Bab's Blog

It's just me, in words.

When we get in the way of our own success. . . May 21, 2012

Filed under: Cancer,Diabetes — babscampbell @ 11:15 am
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We attended an event this week at Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center, which had the potential of being AMAZING.  Unfortunately, one person got in the way of her own success and it really detracted from the event.

Before I get going here. . I want to add that all the volunteers, servers and staff were FABULOUS!  They were gracious and warm.  I was never told directions when asking where to find the restroom, the elevator or the event, I was always taken and shown by a smiling, interactive person.  Kudos on choosing such wonderful personnel to work your event!

And. . .Let me say:
I’ve had the privilege of planning large-scaled events for work and other causes, so I will consider myself a bit of a specialist on the subject.  I’ve hosted as many as 250, and as few as 5.  I’ve been involved with differing types of events as well: sit-down breakfasts, buffets, evening cocktails, customers, board members, the CEO of a VERY large organization coming to  town to greet his troops on the ground.  I feel that each event was a success, as the response has always been favorable.

So, “Lady in the Bright White Suit”, here’s where I think you got in the way. . .and I’ll turn the spotlight on me at the end.

First of all, you only wear a blinding white suit to an event like this if you want to be seen and stand-out.  I appreciate the fact that you were “in charge” here, but whenever I’ve been “in charge” I try to blend into the crowd and bring the speakers to the fore-front.  I want each of my guests to feel that THEY are the most important person attending. . .THEY are the reason I threw this party.  If you wanted the guests to know you were in charge and able to answer questions, you should’ve been wearing the same shirt as your staff so we would know you were approachable.

Next,
You were ill-prepared.  Rather than talking about yourself, your church, your pastor and his wife, etc.  I would’ve liked to have more time hearing about the speakers, their backgrounds and their experiences.  You had a moderator present. . step back and let her moderate.  You didn’t even have the forethought to learn about HER accomplishments prior to introducing her.  AND, BTW. . LADA Diabetes stands for Latent-Autoimmune-Diabetes of an Adult.  Not “Ladened Auto. .uh. .latered. .uh, diabetes.”  This was so important to me, because it’s MY diagnosis too.  If you’re going to throw a party for a specific group of people, learn their lingo.

Next,
I know your church was sponsoring this event, however, the volunteers and church members present should’ve been sitting near the back of the room, rather than at the front three tables.  Most of them didn’t even have diabetes!  All of the PWDs (people with diabetes), asking questions were sitting in the back of the room and either had a hard time hearing or being heard when asking a question.

Next,
Even I know. . if you’re going to serve a buffet lunch during an event, open the buffet earlier so people are finished asking questions about the food and being served PRIOR to having your speakers begin.  One of the speakers, from whom I REALLY wanted to hear, was having to speak over the serving line conversations the entire tim. PWDs will always need to have conversations with servers regarding the food being placed on their plates.  We shouldn’t have to choose whether we’re listening to a speaker (the reason for our attending in the first place) or the server letting us know the ingredients in the soup.

Speaking of being able to hear. . .
It is SO VERY DISTRACTING for you to stand in the MIDDLE of the room gesturing to the speakers that you think they should speak with more gusto.  Seriously, you wandered all over the room as if you were an aerobics instructor, making all kinds of motions and mouthing instructions to your staff, who obviously had no idea what you were doing. Next time, if the sound quality is such a factor to the presentation, test the microphones prior to the event, then test them again, and maybe one more time.   If you want your guests to have a good time, be as invisible as possible .  .that’s always been my M.O.

Allow enough time for Q&A
I would like to add here that if you’d not spent as much time talking about yourself, your church and the pet names you have your Pastor’s wife, there may have been more time for the wonderful questions your audience had been asking.

These events need to ALWAYS be focused on your audience.  You had some wonderful, kind, grateful guests there.  They had fantastic questions.  Each one I interacted with stated that they were really looking forward to learning from the speakers.  I hope they didn’t go home feeling cheated.

I have attended a diabetes event at Samuel U Rodgers Health Center in 2009, just after diagnosis.  That event was warm, inviting and well-run.  Whomever planned that event, should be left in charge, because I felt that the focus was on diabetes, patient self-management of their disease, etc.

Why does all this matter anyways?  I mean, it was a free event, free food and time to get together with other PWDs to learn some new things.  Of course, I have thought about this ever since I attended and have come to the conclusion that I oftentimes get in the way of my own success too.

I wear the “flashy white suit” of wanting to be noticed on occasion.  Who doesn’t?  I am also a Christian and try to remember the first shall be last.  My goal is to always elevate others before me, but, I’m human and will admit that I like being noticed too.  There is a little bit of green streak that runs through me when I hear of cool trips others are taking and invitations to attend pharma events or other D-related conferences.   I’m so happy for them, but, I just wish I were able to go to.  Who doesn’t want to be included in the fun, right?

Sometimes I’m ill-prepared to face the challenges life has thrown at me.  I can choose to remain that way, or I can choose to learn all I can, every day, to be ready to fight, to help or to teach.  If I’m going to present information regarding a medical condition (or two), even with the disclaimer that I’m not a medical professional, I need to make sure my information is well-researched and thought through.  Anytime I speak, write or have an opinion, I want to be prepared.

There are times in which I have mis-placed people in my life.  I have made some more important than they probably should’ve been and discounted others who really needed to be “sitting at the front tables.”  A common example of what I’m trying to say here is. . there are times when work seems to take precedence over family.  We may be working on a volunteer project that takes more time than it should and our kids feel ignored.  It’s important to know who is really important to you and let them know that by seating them up close to you.

Sometimes I “serve lunch while someone is talking.” The people we care about should never be part of a multi-tasking exercise. There are times when we need to stop, look someone in the eye and hear what they’re saying to us.  How many times have I been with someone and distracted by my phone, my email, my text messages, pinterest, facebook or twitter.  I want to give people the attention they deserve.  Sometimes, they can change your life!

I don’t want to stand around directing people with motions and lip service.  I want to be prepared enough to make sure everyone can be heard, prior to giving them the floor.  They deserve to be heard and I need to step out of the way and not distract from their message.

I need to remember to stop talking about what I think is important and learn what is important to my audience, whether that audience is the Diabetes Online Community (DOC), my family, my church, my neighbors or a stranger that lands on my blog.

The reason I write this blog, is to share my experience and let others know they are not alone.  I try to share information that has been helpful for my diabetes and cancer treatments.  I hope you’re able to hear my heart as you read my words.  If not, I give you permission to call me out.  Just address your comments to “The Lady in the Bright White Suit.”

Be deliberate about getting out of the way. . .

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The New Diagnosis January 25, 2010

Filed under: Diabetes — babscampbell @ 1:34 pm
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I was having higher and higher blood glucose readings.  Exercise was making it worse.  I couldn’t really eat anything without it reflecting an even higher number flashing in the meter window.  I felt horrible, actually worse than when I was first diagnosed.  My head continually felt “thick,” it was hard to concentrate, I was exhausted, thirsty and SO frustrated that I did everything I was supposed to and it didn’t help. 

The guilt associated with diabetes can be devastating.  When you’re told that following “the plan” will eventually lead to a happy, healthy life; that you’ll eventually be off meds and be able to live “normally” with diet and exercise and that slips away, you question everything you’re doing, eating, etc.  You keep looking for that one thing that you’ve missed.  Did I miscalculate the carbs? I should’ve exercised just 10 more minutes!  Should I drink more water?  Should I workout again or sleep it off?  It’s maniacal!

That’s the state I was in when my twitter friends jumped in to help. One said that my story sounded very familiar to her.  She, too, was diagnosed as a Type II and it was later changed to Type 1.5 LADA.  She (along with a few others) suggested I get in right away to see an Endocrinologist. (a Dr. that specializes in diseases of the Endocrine system, a specialist in diabetes) I started searching on the internet only to find that most Endos are either not taking any new diabetes patients, or they’ve got such a large patient load that it takes 3-4 months for the first appointment.  Then another friend on twitter jumped in to help.  He was going in to see his CDE, and mentioned my story to her.  She and I spoke on the phone and she suggested, to get in earlier, that I volunteer for a research study that KU was involved in.  I would be able to see an Endo immediately, get free office visits, free lab work, free meds. . it was too good to be true!

I made the appointment and went in to see the CDE in charge of the clinical trial and the Dr.  As I explained my symptoms and the journey thus far, they each wrinkled their brow and answered several times with a, “Really?”  As he ran the end of the reflex hammer across the bottom of my foot he said, “I’d like your primary physician to run a blood test for you.  You’ve got an atypical presentation and I’d like more lab work.”  What?  What’s atypical about my presentation?  Then he said it. . .I don’t think you’re a Type II at all.  I pressed him further, asking which symptoms were atypical.  Apparently, the fact that it hit rather suddenly, I have no immediate family members with diabetes, the fact that I can feel my blood glucose rise and fall are not typical of Type II. 

The test he wanted performed was a GAD-65 Antibody. This test looks for a specific antibody in your blood that shows your body is fighting against the beta cells in your pancreas.  A normal test result is 0.05-0.1, mine was 25. This means my body has been building up antibodies to fight my pancreas and my pancreas is shutting down insulin production.  Indeed, I am not a Type II, rather I have LADA, or Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults, also knows as Late Onset or Insulin Dependent Diabetes.  I was able to get on insulin and start seeing the Endo this week.  I feel so much better already and look forward to what fine tuning of my treatment does for my day-to-day life.

I hope my story helps another along the path, if just to let you know I get it, I’ve been there.  I know how a high makes you feel like your head is full of Jell-O.  You question everything you did that day, what did I eat wrong? Did a miscalculate? Should I exercise? Should I not?  AAAGH

I also know how a low can bring on a feeling of panic, fevered, shaking panic.  All you know is you MUST eat and you must eat NOW!  You feel like you need to just open the fridge and start shoveling it in.  Your brain is trying to remain calm and say. .no, I’m ok, and your body is screaming, I’m dying!  Eat something NOW! 

So, I hope you’ll add me to your regular blog reading, comment, have a conversation.