Monday, July 13, 2015

DTreat 2015

I got the opportunity to attend and help facilitate at DTreat 2015 in Idaho over the weekend.  If you don't know what DTreat is, it's a retreat for young adults with Type 1 diabetes.  There are a range of topics covered like dealing with burnout and stress, college life, insurance, diabetes in the workplace, and a lot of fun things going on as well.  But most of all it's great to be able to get together with a lot of T1 peers and just have a good time while not feeling different.  Kind of like summer camp for grown ups.  This was my second year attending.  Last year as a participant and this year as a facilitator.  Sadly, this will be my last year participating, as next year I will be outside of the 18-30 year old spectrum (#old).  I am hoping that they will call me back as a speaker or helper in some fashion next year (hint, hint).  It's impossible to cover everything that goes on here, and putting it all into words is something I don't think I can do but I wanted to cover what the highlights were for me.

It was great to see this years DTreat grow some from last year.  There were over 40 T1 young adults in attendance.  A lot of attendees were from the local area with ties to Hodia from being campers previously.  But there were also a lot of attendees from other places; from Virginia, California, Washington, Ohio, Georgia, Michigan, Iowa, and Arizona.  It is exciting to see the event grow and reach more areas of the country.

Every syringe represents someones hometown

The first day was all about getting to know everyone.  As everyone showed and got settled in there was a vendor fair to get lots info and free goodies.  We played some ice breaker games to learn about all the things we have in common and the things that make us unique.  After a few dinner and a few other activities to get the group settled it was time for Game Night!



Day two kicked off with a great presentation with Annie Schultz who works for TrialNet, and has also worked for JDRF and took part in one of the artificial pancreas trials at Benaroya Research Center in Seattle.  Annie is great and hearing her story was so amazing.  You can see a little of Annie's story here.  She talked about a few other research things going on as well.  The AP trials throughout the country and the encapsulation trials by ViaCyte are definitely something to get excited about!  After that the group broke into guys and gals groups for some more personal conversation.  The afternoon included 'speed dating' where the participants were able to choose a handful of topics they were interested in and rotate through stations in small groups to ask questions about those topics.  I got to man the insurance station.  I'm certainly not an expert but having dealt with buying insurance for 10 years I hope I was able to provide a little assistance to those that needed, mostly students still on their parents insurance who want to know what's coming when they are no longer able to do that.  The day closed out with presentations on getting older and preventing complications and stress and burnout (something near and dear to my heart).  That night we were scheduled to attend a block party concert/fundraiser but we were rained out.  Instead we went to a local sports bar/bowling alley/arcade.  I think it was a good break from all the diabetes talk and a good chance to the participants to bond and have a good time.

Some of our speakers from day two

Our final day kicked off with a Skype session with Scott Scolnick from Go Bionic.  Go Bionic is developing a bionic pancreas, theirs is the only dual hormone system  being trialed in the US.  They also just unveiled their prototype of the iLet at FFL.  I believe we were one of the first groups to get to see this presentation.  I for one was totally geeking out over this.  They are gearing up to start trials for FDA approval very soon, which is SO exciting.  I'm not going to go into too much detail on this because I think it's worthy of its own blog posts which it will get.  We had a couple of attendees from CDN, Dan and Mindy, who gave a great presentation on Diabetes and your rights in the workplace.  Dan and Mindy were great and I'm super jealous that they both get to make diabetes their careers.  Dan works in stem cell research focusing on diabetes, and Mindy is working with the College Diabetes Network.  I'm extra jealous of her because she has gotten to attend FFL and meet awesome people.  We closed out with Taylor leading the group in making "Jars of Happy".  I don't think a lot of the group grasped how great these could be if you ever find yourself battling through some depression.  I still have mine from last year and its great to get a reminder that there is more out there than diabetes and that life can go on even when it seems you don't want it to.  We had one more closing activity and even though it seemed like it had just started, it was over.

Dan and Mindy from CDN

Jars of Happy

I had very good time and I'm sad that it's over now.  I feel so lucky that I was able to be a part of it the past two years and if you are, or you know someone who is 18-30 living with Type 1 diabetes I encourage you to look into this event.  It will be back next year and it is just an amazing experience for young adults.  Taylor and Sydnee did a great job of bringing this event to Boise and have put so much hard work into getting it going, along with the rest of the committee, Gabby and Natalie.  I have already seen so many pictures and connections on Facebook in the day since DTreat ended.  And that's really what it's about.  Building connections and a support network.  And I'm incredibly grateful that it's there.

No comments:

Post a Comment