Sunday 23 April 2017

TADtalk2017...Train reflections #TADtalk2017 #diabetes #DOC #GBDoc

So I've spent the weekend in London catching up with the lovely Amber (aka diabetesgeek) which was wonderful. However the true reason for our respective journeys to London was for the Talking About Diabetes (TAD) 2017 event.
As you would probably guess from the title, the TAD event involves lots of inspirational speakers sharing their motivations and experiences of life with diabetes. They were speaking to a large audience made up of people with diabetes and those affected by diabetes, both personally and professionally - a great mix of helathcare professionals, parents, children, partners and of course people living with diabetes every day. It was a really challenging and motivating event, and I must day that I wouldn't have changed a single thing about! I look forward to the next year's event eagerly...

Nonetheless, I must say that I attended with a slight agenda of my own outside the desire to hear from the great speakers on the stage. This agenda was to meet the wonderful Diabetes Online Community (DOC) members in the flesh after reading their stories, achievements and goals online. Moreover, I wanted to shake their hand or in reality, hug them, and to say thank you for all the support they have personally given me...and I was so happy that I got to do this! 😀

So what were they like? Well honestly I can say that they were what I expected them to be and a lot more besides - welcoming, friendly, chatty, funny and caring. They were all genuinely interested in finding out each others stories and being concerned with how others are coping with the ups and down that is diabetes! I instantly felt like I was at home amongst friends. Friends who cared and friends who want to help each other. The fact that many of us had only met earlier that day was never apparent as we chatted and laughed happily together. Throughout the whole day and the evening drinks provided by DiabetesUK, we were all keen to find out more about the people we have shared our diabetes successes and disappointments with online and to discover more about the person behind the profile. This friendly exchange of laughter, jokes, support and advice carried on for a number of hours until we all had to go our separate ways later in the evening...a perfect way to round off the successful TAD event.

This morning however, I woke up with completely mixed emotions, which took me by surprise.

Despite TAD exceeding my expectations in terms of the content of talks, the awesome stories, inspiring speakers and the running of the whole event, part of me suddenly felt sad that it was over. After meeting these wonderful people, some of which organised and spoke at the event and others as attendees like myself, I suddenly felt like I wanted more time in that bubble where conversations involved diabetes but we were all seen as people by one and other and where genuine concern and interest existed. Where diabetes could be openly discussed, where CGMs beeped and finger-prick tests were the norm and where kind supportive people where all around and we were all being viewed as more than just a HbA1c number...

I truly am so grateful to have spent time in the company of these people who I hold great respect for in terms of their personal successes and how they've overcome hurdles and yet are still focused on supporting others. 

So as I travel back on the train to Wales, I still feel a bit like I want to rewind time and want to relive yesterday all over again. How great would it be to have all the TAD attendees at your local meets up each time?!? More importantly though I am so happy to have been part of the event and it has motivated me to continue doing what I'm doing and to catch up more with these wonderful individuals at diabetes conferences, workshops and social meet ups!

Now back to filling in my evaluation for yesterday's event. As I positively feedback my views on it all, I reach the question asking about any further comments or suggestions and I truly only have one thought...I would love more of the TAD talk ambiance and connection that surrounded the whole event in my day-today life. Who wouldn't want more contact with the wonderful people who make up the Diabetes Online Community?!? I know I'm looking forward to the next event and seeing them all again already 😊 

For anyone who hasn't attended a diabetes event, I would recommend you attend one if you can and that you chat to the others who attend and can empathise with your situation. It's a pretty unique perspective that we share!

As always, thank you for reading my blog, and if I didn't get to meet you yesterday I really hope to meet you at a diabetes event very soon!
Until next time, keep injecting 💉 or pumping 📟 insulin!

Ros x

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