After a last-minute decision, I attended the Taking Control of Your Diabetes conference this Saturday in Santa Clara, CA. I showed up around 8, registered and filled out the "pre-test." I was wondering how much new information I would discover given the easy scope of the questions, but tried to have an open mind. The morning talks were interesting and fun and I met up with some old & new friends at the Expo. I finally met Amy T. from Diabetes Mine and her husband and talked bikes for a few minutes. I would have loved to visit longer, but there were some eager people wanting to know more about the online scene. (I still want to plan a Diabetes OC/DESA bike ride sometime this fall for the Bay Area.) And I picked up her book, Know Your Numbers, Outlive Your Diabetes, which I plan to read soon. I grilled the Dexcom people on their pricing (which I am really not happy about) for the new 7-day sensor and tried to ask a few people if it was worth upgrading. Steve Edelman, the conference director, said yes, that it does work better. My friend Bill King said that it is better but I saw that it still skips readings sometimes. I have a box of 5 sensors to get through so I will wait for now. Mine are usually waterproof, more or less, so there is no huge advantage to me, especially if the new one doesn't come with free, improved software, and if the sensors don't last longer than the 3-day ones. I guess another advantage would be not having to reset the sensor every 3 days and missing those skipped hours during calibration.
Doug Burns spoke during lunch and told us his inspirational story. What struck me is how tough the whole movie theater fiasco must have been given his childhood. He had a rough time with diabetes as a kid, and was picked on because he was so skinny and weak. He turned his life around by working tirelessly at his goal to get stronger, and to ultimately win the Mr. Universe competition. I wonder if getting beat up by the police reminded him of those tough times. I am so sad that he has had to go through this, and whatever he decides to do (litigate or come to some mediated solution) he has my support, for what it's worth. As he told us, he was returning to the theater to get some food when the police put his hand on Doug's shoulder from behind. You just don't grab someone from behind--if someone did that to me, you bet I would whip around in a defensive posture. Sheesh. Anyway, it was great to hear him talk, even though he wasn't able to give his slides as planned.
The highlight of the afternoon was probably the talk with Dr. William Polonsky on psychological issues related to diabetes. The patients were seated on the left and the healthcare providers on the right side of the room, and Dr. Polonsky asked each side what drove them crazy about the other. I think most of the healthcare providers were genuinely caring and understanding, but there were a couple that made my blood boil (specifically, the "they have no will power" lady). Then Dr. Polonsky worked with the group to reconcile these differences and try to understand where the feelings were coming from. I am fortunate now to have a team that seems to get it, but I have had previous experiences that were negative and had a few things to say.
I was glad I went and although some of the talks were not new to me, it got me thinking to the time when I was diagnosed and I was so strict about everything. If nothing else, it reminded me that it was possible to have better control, and that many people share the same frustrations that I do. If you have the chance to go to a conference in your area, I would recommend it. And if you are like me and register late, it will only cost you $40. I think the pre-registration price is $30.