On Tuesday, I attended the Roche day for Diabetes Educators as an invited speaker. For the remainder of the week, I am at the ADS-ADEA conference as a consumer reporter for Diabetes Australia. All disclosures are here.
My time at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre has been an extremely humbling experience, and unlike any of the consumer driven events that I’ve ever been to.
I really have been blown away by the many incredible diabetes educators who came and introduced themselves to me at the conclusion of the Roche Educators Day on Tuesday. It was so humbling to hear them praise the lived experience that was presented during a consumer driven panel discussion. They had travelled from all over the country to be here, and their passion to learn and to self improve really shone through.
This was indeed, a very different crowd to the consumer events that I’m used to. For me, the highlight was putting faces to some of the diabetes educators and healthcare professionals that I’ve previously only known online. Including getting a big pinch from South Australian based diabetes educator Jayne Lehman, and being asked if I was real. It was also great to reconnect with the team from Abbott a few short weeks after our convention at DX2Melbourne, as well as meeting the team from the Australian Behavioural Centre for Research in Diabetes (ACBRD).
The real highlight was being able share this experience with Renza, Ashley and Melinda. Each of us have very different opinions on diabetes. Each of us come from different walks of life. Yet I love that we are able to come together, support each other, respect each other, and hopefully enjoy each other’s company at events like these.
I feel like I’ve been a broken record in my conversations, repeatedly saying to people I meet that I do not represent all people with diabetes. I am among the more privileged, more well educated individuals. Sadly this is not the reality for all people with diabetes. I was one of those people a short three years ago. It really is my wish not only to see consumers more empowered in their diabetes management, but also to see healthcare professionals and diabetes organisations better supporting their patients to be more confident in self management.
In response to a statement from diabetes educators about some consumers not taking responsibility for their actions, Melinda at Twice Diabetes put it really bluntly in one of our sessions yesterday afternoon. Consumers really have no choice but to start taking responsibility for their diabetes decision making.
Diabetes is a live or die situation.
You can continue to follow our live updates from the ADS-ADEA conference in Perth today by following #ADSADEA2017 and #DAPeoplesVoice on Twitter.