DiabetesSisters Weekend for Women
One woman shares her experience at the conference.
By Stacey Divone
When you live with a condition that is as continuous and challenging as diabetes, there is a lot of mental anguish that goes along with it. One of these feelings is loneliness. Sometimes it's hard not to feel alone when you're that only one that has to test your blood sugar multiple times a day. Or count every single carb that goes in your mouth. And on and on.
Then came the magic of the diabetes online community in the form of blogs, online networking sites, Twitter, and Facebook. Connecting people virtually. I have gotten to know so many people living with diabetes over the past few years that I've lost count. And even though I haven't met all of them in "real life," they mean the world to me. Take that one step further, to meetings in person, and the instant bond is indescribable. Imagine being in a room full of close to 100 women with diabetes, from 20 different states around the United States (and Canada too!), ranging in age from 18 to 68. Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Weekend for Women Conference held by DiabetesSisters in Raleigh, North Carolina. And I was in that room. I was part of that group that learned together. Shared together. Laughed together. Hula hooped together.
The beginning evening activities included networking "games" that gave us all a chance to get to know each other. It set a fun environment that broke the ice for anyone feeling a bit apprehensive.
The following day was full of sessions to choose from. One of the sessions I attended was hosted by Dr. Dana McNeil from Duke University, who spoke about the various hormones that affect diabetes in women during different life stages. She reinforced that diabetes is personal. I could not have agreed more.
There was another session by Dr Laura Young from UNC, who spoke about depression. I was interested to learn that since depression is so common among people with diabetes, your doctor really should be screening for depression once a year. I had never heard this before, nor have I ever been screened. In 30 years. I really appreciate learning things like this so that I can take this information to my endocrinologist and feel like an empowered patient.
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Years before I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, The Other Half came out of a doctor's appointment with a diagnosis of "borderline diabetes" and an ADA exchange diet sheet. His health insurance agency followed up on the diagnosis with a glucometer and test strips. After a year or so of trying to follow the diet plan and test his glucose levels, things appeared to be back in "normal" range, and stood there until a couple of years after my own diagnosis. Shortly...