There is nothing predictable about living life with diabetes. In fact, the only consistent thing about diabetes, is its inconsistency. Although it’s extremely frustrating to accept, it was inspiration for my wanting to found a Chapter of CDN at the University of Dayton. I thought that with support from other college students and the local community, balancing diabetes and daily college life could be made easier. CDN has not only introduced me to other individuals with diabetes and provided me with an extensive support system, but has also provided me with amazing opportunities, such as attending the Diabulimia Helpline Conference in New Orleans.
Another CDN member also attended the conference. It was nice to meet another Chapter leader and share activity ideas between each other. Her Chapter has been in existence a while longer than mine has, so it was great to hear advice from her on how she runs things. Not only this, but she was a great partner to have during the conference. We were both nervous at first, but navigated the city and the speakers with the help of each other, as well as Dan, the CDN staff member who joined us. Dan was amazing. He went out of his way to make sure that we had the best time possible. He was not only helpful, but extremely supportive. If there was anything specific that we wanted to learn or ask questions about, he always encouraged us to ask them.
Throughout the conference, we were able to listen to multiple doctors, survivors, and people with diabetes speak about Diabulimia. Hearing the stories of survivors and their families gave me a better look at what life is like with Diabulimia. Rather than just hearing the “data,” we were able to see things from a patient’s perspective. Considering my interest in psychology, it was especially fascinating to listen to psychologists from all over the world present their research on Diabulimia. Dan was aware of my interest in psychology, and organized a breakfast with psychologist Dr. Goebel-Fabbri, PhD. I was able to ask her questions about her career path, research, and general interests. She told me her story of how she got to where she is now, which was informative and inspiring. She also gave me advice about graduate school and connected me with other psychologists who may be resources for me down the road. It was reassuring to hear from an experienced professional that they went through the same things that I did at my age.
This was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity. I not only learned about the research and faces behind Diabulimia, but I learned about myself as a student and individual as well. I am incredibly thankful for the chance to have attended this conference with the College Diabetes Network. They went above and beyond in every way possible. They introduced me to new people, new ideas, and new perspectives. I never thought that a group on my campus could lead me this far.
Editor's note: Check out Megan's experience at the Diabulimia Helpline Conference here.