Monday, April 4, 2011

Meri Tyler Moore or Sponge Mom Sappy Pants.

I was bone dry.

I entered the airport terminal like a weathered sponge who had sat in the sun for days. My body ached for relief.

I didn't know what to expect from the Medtronic Advocate Forum I was to attend. It was a complete unknown, and although I was scared to death of traveling alone for the first see people I had only seen within the 17 inch parameters of my computer screen, I couldn't help but smirk to myself as I walked through the jetway to the airplane...

I was ready.

As dry as I was, I was ready to soak up all the hope for the future I could. There was a heaviness to the moment...I knew this trip would mean something.

But when I got off the plane in L.A. the heaviness abated...there was a lightness to my step. The adrenaline had taken over as I was alive with anticipation. If I had a hat, I'm sure I would have thrown it. It was a Meri Tyler Moore moment for sure.

The second I entered the hotel lobby and saw the group of bloggers/writers/advocates chatting in the group I felt plumper already. Just to see their smiling, enthusiastic faces made my trip worthwhile. I spent the evening soaking up every word I could. They couldn't talk about anything without it being fascinating to me. They were my age...some maybe a bit younger, some maybe a bit older, but regardless I felt only motherly towards each and every one. It was like looking into the eyes of my boys' future...and I wanted to know it all.

People with diabetes are remarkable. Adults and children alike. There is no getting around it.

Entering Medtronic was humbling. They had a museum of insulin pump/diabetes history that brought tears to my eyes instantly. I was emotional the entire day. Wrapping my brain around the information being presented brought a plethora of emotions to the surface, with the most immense emotion being gratitude.

Geniuses were paraded in front of us. Each one with a personal connection to Type 1 Diabetes. Each one with a drive and thought process far beyond anything I've ever imagined. I wish everyone of you could have witnessed the emotion, the genuine enthusiasm these people have. The human element of Medtronic was the clincher.

We asked how. They would tell us.

We asked why. They would tell us.

We asked what and when. They couldn't tell us...well not exactly.

They couldn't tell us about any products that have not yet been green lighted by the FDA. We vented our frustrations and they echoed back each frustration. All they could tell us is we are going to be happy with what is coming.

They are frustrated. It is like they are being water boarded by the FDA...they are being asked to jump ridiculous hurdles to get us the technology that we are longing for. They have it ready. They want to bring it to us. They are bringing us what they can, as soon as they can. There are tradeoffs for this...but every decision they make is with us in mind. The technological future for our children, and for our friends with diabetes is in good hands.

Lane Desborough is Medtronic's Project Strategist. I think they invented this position just for him. He is that genius. His son was diagnosed recently and through a series of events he ended up working for Medtronic. He is thinking outside the box and is crossing industry lines to find new innovative ways to further pump technology. He knows we have too much stuff to carry around and dreams about getting it all down to one device. He too is frustrated that he can get any number in the world with his cell phone, except the most important...his son's blood sugar number. He is working on it.

Seriously, I am going to sleep better at night knowing this guy is on our side. Medtronic also has brought in the mother of the Droid. She is working for the company now. Can you tell I'm impressed?

I'm just a mom. I'm not a reporter or someone with thousands of followers. Sure, there is a chance I'm more easily impressed than others in this world...but I'm not completely gullible. I think everyone in attendance was pleasantly surprised with this forum. They even brought in Dr. Richard Rubin from Johns Hopkins to talk about the "person." Medtronic knows diabetes isn't just about machines...there is a person behind the pump making hundreds of decisions a day...and that person risks facing burn out from this demanding disease. Dr. Rubin is getting his own post...I don't want to overwhelm you with everything I learned. I so wish each and every one of you were in that room with me.

I was dripping with hope when I left. I squeezed every drop of juice out of this experience. If I was a dry sponge before I attended...I left a rotund squishy mess. Hell, just call me Sham-Wow.

I'm owning my sappiness people. Maybe it was being surrounded by such amazing/fun/intelligent PWD's. Maybe it was hearing the Vice President of CGM business say, "We hear you." Maybe it was watching a room full of people meticulously assemble each CGM sensor by hand. Maybe it was splitting up in small groups and having face time with people in the company that can make things happen. Maybe it was knowing that the people with Medtronic that DON'T have diabetes, sign up regularly to wear the product...use the product. They want to know what it is like. More than anything is seems Medtronic empathizes with our plight. And that gives me hope beyond measure.

Maybe my attendance to this forum didn't change the world.

But it changed me.

Thank you Medtronic for the invitation. Why you picked me exactly, I do not know. But this experience has changed my path. No, not completely...but the compass is shifting. I want to know more. I'm hungry for information...if I can make the smallest of a difference, I stand ready to do it.

Please visit Amy at Diabetes Mine to learn more of the specific details...she also has posted the "silly" pic of all of us at the forum.


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