|
What did sadden me the most, and what I was being asked to help out with if I came to their country to educate/speak …. EDUCATION (please note … as I told them … I am not a medical professional … just someone living with diabetes most of their life). It is greatly lacking, along with resources, and costs for drugs, etc. that we all take for granted here in Canada / USA (50 test strips a year are covered in some countries for a T1D!!!). One surgeon I spoke to from Bangladesh, who performs amputations told me of the amount of amputations he does, not just of toes, but of legs due to people not either knowing they are diabetic, or footwear (many go barefoot or wear shoes that allow objects to become embedded into their feet). He wished they had better education in their hospitals or community centre that taught people about foot care and diabetes. I heard similar stories from people I met both during and after the conference, e.g. I met a woman from Saudi Arabia on the day of Santa Claus’s parade in Vancouver (piss pouring rain) and she asked me for directions to it. It turned out as we walked that she had attended the conference, we discussed diabetes and how I handled it, exchanged calling cards, and viola, another person dealing with the epidemic of Type 2 diabetes in their part of our big blue marble.
The best part though? Meeting up with new people and some I only know online and never met IRL since joining the #DOC (diabetic online community) in order to learn how to use my pump back in 2008! That in turn lead to a job at Diabetes1.org along with getting more involved in advocacy (I didn’t really talk much about diabetes for my first 41 years with it … shame on me). Cherise Shockley gives a really good hug and speaks from the heart. Manny Hernandez … well my “wet pussy” statements floored both him and Tom Karlya aka Diabetic Dad (sorry – I told them I didn’t wear my ears walking to the conference centre due to getting … rain soaked!!). Sadly, I think Kerri Sparling was worried another photo bomb would be taken of us … so she avoided any "ear contact" with me ;) The main thing though, meeting up with other folks (some you see scattered in pictures here) who are advocating / educating about diabetes is the most important thing!!!
Here’s to finding a CURE!!!