Sunday, August 17, 2014

DTreat- Retreat for D's

I meant to get this post written towards the beginning of last week but I'm just getting to it now because life.  Nevertheless, I am writing it now.  When I got my original (mis)diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, it was a struggle to find people my age who were also T2.  It is unusual for someone in their 20's to be diagnosed with the disease.  Then we I was (re)diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes it was kind of the opposite.  While I was able to find others who had T1, most of them that were my age had been living with it since they were young.  And realistically, it was difficult to find or connect to anyone my age who was Type 1.  I felt very isolated and always searching for someone who I could relate with about everyday life with T1D.  I was so fortunate to get involved with Camp Hodia which eventually lead me to DTreat.  Dtreat is a retreat for young adults 18-30 with T1D.  The amazing people at Hodia organized the first one in this area and it took place last weekend in Boise.  I will admit that being at the upper end of the age range with a group of people in their early 20's was a little intimidating at first.  Add that to the fact that I am extremely intoverted and generally quiet in large groups of people and it would be an understatement to say that I was little nervous as I walked into the hotel Friday evening.  However, Sydnee and Taylor did a great job with coming up with some ice breakers to get everyone talking.  That night we had dinner and a beach party and everyone just spent some time getting to know everyone.  We played some volleyball, which I love, and that helped me to open up to the group a little (even if I was a bit over competitive at times.  What can I say?  Volleyball brings out the extrovert in me).

  There was such a great mix of people there.  Most in their early twenties, a few in their mid to late twenties and early thirties; some using pumps of various brands, some doing MDI with either pens or syringes; some doing the CGM, Dexcom and Medtronic; some living with diabetes for over 20 years, some just diagnosed within the couple years.  There was really someone there from every walk of diabetes life.  The second day was filled with some peer to peer discussions and several great speakers from the local diabetes community.  We talked about several aspects of life with T1D; relationships, coping with stress, transitioning to life as an adult, staying motivated, and just life in general with the disease.  Greta VanDyke, a diabetes educator for a local pediatric endo, talked about the future of diabetes.  There was discussion about beta cell encapsulation, bionic pancreas trials, CGMs, inhalable insulin, and the advancing technology.  Right up my alley.  Following that there a "speed dating round" which gave everyone a chance to spend some time peer to peer discussing their choice out of a few different topics.  My choices- Motivation, Life with D, Independence, and stress.  After that there was the choice of a few breakaway topics.  I chose "Getting Involved" with Lynn Giesler.  Helping out the D community is one of my favorite things to do.

After a great lunch, things continued as we split into groups by age; 18-23 in one and 24+ in the other.  Dr. Amy Walters gave a great presentation on Stress and Time Management which is something I struggle with quite frequently so it was great for me.

After that we went to Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll with Dr. Richard Christensen, a local Endo and Medical Director with Camp Hodia.  While it wasn't necessarily a topic that affected me too much at this point in my life I relished the opportunity to offer my input and help out some others with questions.  Day 2 wrapped up with a Blue themed dance party and some board games with the group.  Our final day we Dr. Walters was back to talk to us about Relationships, offering some insight on how diabetes effects different relationships and why as well ways to help them be successful.  That was followed by a great group discussion with Greta VanDyke again where the group got to kind of steer the discussion where they wanted.  We wrapped up with some motivational and team building stuff and then it was over...too quick.

It was a great weekend and just what I needed at the time.  While I came in nervous of being so much older than the group I quickly found that it wasn't really an issue.  We may have been at different points in our lives, but the common strand in our lives is diabetes and it's such a huge part of all of our lives that it was easy to find common ground and bond over it.  I can't express in words how great it was to be in a group of people where no one in the room questions why you were taking out a meter at dinnertime or what you were doing when inject your insulin.  The whole weekend was extremely empowering.  I can't wait until next year, and I am hoping to be involved in the planning and on board as a facilitator for that one.  Maybe then I won't feel so old.

P.S.  The after effects have been far reaching for my control.  I haven't consistently seen numbers like this in the morning since I stopped using the Dex.

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