Emily's Experience at TCOYD ONE: "2,000 miles and 3 time zones later, I never stopped smiling"

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Emily Rice, The Ohio State University
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I never thought I would be traveling across the country to San Diego the weekend before my senior year of college began. This was a true once in a lifetime opportunity and when I saw that the College Diabetes Network was collaborating with Taking Control of Your Diabetes and Dexcom to create scholarships for the TCOYD One Retreat and Conference, I had to apply. After a couple of hours of filling out the application and the week or two waiting to hear back, I was anxious and excited – my blood sugars definitely showed it too! When I saw the email acknowledging that I would be able to go to the conference, I couldn’t stop smiling; I was about to go learn about the latest research, technology, and future of type 1 diabetes. I wanted August 16th to come sooner. 

Once the day came and I arrived at the conference resort, I felt at home. I walked into the lobby to get my room keys and I already started hearing CGM and pumps going off. I turned around showed my peers my CGM and we instantly bonded. Everyone I met at this conference had something different or new to talk about and we always had something to connect over. I didn’t feel alone (even though I came from Ohio by myself, ha!). 

The first night began with dinner and ice breakers as Dr. Steve Edelman, MD, spoke. After hearing a little about him and his team, we got to talk amongst ourselves at our table. About 10 of us began sharing our diagnosis stories, debating our favorite foods when we are low and even how we have used diabetes to our advantage in the past. We got to dance and talk the rest of the night. It was a home away from home – with a beautiful ocean view all across the island! 

Saturday was by far the best day. In the morning, we got up early to participate in yoga, Tai Chi, or run/walking. It was a great opportunity to start my day off right with people who face the same struggles I do. Right after myself and the other attendees had our amazing breakfast, we went straight into watching the speakers. It started with what diabetes used to be, what it currently is and where it is headed. I have to say, I hate changing my Dexcom out but would hate peeing in a test tube to check my blood sugar like they used to. 

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The next speaker, Dr. Jeremy Pettus, MD, shared the 10 roadblocks of diabetes and, man, was he right. In a condensed version, he stated these solutions:

  1. Stockpile everything

  2. Get a dia-bestie

  3. Try out the new technology

  4. Low-carbISH is beneficial sometimes

  5. It’s okay to have a day where your blood sugar is all over the place

  6. Let your family know how you want them to act with your diabetes

  7. Stay informed

  8. Focus on your health as a whole

  9. Utilize credible resources

  10. Celebrate the victories no matter how small!

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Throughout the rest of the afternoon, we were able to attend workshops on topics we wanted to hear about. I chose one on the DIY artificial pancreas (looping) and celiac/gluten sensitivity. I didn’t know anything about looping prior to this conference and now I want a pump (since I use insulin pens) to try this out. I highly recommend people researching this and I can’t wait for the FDA to approve something similar. As far as the celiac discussion went, I was interested in hearing about new research and questions that people who have celiac disease had. After several more discussions, it was time for dinner/ drinks and dancing all night long. I made friends that will last a lifetime. I was even able to network with people working for Dexcom and various other companies that could be my future employers. 

Waking up Sunday was unsettling… I just got to the conference on Friday and it was already time to leave paradise and my friends later that day. The speakers on Sunday explained the current drugs under research to advance the care of diabetes, how to avoid sudden spikes in BG and that A1c is not everything. Having a low A1C does not always mean your “control” of diabetes is good. The conference concluded with how to be a part of the diabetes community and how to THRIVE with T1D. Diabetes does not hold me back and it shouldn’t hold you back. Being confident, strong and celebrating the victories is what life is all about. The 2,000-mile trek back to Ohio and 3 time zones later, I never stopped smiling. 

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emily rice
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Emily Rice
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Emily Rice is a 4th year at The Ohio State University, where she is a part of the CDN Chapter there. She is in the Undergraduate Coordinated Medical Dietetic program and plans to graduate Spring 2020, sit for her certification exam and become a Registered Dietitian. In her program she is currently doing an internship at various locations across Columbus. She is very interested in autoimmune research and the technological advancements that come with it. She is the president of the Student Dietetic Association at OSU, a student board member for the Columbus Dietetic Association and is involved in community health education on a multidisciplinary team at a Columbus outpatient center. Outside of school, she enjoys biking/running, traveling and spending time with her friends and family.