Becoming a JDRF Adult Support Group Regular

cgmcoffee.png

I’m committed to going on the regular. 2016 is the year of consistency, and for me, that means attending the JDRF adult support group every month. I went in December and tonight and I can say for me the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

Perspective: Although I still feel new and often lost at times within the bunch (in person and online)-I get to meet others who are at all different stages: the veterans, the newly diagnosed, it’s really a mixed bag and it offers a lot of different perspectives.

The greatest advantage is walking away after a few hours and knowing I was in a room with a bunch of people who just get it. I can’t really put a price on that or even describe the magnitude of that pro but let’s just say it’s pretty big for me. Let me stuff my face with cookie crumbs hanging from my lip. Taking 5 pee breaks during the session. No explanation needed.

Mentally, it gives me a power up. Like in Mario!

cgm

And now that I’ve been to the meetings enough times, my name card is set out on the table and I know a lot of faces who come to the table. I’m not as nervous as before and I can tell physically that my body is more relaxed. I’m not worrying about how I look or if I’m slouching. I’m just Jess.

That type of familiarity is especially important to me since there has been so much change in my life the last while.

We all want to feel we belong. We all want to be acknowledged. And this group does just that for me.

Next week I have a date with two type 1 friends and when I take inventory, a lot of my close friends now are people living with type 1. That, including some of the interaction I have with people on social media, I have to say there’s a community in-person and online that adds up to something I can’t take for granted in 2016.

This will be a big year for me in so many ways, and with a good team, new endocrinologist and hospital (which I have yet to meet, fingers crossed), place, and fresh new business adventures, it will be one big ride.

Has a support group helped you? Who is part of your diabetes community?

Sending lots of support to you need it, and even if you feel you don’t.

I will do everything -right- and my blood sugars will still do whatever it wants. I will have huge victories and sometimes feel defeated. no matter what though, every day i'm going to set out to try. i will think about how i want my life to

XO,

Jess

 

 

Smashing meters and eating ice cream: Toronto JDRF adult support group does things Joe Solowiejczyk style

A blood glucose meter that was demolished by a meat mallet.

I’m home from a type 1 diabetes support group meeting where I was encouraged to eat ice cream and destroy a blood glucose meter with a meat mallet.

The idea to do this came from popular diabetes speaker Joe Solowiejczyk. He closed the show at the JDRF infosium in Toronto recently.

Read my post on the event here

During his talk, Joe explained what he calls “diabetes depression days”.

He calls in sick, plops in front of the TV to watch his favourite movies, eats ice cream and spends time sulking about his diabetes.

Our facilitator Ana used Joe’s diabetes depression days as motivation.

Last night, she and outreach manager Sherry greeted us with ice cream! This may be a generalization but I’m pretty sure everyone was happy about it.

 

Ana also encouraged us to roll up our sleeves and break an old meter to bits. She brought rolling pins but in the end, her and another attendee hammered the meter with a meat mallet.

20140327-234115.jpg

 

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done at a type 1 event or meeting?

Although I didn’t take part in the meter hammering, I could see its therapeutic benefits. And the ice cream (for me dairy-free), well… I’m going to advocate for that to be a regular part of future meetings.

Tummy happy, waist elastic on pants (not so much),

Jessie

 

5 lessons I learned from the JDRF infosium in Toronto

photo 5-21. Listen to your body and trust your instincts. 

photo 3-7

Beauty and the Beast actor and guest speaker Austin Basis was extremely active growing up.

He played basketball, baseball and hockey. He wanted to be an MLB player.

Sports taught him to always be prepared and to learn and acknowledge the signs his body gave him.

2. The bionic pancreas is giving people hope.

Dr. Steven Russell had the audience in applause after this slide:

photo-1

The closed-loop artificial pancreas blood glucose control system continuously monitors blood glucose levels. Fast-acting insulin and glucagon gets delivered based on a computer algorithm.

So, no more carb counting or guessing what stress and exercise would do to your bg’s. This device does all the work. Russell said the ambitious date of release to the public is 2017. Find out more here.

Click on any photo and browse

photo 2-4

 3. It’s 100 per cent okay to acknowledge how difficult diabetes is. 

Closing speaker Joe Solowiejczyk is a nurse, diabetes educator and family therapist. He’s been living with type 1 diabetes for over 50 years.

I’ve heard Joe speak before and although I’ve heard his sentiments before, it was so nice to hear them again.

Diabetes sucks. It’s like a full-time job. Yes Joe!

My favourite quote of the night by Joe was this, “I am exhausted. I hate having diabetes. I love being alive.”

We are all troopers and need to remember that.

4. People will be ignorant. Rise above it. 

I used to get mad. Very mad. Steaming mad really when I saw a joke about diabetes or when people assumed I didn’t take care of myself or ate too much sugar. The rage I felt was downright scary, and it would quickly spiral into moments of deep sadness and frustration.

Joe made a great point about those who are ignorant towards type 1 diabetes.

Can you say that you have NEVER made a comment that might have shown ignorance about a medical condition?

What do YOU know about other health conditions? Some people are ignorant. Others are just stupid.

Not knowing about type 1 diabetes hurts because it’s personal.

Brush it off. Educate if you want (I try to!). Focus on the positives and spend your time with people who do the same. This has been one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from t1d.

5. Over-estimate the demand for diet pop. Here’s what was left at the end of the night.

photo-2

Connect.

Check out all the tweets from the event via Connected in Motion’s Storify

Austin Basis | Website | Twitter | Facebook |

Joe Solowiejczyk | Website | LinkedIn |

Dr. Russell Stevens | Bionic Pancreas |

JDRF Canada Infosiums

JDRF Canada | Website | Facebook | Twitter |