Last Friday was a pretty amazing day.
It was the day when I spoke to a room full of diabetes educators at the Options for Diabetes Conference in Kingston.
I've been preparing for it for a few months. I developed my presentation and I practiced it over and over again - usually in the car as I drove to appointments. I would practice, realize that a slide I had created needed to be moved or changed, practice again, and tweak again.
To inspire people by telling them how, with a slow and steady plan, I went from not being a runner to becoming a half marathoner. How I went from not being able to swim 50m to swimming over 3km, 3 times per week. How I went from never having been to a race before to becoming a half-marathon finisher and a triathlete.
More importantly though, I wanted to paint a picture of what it is like to live with diabetes. And how, after we leave our appointments with our diabetes support team, we go back home again. Home to live our life with diabetes without their support. For months and months on end.
I painted that picture and then I talked about how important it is for people with diabetes to find other people like them. I introduced them to the DOC and I stressed what a crucial role it plays. It does not replace our medical support team but it does help fill in the time we spend dealing with diabetes on our own.
Finally, I talked about how important it is for them, as our medical support team, to get to know us as people. By learning a bit more about who we are and what is important to us, they will be better able to support us the way we need and want to be supported. I talked about One Page Profiles, showed them mine and talked about how much of a difference they can make.
Do you know what happened?
They liked it.
They asked a ton of questions.
They caught up to me in the halls afterwards and asked more questions.
They asked if they could email me, if I would like to speak at other events, and if I would be willing to help them learn how to better get to know the people they support. I was even asked if I would be willing to help with one page profiles for a sports camp for kids with type 1 that happens at York University.
And I said yes to every single request. How could I not?
I wanted to make a difference that day and I want to make a difference every day.
In less than an hour I helped get a room full of people jazzed about how they can get better at helping people like me.
In less than half a day I met people who seemed to really want me to help them do it.
Who knows how far this will go but I like to think that, somehow, my little talk in Kingston may make a difference.