Blood Sugar Trampoline

Future Health Summit Review

I have so much to share from the Future Health Summit last Friday I really don’t know where to start. So. Much. To. Write. It was very much an honour to have the opportunity to attend and to get a glimpse into the health care professionals’ world and to have access to a diverse range of AM-azing speakers from all areas of health.

Friday morning, I arrived in, what I thought, was plenty of time to browse the exhibits but due to a minor mix up in the timetable I lost forty five minutes of that time. I met some really interesting people though, who do some very important work and some very interesting delegates.

The first part of my day was spent attending the Diabetes Ireland workshop, which was consolidated with the ARCH workshop.

I have to say that I feel a new & engaging phase of diabetes patient conferences evolving. The diabetes conferences that I had been going to in Ireland were stale for me. They were very much medically driven and about getting to know the basics. They were not at all engaging, or very seldom and I wasn’t learning anything new at them so I stopped going.

Future Health Summit Logo

In 2014, I had my first experience of what a patient conference could be when I went to my first diabetes conference where the speakers really, I mean really, engaged with their audience. It was almost like we were at a Baptist church service and I just wanted to stand up and sing “Halleluia”! I called these guys and gals Diabetes Rock Stars. And these guys blog, have websites, run organisations and are well known in the diabetes world. You know who I’m talking about because we are bringing a small number of them to Thriveabetes.

But in recent months, as I do more and more blogging and advocating and learning and meeting new diabetes people I’m beginning to realise that we are growing our own crop of Diabetes Rock Stars right here in Ireland. I can see it happening and it’s so exciting. The two I will mention today are Diabetes Ireland’s very own, Anna Clarke and Kate Gajewska (no she’s not Irish born but we are keeping her:-)

Kate’s “Top 10 Tips for living with Diabetes

Kate presented her “Top 10 Tips for living with Diabetes”. But they weren’t what you might have assumed they were. She told us not to forget to live and play, that diabetes is part of our lives – don’t let it become our whole lives. Become an expert in diabetes – find out what it is, how insulin works, how carbohydrate is absorbed – there is nothing as empowering as knowledge. They are just a couple of the gems she shared. And she told us her diabetes story of growing up in Poland and how her parents bought her first blood glucose meter when they first came out and then they bought her first pump. How expensive they were but that her parents know how much a difference they would make in her life. I hope to have more information about Kate in the coming months on the Thriveabetes blog.

Anna’s ” What to expect from you annual diabetes clinic appointment”

Anna Clarke gave us her version of what to expect from you annual diabetes clinic appointment. It was clear that Anna knew most of the people with diabetes in the room had type 1 and I think she also knew some of us personally. She delivered a talk that was specific to us. Us, who have been around the diabetes block for a while and do our homework for our appointments. So, she told us that we should not be afraid to speak up at our appointments, especially if we don’t feel listened to. That, even if our doctors and nurses don’t see us as equals, we should still see them as ours. And to focus on getting more time with our Diabetes Nurse Specialists rather than our Endocrinologists.

Shane O’Donnell & The ARCH Workshop

Next up was the ARCH workshop which was extremely interesting and gave me a little introductions to sociology presented by Dr. Shane O’Donnell was presenting it with his colleague, Dr Maria Quinlan.

ARCH is the Applied Research for Connected Health, and “is at the centre of an unparalleled connected health education and research infrastructure that spans a range of activities from gathering, analysing and interpreting data, through the development of new knowledge and care models to implementing and evaluating change.”

Shane, you might remember from a previous post, is Ireland’s representative on the International Diabetes Federation’s Young Leader in Diabetes Programme. And even though he had written a piece for Thriveabetes, which you can have a read of here – we had yet to meet. Cool Bananas! Box ticked!

 

I know that I’ve come across a couple more Irish people in diabetes who qualify as “Rock Stars” – but I thought I would just give you a little flava.

We had a quick break for lunch. And then my afternoon was spent attending the Diabetes Summit, where I was presenting. I have to tell ye, I think I have the bug. TBC This post is long enough:-)

Apologies for the lack of photo, I really need to upgrade my phone:-(

Operation Transformation – A National Movement


The tv show Operations Transformation is more than just a fluffy piece of entertainment. It's a national movement. And, for me, it's the most uplifting programme on telly today.

 

No, I swear I'm not crazy… or easily entertained!!!

I only began watching the programme a number of years ago, when the creators partnered with Diabetes Ireland to create more awareness about type 2 diabetes. It was only then that I realised this show is about so much more than getting five people to lose weight.

And I got hooked! Unlike any reality TV show that I have seen, it's not about putting people down or pitting them against each other.


Operations Transformation is advertised as a health and fitness programme. It airs on RTÉ One in Ireland. The show is a cross-media event broadcast via radio, web and television and it's been running (ha, ha, pun) for nine years.

 

The show motivates and inspires people and communities to come together to become healthier. They are partnered with Sports Ireland who help organise nationwide walks in over fifty locations all around Ireland.

It encourages everyone to take back control of their lives, no matter what your demons are.

How does it work?

Five leaders are selected and are supported and guided by a panel of experts in the fields of fitness, nutrition and psychology in order to reach their individual goals. The show broadcasts over a period of seven weeks but most leaders continue on their journey sucessfully.

The leaders are chosen on the basis that there is someone for everyone to relate to. The meal and exercise plans which have been created for each leader are published online so that viewers can follow the plans also.

 
The first two programmes of the series introduces all the leaders, who they are, what they do and why they want to do Operation Transformation. Let me warn you, it's a cry-fest. Well, no it isn't I'm just a big SAP!
 
You find out that these people are not just battling their weight; they have darker demons buried inside that are holding them back. Being overweight is just a symptom of what ails them.
 
This programme also gives you an insight into just how difficult it is to decide to lose weight and that you're crazy if you think there is a quick fix and that support is key. Why do it by yourself.


Why am I writing about this programme?

I think this programme is an Irish phenomenon and could be replicated elsewhere.

 

And this programme is educational; I was happy with my weight but the truth is that when I go clothes shopping I am definately not. 

 
As a person with type 1 diabetes I feel that the food I eat is healthy most of the time! I did pare it down a number of years back to drop some baby weight and it worked. And I get my 30 minute walk into my day 4 times a week so I couldn't be bothered trying to add more exercise. 
 
But when the show introduced me to leader, Noeleen who is 5" 3" in height and 75 kgs and officially obese – I woke up! I'm 5" 4" and 72 kgs!!! Yikes! Too close for comfort.
 
So while I really don't want to change the way I eat – I starting to think I need to move more to officially be healthy. Let's face it who doesn't!
 
All the leaders are inspirational this year and along with Noeleen, I'm especially interested in cheering for Chef John Conmy who has type 2 diabetes. During his fitness test during the programme he was discovered to have heart disease. He wasn't aware he had it and this programme may have saved his life. 

 
And then there's Clare Scanlan, who's has not been able to move past her grief after losing her 15 year old son to sudden adult death syndrome two years ago. 
 

The show has teams up with Sport Ireland, who organise nationwide walks in over fifty locations all around Ireland. The highest number to date who took part is over 19,000 people. Every year this numbers climbs and climbs.

 
People are doing it! Taking back control of their lives!




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