This weekend, I gave a talk about finding good support to a group of people living with type 1 diabetes. I can’t remember the last time I stood up in front of PWD and just chatted about life with diabetes. Recently, all the presentations I have given have been for HCPs and the tiny few I have given to PWD have focused solely on social media and technology. It was kind of nice to go back to basics and talk about supporting each other more broadly.
So, here is my secret admission: I always feel like a fraud when I am about to give a talk. Seriously, who am I? I live with diabetes and all I can do is share my (frequently clumsy) experiences. I always prepare, but my talks rarely, if ever, end up how I planned. I wind up taking weird tangents, sharing far-too personal stories and then when the anecdote comes to end, I stand there a little shocked with nowhere left to go other than to sheepishly say, ‘Right…so where were we?…’
Anyway, I was talking about how we can work with our HCPs to get the best support – and finding support outside our HCP team. And how great families and friends can be with their support, but somehow, there is nothing like being around others with diabetes because they just ‘get it’.
There was lots of nodding and chatter and laughter in the room. It was really informal – just a (large) group of people sitting around chatting. These are my people; this is my tribe!
This was my favourite kind of talk. The audience was really engaged and wanted to share their stories. I love that for a number of reasons – one of them being that it means I have to do less work! But mostly, because I always learn something new. Because there before me is a room full of experts!
Someone came up to me afterwards and thanked me for my talk. And I thanked them. Because as much as I love sharing and talking about my diabetes, I love hearing from others even more.