Contributed by Andrea Herndon
At my first DiabetesSisters Weekend for Women Conference in Raleigh, NC, I learned about the Talking Control of Your Diabetes (TCOYD) conference. It sounded like an interesting gathering, so I researched it and decided if given the opportunity, I would attend.
This year, TCOYD hosted a day-long conference in Washington, DC, and thanks to a scholarship from DiabetesSisters, I attended for the first time. Travel from my home in Rochester to Washington, DC, took 12 hours via Amtrak.
It was well worth the trip.
Dr. Steve Edelman, Founder and Director of TCOYD, is both an endocrinologist and a person living with type 1 diabetes, so he comes to the audience from a place of empathy as well as knowledge. He shares this knowledge with a wonderful sense of humor which kept the session very interesting and engaging.
I have lived with diabetes for 10 years and I am certainly not an expert; however, I am always amazed by how much I don’t know. For example, I have always known that I have LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes in adults), but I never realized that is considered a form of type 1 diabetes, I thought it was a form of type 2 diabetes. Now, I’m not saying that’s god or bad, but now I know I have more options from my insurance company (such as an insulin pump!), especially since my medical records have shown me as a person living with uncontrolled type 2. Learning this motivated me to ask my CDE to have a c-peptide test done (which determines how much insulin a pancreas is actually making) and the results show that my pancreas makes nearly no insulin. I’m thankful for this result, because now I can make educated decisions and reevaluate the confidence I had in my endocrinologist.
I also learned the important of being your own advocate; Dr. Edelman’s insight was invaluable. He spoke to the crowd with real common sense examples on how to communicate with your doctor more efficiently.
At the end of the day-long conference, I attended a session on current diabetes research, and while it’s all very technical – and I can’t say I understand all of it – it gives me hope for the future.
TCOYD also offered attendees lunch, along with a demonstration on how to prepare it. I recommend anyone living with any type of diabetes to check out TCOYD’s videos online. They are educational and presented with humor.
Finally, I am grateful to DiabetesSisters, not only for selecting me as a scholarship recipient, but for the work they do in educating and supporting women with diabetes. This is a true Sisterhood and I cannot imagine my life with it.
Andrea has been living with diabetes for 10 years. She resides in Rochester, NY, and leads a PODS Meetup group in the area.