Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Philly PWD Focus group

I was invited to a Philadelphia focus group about diabetes. I can't say more than that, cause it was super-duper-top-secret-if-I-tell-you-then-I-have-to-kill-you kind of stuff. Only without the whole killing part, cause I doubt they would make me do that. Anyhow, it was top-secret and I signed a non-disclosure part about it, so don't even ask, ok?

The whole point was that I got to spend 4+ hours with PWDs - 7 of them, with a combined 180+ years of diabetes care under their belt. I was, by far, the newbie of the group. By light years. I was also the lone parent of a child with diabetes representative in the group and DMamas and DDads, I tried to make you proud. I thought of all of you as I spoke throughout the night, commenting "I really think parents of kids with Type 1 would..." and speaking as one parent, among many.

When I got to the group downtown, it was a blustery, cold, night. I was freezing. Walking just three blocks from the parking garage downtown to the office building left me numb. I rounded the corner to the waiting area and lo and behold, there sits...

Scott Johnson!!!!!

Yes, the Scott Johnson, of Scott's Diabetes, a blog I regularly read. I kept thinking - I know he lives REALLY FAR from Philly - what is he doing here in my city??? I couldn't get over it!!! I have seen countless pictures of him with Kerri, with Kelly, at CWD, at Roche summits, all over the D-asphere, and here he sits, in MY city, in the waiting room. His blog is honest, forthright, makes me laugh and makes me think - just the things I want in this blogworld. He is as nice as he seems to be through his posts.  I introduced myself and he smiled and that's all it took. Off we went to the races - talking and chatting. We ended up sitting next to one another at the roundtable throughout the night. We laughed, we thought, we spoke from our heart, we listened.

He just blogged about our night in the focus group. Go and read it here. You might even spot a picture of us together there!

One of the sweetest gals all night was a woman named Betty. 52 years living with Type 1. Just think of that, 52 years. She was enlightening, funny, endearing and most of all, elicited a round of applause upon us all learning that she has spent 52 years doing this, longer than some of us have been here on this planet. You name it, she has seen it. And she boasts, rightly so, an A1C of 6.1. That elicited another round of applause. Betty, you inspire me, you are courageous, a light in the sometimes dark world of the D and you might not realize it, but you give me tremendous hope. That some day, pending a cure that may or may not happen, my gal Grace will sit at a table and say that she has had Type 1 diabetes for 52 years and is here to tell the tale. Blessings sweet Betty.

A wonderful night. Unforgettable in so many ways. Laughter, honesty, camaraderie and kinship all rolled into one.

I was warm all the way home.


Unknown said...

Hey... I like the "full circle" of this post...going in "cold" and going home "warm". Beautiful.

Seriously!? Scott Johnson!!! NOW.THAT.IS.COOL. And, congrats on being included on something so cool and thank you for representing us Penny. I am sure you did us all proud Mama "P"!

P.S. Do you think I'll ever get invited to something like this? Maybe I should give up the cursing on my blog? Maybe then I'll have a shot ;)

LaLa said...

WOW! Penny - that is so awesome.
I was just drafting a post about how T3's never get to go to things like this. Hmmm - I better make a correction to that post!! :)

Misty said...

Wow! Sounds so cool! Will we ever get to hear what this top secret meeting was about? I'm not asking WHAT it was about, just IF we will ever know? :)

Unknown said...


I can hardly wait until you can unleash some details :) So awesome amazing and exciting...and I KNOW you did us proud, my friend!

Alexis Nicole said...

This made me cry! 50 years. Whoo!! And Scott rocks!! Thank u for sharing this is so cool!

Meri said...

Scott's a rock star! WOO HOO! AND Woo Hoo to you for being part of a super secret super awesome focus group!!

Anonymous said...

That sounds awesome! I want to go to a super secret meeting!

Scott K. Johnson said...

Penny! You are making me blush! And a HUGE thank you to all of you who commented too. :-)

It was VERY cool to get to meet you. And what a group, right? It was magical.

You were inspirational to all of us, in how grounded you are with all that you do for your kiddos. As I said in my post, I especially love that you are also determined to keep her emotionally healthy. That alone will serve her well long into the future.

Maybe next time I'm in Philly I'll get to hang out with Grace too?