Thursday, August 26, 2010

TCOYD Providence

Image property of TCOYD.org
I bit the bullet. A little over a week ago, I registered for the Providence Taking Control of Your Diabetes (TCOYD) Conference. It should’ve been a no brainer – big events never come to Rhody, let alone a diabetes event - but I’m still freaking out about it. I’ve yet to meet someone with diabetes face to face. I’ve never been to a meet-up or a conference. 2 years in and in a lot of ways this is still new for me. I’m worried about whether or not I really “belong” there since I’m still honeymooning and sometimes feel as though I don’t understand diabetes as well as those who have passed that stage.

I’ve known about it for a while but initially, I told myself it was better not to go. It'll be a lot of people and that's not a situation that I do well in. Believe it or not, I’m rather shy and quiet in person. I’m an observer. I need to assess the situation and the people in it before I can really get comfortable. Once I get to know you, however, you can’t shut me up. (You’re all shocked, right?)

Then there’s the convention center. Years ago the Smithsonian came to town and that's where it was set up for months. The convention center is HUGE! Are they really expecting THAT many people? Or do they just need that much room for vendors, etc?

And what does one wear to something like this? I know there’s a bunch of exercise opportunities in the afternoon so… should I have sneakers on? Workout clothes? Should I go looking cute and put together and then pull a Clark Kent at lunchtime and change in the phonebooth ladies’ room?

I’m worried that it’ll be like the first day of school and I’ll be put on the spot to answer questions or introduce myself with a creative haiku.

Hi, I’m Ashley
I have found the key to be
Cupcakes and bacon

I’m worried that everyone else will be going with family, friends, and/or significant others and I’ll be there by myself. It's not that I don't have anyone who would want to go with me, I know I do, but I just can't make myself ask. Something that’s supposed to foster a feeling of community, support, and camaraderie is making me feel very, well, alone.

Off the internet, I’m a private person. Only the people who spend time around me even know about my diagnosis. By going, I’ll be owning it, which is awesome, but I have this fear that, with Rhody being as small as it is, my health will once again be the subject of gossip as it's been so many times before. That must sound very self-centered, but it seems as though whenever someone thinks they have "dirt" on me, it spreads like wildfire. I don't want something as personal as my diabetes to be fodder for the gossip mill. I don't want it to be whispered about. I want people to have the testicular fortitude to talk with me directly if they want to know about it, but I know better than to hold out hope for that.

As I’ve said before, the DOC is a huge source of comfort and support that’s ever growing and expanding. I meet newbies and get in on discussions all the time and don’t even think twice about it. I need to take the strength and people-person personality I have online and take it offline. I mean, everyone there will either be a diabetic or someone who loves/cares about/supports one. I’ll be amongst friends, right?

I'm still scared, but I’m going. I know I’ll end up being glad that I went and I’m encouraging everyone who can go to do the same.

I’ll be the shy girl cowering in the corner with a nervous twitch.

6 comments:

  1. I'm going back and forth about going to TCOYD in Des Moines. It's a three-ish hour drive for me, but it's the first d-conference I've heard of around here, and I'd like to experience what that's like. You can do it!

    P.S. Love the hiaku.

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  2. I think the fact that this conference is so close is what really pushed me to go for it. I'm still really intimidated, but I know that once I get there I'll be glad I went and I'll value the experience. Maybe I'll even walk away from it with some new friends who "get it" as only those with the d can.

    P.S. I'm glad you liked the haiku. It may well be the best thing I've ever written lol.

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  3. I'm shy in real-life too. And Ive never been to a TCOYD event. But I'll be at that one!!! If I see you twitching in the corner, I'll come say hi!

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  4. Awesome!! I'm glad to know some of the DOC will be there even if we may not run into each other. It's highly likely that I'll end up in the fetal position at some point so if you see that, then it's definitely me! lol

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  5. I think it's great that you're going, but I can totally understand the privacy thing.

    Of all the diabetes conferences, save for CWD FFL, TCOYD is my favorite. I think you'll love it, even if all you do is sit back and observe. :-)

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  6. Thanks, Scott. I'm really looking forward to it even though I'm still a little nervous. Daddy is taking the day off of work to go with me for some Daddy/Daughter time so that just makes it guaranteed awesomeness.

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