The week has finally come – the last one. Holy cow! Has it really been 3 months? Wasn’t I just a junior in college; having plenty of time before true ‘adulting’ became reality?! Now I will be starting my final year of school in a mere week from tomorrow.
My final REAL summer is officially coming to an end. With only today and tomorrow left at Profil, and only 3 more days left here in San Diego…there is a lot to recap. But because this is not the final post, I want to focus on all the events of this past weekend at AADE16.
I had no idea just how many people I would meet, how much I would learn about T1D, nor how positively exhausting the conference would be. Well….I am definitely feeling it today and glad to have a normal routine of a schedule before heading home.
The conference (for me) spanned from Friday morning until Monday afternoon. I am going to recap bits and pieces from each day, in chronological order. Here we go!
My day began shortly before 7am. Showered, fancy clothes, and gelled hair – I departed for downtown San Diego. I was set to take part in a breakfast on behalf of the College Diabetes Network (CDN) at the Marriott. I finally was able to put faces to those I have digitally interacted with for the past year. I met founder and CEO of CDN, Christina Roth, who is a total sweetheart with a true passion for helping build student communities and build relationships from T1D. I also met several other student chapter leaders from around the US (Katelyn, Stacy, and Kristen).
As we sat and indulged in delicious food, we learned a little about everyone sitting at the table. We were also privileged to have several other professionals join us from varying aspects of the diabetes world.
Finally, it was time to head over to the Convention Center, get registered, and attempt to get my bearings as to how this weekend was going to turn out. I arrived, got my name badge, and entered the exhibit hall. Rows upon rows upon rows of diabetes companies, vendors, and healthcare professionals.
It was incredible. I had never seen anything like it before. I didn’t really know where to start either….YIKES! I figured I was better off starting at booths I knew or with people I knew, and then make my rounds. I was able to reconnect with the always amazing Nicole Johnson, who was there on behalf of the Diabetes Empowerment Foundation which puts on Students With Diabetes. I also reconnected with some friends who work for companies like Dexcom, including Sarah Rodriguez who I connected with several weeks ago for an afternoon of frisbee golf and Mexican food 🙂
I reconnected with celebrity actor, comedian, and fellow type one Jim Turner. He is also from Iowa, and I soon learned that his brother John runs a coal-fire pizza place at the Iowa State Fair, which Jim often helps with during the summer. Things were already off to a wonderful start with seeing so many familiar faces.
I also helped out with CDN’s booth here and there and got to interact more with the student leaders. They were all super cool and passionate about T1D and getting involved whether through healthcare, advocacy, etc.
I continued browsing the exhibit hall, meeting numerous professionals from varying companies. It was fascinating (understatement of the century) to learn all about the new drugs and technologies currently in the works, learn about peoples roles in their companies, and simply digest the conference along the way.
After a much needed lunch break, the afternoon was spent attending several sessions where topics such as mobile health apps or the treatment of hypoglycemia were discussed.
Day one finally came to an end and it was time to partake in the evening festivities. I attended a reception titled Sex, Insulin, and Rock N’ Roll. Along with wine and appetizers, I was able to enjoy endless laughter with other healthcare professionals as we listened to Nicole, Jim, and two other diabetes experts discuss sex with diabetes, funny experiences they all have had, and answering questions from the audience. When this reception concluded, everyone flocked to a nearby night club called Fluxx where every conference attendee had VIP access for 3 hours. It was a great way to kick off the conference weekend. I did not return to my apartment until a little after midnight and was utterly exhausted.
Another early morning. I arrived to the Convention Center shortly before 8am. I had some down time before my first session began, so I continued my personal networking. Soon enough, I was off to the first session of the day. The days seemed to be flying by and I was constantly on the go.
Each session was highly informative, especially for me being someone who is seeking a career in the healthcare field. I learned more about mobile technology when it comes to healthcare, as well as spoke with executives from varying companies about their products.
During my down time, I assisted Nicole Johnson in running the DEF booth.Also, let me point out that anything you could possibly need, you could find there at the Convention Center. Food services all over the places, not to mention the hundreds of vendors with free samples of food and drinks. If I were to have a diabetic emergency, I was surrounded by hundreds of doctors, nurses, and others who knew the disease. Legs sore? Neck stiff? At least 10 vendors were promoting massage chairs (I took advantage of that demo of course), pulsating massage patches, and more. Or, at the very least, if you ever needed an energy boost, there was infinite number of Starbucks throughout the center.
Saturday afternoon, I attended two sessions. One being again about ‘diabetes tech’ and the other being the Off To College session, put on by CDN.
At the CDN session, I, along with the other student leaders, spoke to those in attendance about how CDN has benefited me as a college student, what my personal struggles were moving to college as a freshly diagnosed type one, and more. It was great getting to share our personal stories and have people talk to us after the presentation concluded.
When sessions were finished for the day, I headed off to the Stone Brewing Company for another evening party. Here, I met up with both of my supervisors Carmen and Denon, along with Carmen’s husband, and another Profil employee Karen! We indulged in delicious beverages, shared stories, and enjoyed soothing tunes from the musician in house.
As time went on, more people began to show up. I continued networking and meeting professionals. I was even able to reconnect with Aaron Kowalski, the Chief Mission Officer and Vice President at JDRF. I worked with him last summer in New York City. He remembered me from then, as well as from the SWD Conference this past May. It was great catching up!
The night continued. Before we knew it, it was 11pm and everyone was utterly exhausted. Another full day in the books. I took an Uber back to my apartment, indulged in a cold shower, and was out like a light all within a span of 20 minutes.
The busyness of the conference was starting to set in and my feet and calves were begging for a slightly slower pace. Nonetheless, I continued and returned again to the Convention Center early Sunday morning. I was set to meet with a worker from Tandem who is the Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications at 10am. Until then, I assisted at the DEF booth once again, and continued browsing other booths. Shortly before 10am, I made my way over to the Tandem booth and met with Eric Shearin. We had communicated via email for the past couple weeks but had never met in person. We connected through a mutual friend who is a territory manager for Tandem working in the Des Moines area. Eric is an awesome guy with a great passion for the work that he does. We had an hour long conversation over coffee about Tandem, my career interests, our connections to T1D and more. He then proceeded to introduce me to several other members of Tandem’s team. Needless to say, I was not expecting to connect with so many amazing individuals. This took up a solid portion of my morning and finally it was time to break for lunch, which included fresh nitrogen-based ice cream.
Sunday afternoon was filled with a few other presentations, more coffee, and increased leg and feet soreness. I was informed by Nicole, and her friend Lorraine (whom I had dinner with her and her husband Chris a couple weeks ago) that there was a beach barbecue being held at La Jolla Shores that evening. Beings as I had a little downtime before I would need to head up to the beach. I took a lovely afternoon nap with the breeze floating in from my window. When I awoke, I texted Sarah to see about getting a lift up to the beach. I had only been to La Jolla once before, so I did not really know what to expect or where we were headed.
Soon enough (meaning we got lost several times and walked roughly a mile carrying beach chairs, backpacks, and sweatshirts) we found the area and got our feet in the sand. I took the role of grill master and began to cooking the meat.
The beach was packed with people, but nonetheless it was a wonderful time, with some stunning views.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the food, the sand, and getting their feet wet in the ocean. I can now officially say I have set foot in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. As the sun was setting, we continued enjoying each other’s company. I even played badminton in the dark with Nicole’s daughter Ava! While neither of us was stellar at playing, it was loads of fun.
Finally it was time to return home and call it an evening once again. Truly the perfect way to close out my final weekend here in San Diego.
I awoke around 6:30am, got showered and dressed, and headed down to the Gaslamp Quarter for a breakfast/educational session combo to learn about glucagon and new developments potentially hitting the market here in the coming months.
The food was delicious – the conversation was even better. I learned all about new developments when it comes to glucagon. Now, for those of you who do not know, glucagon is a hormone that people WITHOUT diabetes produce normally on their own. It prevents hypoglycemic episodes. However, people with type one must sometimes use an injectable version when experiencing severe hypoglycemia to bring their blood sugar back up to/above normal range. I got to look at demos of new glucagon kits and even a nasal glucagon. SUPER COOL!
When this concluded, I headed back to the convention center with two other CDN students where we waited for Christina to pick us up. Here is some irony for all of you reading. Remember how Saturday I met with a bunch of people from Tandem and had great conversation? Well, Christina set up a tour of the entire headquarters for all of us students. So….I got to meet once again all of the awesome people from Tandem. One crazy part of the day was getting to reconnect with Kyle Cochran. He was on America Ninja Warrior a couple seasons ago and was a speaker at LAST year’s SWD Conference. We got to chat briefly and catch up.
During the tour, we got to learn all about how Tandem started, how they expanded, how their pumps are made (literally from start to finish which was unbelievable), and meet with several employees and talk about our personal interests. I again got to reconnect with Eric, as well as the other employees I had met just the day before. We indulged in a delicious lunch on behalf of Tandem, and discussed the partnership between them and CDN.
I could not have asked for a better way to conclude the AADE weekend. I learned so much information and met so many incredible people in just a few short days.
We returned to downtown San Diego and each went our separate ways. I returned to my apartment, and after being in dress clothes all weekend and all that morning, I was ready to lay in bed and relax. The remainder of my Monday was spent working remotely, while listening to the Olympics from my TV.
Later that evening, I was able to FaceTime several friends from back home, as well as a friend from study abroad. By the time 10:30pm rolled around, I was struggling to keep my eyes open for very long and decided to call it a night.
Now here we are, my final two days at Profil Institute. It seems like only a couple weeks ago I was doing new hire training and learning everything about the company.
I was truly blessed to be able to attend the 2016 AADE Conference and meet so many incredible people and make many new friends.
I now find myself in a a bind of not wanting it all to be over, but also being super anxious to be home and see friends and family.
This week is going to be a little emotional, extremely hectic (aka the idea of me having to clean and pack everything has been looming overhead for a while now), but I know this is not the end of the story, but simply the final paragraph of a chapter. All one has to do, is turn the page and continue reading to see what happens next!
Stay tuned, as their will be one concluding post later this week!
The countdown is on!!! T-minus 3.5 days until I am back in Iowa!
Until next time,