Wednesday, July 09, 2014

FFL: Touching the Elephant

There's this common misperception that CWD friends for life is just for kids with diabetes,and their families.

But it's so much more complex then that. FFL is many things to many people,depending on your social 'sphere.

If you grew up with it,you are pressed into service for free labor.(as a young adult)

If you are a sponsor,it's an excuse to go out with your buddies at the end of the day & unwind at the hotel bar.

If you are in the DOC (blogger,etc.) it's a place of great support & one of the few places where everyone else is just like you.

If you are a parent, it's where you find support,and knowledge,to help you in your fight against this disease among 1,236 other parents who really GET IT.

If you are a kid with D,it may be the place where you find your first friend with diabetes.(& if you are a sibling,you can sound off about the stress of the family dynamics)

If you have celiac,it's one of the few places that you can eat from the buffet and not have to worry about gluten contamination.

If you are a presenter,without diabetes yourself...you are probably laboring under the assumption that it is for kids with D. Well,it is,but it's more then that. It's a place where the famous and the non-famous rub shoulders,where doctors and grocery store cashiers eat the same special buffet rubbury eggs, where it doesn't matter who you are or how much money you make..the power of the green wristband unites us all. It's a place where you
can laugh hysterically over a 306 mg/dl,where you can count on someone always having a needed diabetes supply,where you can drink diet coke with wild abandon at midnight and compare Dexcom graphs with friends.

I didn't go to FFL this year,for the first time since 2006. In 2005, when I went for the first time, finding that niche to fit into was a challenge. (The experience can be a little lonely without friends to hang out with. And yes,you are surrounded by 4,500 people who "get it"who still would rather do their own thing.) In 9 years I've felt like I've seen so many of the sides of FFL..I have volunteered with the teens,babysat 4 year olds, been with the bloggers, gotten to know many of the moms of CWD,seen the same sponsors year after year. I guess the point is,FFL is so much better with a friend/s.(And people who leave you crying at the gate of Disney to get back to the hotel on your own are probably not your friends.Know who your real friends are.) All of which has been an incredibly rich experience,& mostly good. (But I think every lonely soul who ventures to FFL on their own needs an Dbuddy or something so they don't have to feel alone.) I think a lot of people don't come to FFL because they don't know anybody there.

I don't think I'll ever understand all that FFL is,just like the blind men couldn't grasp the whole of the elephant..this green,orange,and yellow arm banded elephant. I see life through the view of an adult T1,blogger,married,with 1 child and a lover of Disney (& any excuse to go there that I can.) There are so many perspectives at FFL and that is the beauty of it.(it's just sad that more people never move beyond their own.)


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

4 comments:

asskeeper said...

I missed you this year. Hopefully next year!!!

k2 said...

Great post and hope to see you next year!

katy said...

Being left alone at the Disney gate sounds awful. What a bleak memory. Or maybe that was a reference to a film or song lyric. Either way!

Our first year I attended knowing no one but the diabetic kid I brought with me. I was so lucky that someone I knew through blogs took me under her wing, ate with me, showed me around Disneyworld, helped me choose FFL sessions, and just generally checked up on me the whole time.

Without her, I would have been very lonely.

John Kuhnemund said...

Missed you this year.

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