Saturday, March 19, 2016

Diabetes Unconference - Lows and Highs

Some of you may have heard of the Diabetes Unconference held in Las Vegas March 10-13, 2016. I was fortunate to attend again and I had a great time.  I had a chance to see many of my friends who I met on-line.  Some I had met face to face before, but others I was meeting for the first time.  The thing about the Unconference is that it is like a four day support group meeting.  The first part is about getting to know each other. This is really important because in order to really share we need to trust everyone.  I think by the end of the first day we had really achieved that.  And by Sunday everyone was comfortable enough to really share deep feelings.

As part of the ground rules for the Unconference we agreed that everything that was discussed would remain in the room, so you won't be seeing anyone posting pictures from in the conference or quoting anyone.  But I will share some of my personal lows and highs.  First, I'll start with a high.  I was fortunate to attend a presentation by Dr. Stephen Ponder on his new book "Sugar Surfing." I learned some new techniques that could really help me improve my diabetes management and I guess you really can teach an old dog new tricks.  There is an active facebook page on Sugar Surfing.  But that was not the best part.  Everyone was asked to report how long they had diabetes and then guess on the total number of years present at the Unconference.  I applied my best guesstimating skills and then used a "trick."  I guessed 2507.389 years.  That 0.389 years may have seemed just funny, but it turns out to have been pivotal (notice Sugar Surfing "pun").  I came in second winning a signed Sugar Surfing book having beaten out the next best by 0.389 years.  I felt a little guilty as the third prize was a very old "classic" glucose tab.

Now for the lows.  It turns out my lows were really my highs.  My trip to Las Vegas was part of an overall eight day trip and I made a logistics mistake.  While I packed up my pills, I forgot one of my diabetes pills.  I thought it would be fine, after all I am on insulin and I can just use the insulin to maintain control.  But it overwhelmed me.  Many of you know that I usually eat very strictly and do very well managing my diabetes.  But the Unconference was such a thrill for me, I had a great time running high on emotions, I splurged a bit on what I ate and I got little sleep.  I still tried, I ate very low carb.  I even brought canned fish as an alternative.  But it wasn't enough.  I found myself having to correct.  I rarely have to correct.  And I had to correct multiple times.  I'm sure my friends who are insulin appreciate, sometimes you feel like you are just beating down your blood sugar and facing a losing battle.

And after the Unconference things just got worse as I attended another conference.  I flew from Las Vegas getting into my hotel at 2am and getting up to start the conference at 6am.  And I was heavily involved with the conference, presenting, chairing sessions and taking part as a conference organizer.  And you can bet the food wasn't diabetes friendly.  So things just got worse.  I wasn't happy about it, but "it is what it is."  I try not to beat myself up over my blood sugar control, I did what I was supposed to do.  Sometimes you do everything "right" and it sill doesn't come out well.  I know for some of my friends, my control even during this eight day period is "not too shabby" but I know it isn't where I usually want to be.  So in honor of my friend acidrock I am presenting my #sh*ttygraphs

You can clearly see how my blood sugars degraded starting on 3/10 and continued through the next week.  I got back home on the evening of 3/17 and "blammo" things improved.  As I look back I can clearly see my increased testing as well as many highs.  I don't present this as a way of bragging about my blood sugar but being transparent that even I lose it no matter what I do.  But we should never beat ourselves up over it.  We just need to pick ourselves up, figure out the issues and get back on track.


  1. glad you're back on track. lack of sleep and stress probably didn't help things any either.

  2. Brain I am glad you got back to an even level. I often hate to travel because I go high way too often. As a buddy of mine once said, breaking the common means destroying something, usually ourselves (thank goodness).

    Good to have you back home Brian.

    I included your blog on the TUDiabetes blog page for the week of March 21, 2016.

  3. I missed joining up joining up with you Brian this year and from a T1D perspective totally agree with you on how the not usual life style when on the road can sometimes muck our control to a crazy roller coaster ride (abd that's why I call my private blog site at Blogger the same thing .. though I do love roller coasters ... but not the human blood sugar/emotional crap that goes with it at times).

    I'm still on fence post as to whether or not to attend the Duncon in Atlantic City in September ... I'm not a fan of big crowds ... so the 1st conference was a big step for me to take.

    Who knows maybe I'll be less of a fraidy cat and just go .... but main thing ... for anyone whose not attended one so far .... it's quite the experience if you go in with eyes wide open ��

    1. I missed you this year. It was an adventure and things have certainly calmed down since I got back. I do you can attend in September. I know it is a long trip.