“Diabetes! Diabetes! This way!”
The lady behind the counter was shouting and gesturing wildly as I entered the rec centre for an evening on exercise and nutrition put together by my fellow Young Adult Diabetes Committee members.
The YADC came to life a year ago and has since grown into a vibrant community of young adults living with diabetes, who are predominantly type 1s. As I found myself explaining to someone in attendance that night, this group really came about to fulfil a need that was currently missing in the Perth community.
As I took a seat and the evening’s proceedings kicked off, I found myself mentally nodding as I heard concepts being explained by our guest speakers that I was all too familiar with.
I looked around the room, glancing at some of the other people with diabetes and their loved ones in attendance. I observed many of them listening attentively, taking in all of the information they were hearing or jotting it down in note form. My own two parents were sitting behind me, and I wondered how easy this information was for them to take in.
They know the concepts behind managing type 1 diabetes quite well. At home, I find myself talking a lot about some of the exciting developments I read about in the DOC, my advocacy activities and diabetes related travel.
However, I’ve always been very independent in the physical management of my condition. I don’t bother them with all the nitty gritty stuff, like trying to figure out the best time to bolus for a high fat high protein pub dinner when my blood sugar is x mmol.
The evening broke off into group sessions, where I found myself chatting with some of my fellow type 1s in the room. It was nice (but also saddening) to hear other experiences in public hospital diabetes care that mirrored mine, while there were also some inquisitive questions asked of the pumpers and CGM users.
I departed this event with a far greater insight from all of the different perspectives I had heard and observed in the room during the course of the evening, and all of the different motivations for attending.
During our committtee meetings, good ideas simply seem to pop among this very bright group of YADC members. I spend my spare time trawling social media, squealing with excitement over the latest device or venting my frustration over the latest coverage of diabetes in the media. I get to catch up with people in the industry and other diabetes bloggers when I’ve received opportunities to travel, who are people just like me.
This event, however, had finally brought me outside of the diabetes bubble that I so often find myself sitting in. I just need to figure out how I can spend some more time here.