Not so very long ago I would have run an absolute mile if someone had suggested getting together with other people with diabetes.
Biscuits and smalltalk among a group whose only common factor is a condition we all wish we didn't have? Er, no thanks. Death by PowerPoint covering "What food I think you shouldn't be eating" by someone who hasn't been living with my diabetes for 20 odd years. Hmmmm.
But the times, as Mr Zimmerman is keen to point out, are apt to change.
Yesterday I spent a very pleasant evening at the Bristol County Sports Club with a dozen or so others considering whether it might be quite nice to have a support group in the centre of Bristol. The fine folks in the regional office of DUK South West have people whose job it is to see if they can't get us all together once in a while and a new group in the city centre is being considered.
Having spent nearly 20 years flying solo as a diabetic, this blog pretty much covers the period during which I have begun to compare notes with others, both here, on a variety of forums and by extension, at occasional get togethers in real actual living and breathing life. The very thing that I would have run from for all those years has become a very real source of support, encouragement and information - both online and in person.
Earlier this month I wrote a guest post for Diabetes UK as part of Diabetes Week in the UK about the huge value (and frustration) of making very different sorts of diabetic connections. If you are still flying solo I encourage you to seek out some diabetic connections of your own - either online or in person.
What I found interesting last night was that although there were, I think, rather fewer there than the organisers had hoped for, we pretty much managed to cover all the bases diabetically-speaking: Two healthcare professionals, several type 1s, several type 2s, a couple of representatives of Diabetes UK, some newly diagnosed, some with decades of diabetic living, representatives of both 'Team Pump' and 'Team MDI' (including a woman who must surely be one of the first pump users in the UK with more than 13 years under her belt). Even more interesting was that people seemed more interested in just comparing notes and having 'a bit of a chat' than in necessarily having any kind of formal presentation/speaker. And as always seems to happen - once you put a bunch of people with diabetes in a room you just can't shut them up!
If you live or work in or around Bristol and would like to be kept informed about any future developments/meetings for this group please leave a comment below or contact Emily or Musetta from the South West office of Diabetes UK. They'd love to hear from you.