Diabetes Unconference: What is your area of expertise?

The very first Diabetes UnConference is now over. It was held at the Flamingo Hotel on the Las Vegas strip, in the shadow of the already-famous High Roller.

How to describe the UnConference? Well, I can’t tell you much about what was discussed in our sessions Saturday and Sunday. That’s because all attendees observed a strict no-social-media policy from our meeting area throughout the weekend. So I’m not here to give you a blow by blow rundown of what was presented.

Now that that disclosure is out of the way, let me back up a bit. Let me tell you about what the Diabetes UnConference was.

It was a place where adults living with diabetes, of all types, from all backgrounds, were engaging with each other in a safe, protective environment, rather than sitting in their chairs and looking up at someone’s PowerPoint presentation. It was an absolutely judgement-free zone 24 hours a day.

Instead, the experts at this conference were the attendees. Their presentations were on a number of subjects and drew on the collective experience of nearly 2,000 years of living with this chronic condition.

There was laughing and crying, there was criticism and praise, and there was support and a lot of listening to each other.

There was not always agreement. There was always respect. There were diabetes veterans meeting the newly or relatively newly diagnosed. There were tips and tricks exchanged.

People shared some of their most closely held fears and secrets. People emerged stronger. People emerged not feeling so alone. People were empowered to take another look at diabetes and their friends who live with diabetes, making a collective investment in a better future for all of us. We are all in.

In the end, I can tell you how I’m feeling a day after the conclusion of this event. Thanks to the people in the photo above, my heart is soaring today, without the help of anything but insulin and the support, understanding, and empowerment provided by my fellow compatriots.

And I would be honored if you brought your expertise to the UnConference next year.

Aboard the High Roller, 500 feet above the Las Vegas strip

Aboard the High Roller, 500 feet above the Las Vegas strip

No disclosure to see here, folks. I paid for conference registration and for travel to and from Las Vegas all on my own. And I’m damn glad I did.

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  • Ally  On March 16, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    What a good-looking group! I was wondering why Twitter was so darn quiet all weekend. Glad to see you all had fun! Did anyone win big at the casino to fund that elusive diabetes cure? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  • Rachel  On March 16, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Cheers! Great post! I felt like I was there!


    • StephenS  On March 16, 2015 at 7:49 pm

      Thanks Rachel! It was an incredible experience diving into the psychosocial impacts of diabetes, as Kelly Kunik says, in all dimensions. Sometimes raw, sometimes funny, sometimes in between, it meant a lot to me personally.


  • Diabetes Ramblings (@RFamsRamblings)  On March 16, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    I hope that I can make it next time. Looking forward to MasterLab in July!

    Liked by 1 person

    • StephenS  On March 16, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      Yes and Yes! My suspicion is that MasterLab, which should be fantastic in July, will be very different from this experience. I can’t quite put it into words yet, but it was special.


  • Laddie  On March 16, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    Stephen, I am so glad to have finally met you in person. You were every bit as wonderful as I expected! I am emotionally and physically exhausted but so honored to have met you and all of the other wonderful D-people at the #duncon.


  • George  On March 16, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    Stephen, I knew I was still an emotional mess when I started reading this and couldn’t see through the tears. I miss everyone and am already looking forward to next year. Your post is perfect. Thank you for writing it and for being awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    • StephenS  On March 17, 2015 at 11:25 am

      George, I’ve been wanting to meet you for some time, and you did not disappoint. Thanks for your valuable contributions to the success of this event.


  • Cranky Pancreas (@crankypancreas)  On March 17, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    It was a great pleasure to finally meet you, Stephen. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  • Kate Cornell  On March 19, 2015 at 11:21 am

    I’m finally getting around to reading all the posts. My post is so similar to yours! We rock! haha. Great to see you again and it was wonderful to be able to spend some time outside of the actual conference. Next year we’ll do it again!!

    Liked by 1 person

  • fifteenwaitfifteen  On March 19, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    So. Much. Awesome. Thank you, Stephen!!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Mike Hoskins (@MHoskins2179)  On March 20, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    The more I read, the more emotional I become and now… can’t even see the screen. Was so great seeing you again Stephen, and thank you for everything. Such an incredible experience, and love how you nailed it with we “emerged not feeling so alone.” Can’t say it any better than that! Thanks for sharing this, and can’t wait to see you again at FFL in July.

    Liked by 1 person

    • StephenS  On March 20, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      Mike, thanks for adding your input to a super Unconference. It wouldn’t have been as great without you. I’m probably not going to make it to FFL or MasterLab this year… but enjoy your time there. I know it will be great!


  • Colleen  On March 22, 2015 at 6:57 am

    Nicely said – and – so happy to have met you!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Scott K. Johnson  On March 23, 2015 at 5:14 am

    Stephen, thanks for your part in making the UnConference what it was. I’m so glad you decided to attend – it wouldn’t have been the same without you. Here’s to next year! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  • Karen  On April 8, 2015 at 10:08 am

    I’m (obviously) very behind on blog reading, but thanks for transporting my right back to the UnConference so well. It was magical and you sure did capture that magic.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Katy  On April 14, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    It sounds amazing.

    Liked by 1 person


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: