Friday, July 11, 2014

#MasterLab and the Green Bracelet

Last week I attended MasterLab. Although it was held at the same time as Friends for Life (FFL), it really wasn't part of the FFL conference. Technically we were in collaboration with the event. Although I was *at* FFL I wasn't really *part* of FFL. It was one step forward from starting as the kids that weren't invited to the "party" at all to the kids that were only invited for just part of the "party".

Participants in FFL receive a bracelet at registration. Green is for those with Type 1 diabetes, and orange is for their family members. There is no color for Type 2. If a Type 2 is at the conference it is only because they have a family member with Type 1, so they receive an orange bracelet. (There is also a yellow bracelet for those who need to eat gluten free.)

My Type 1 friends at MasterLab accepted me as just another PWD (person with diabetes). They didn't feel I should be excluded from the "party" - especially the adult get-together the evening of MasterLab.

I had left the table for a little while during one of our breaks. When I returned, I found a green bracelet in my spot. I looked over at the two Type 1s that were sitting next to me (who I will keep anonymous unless they want to come forward), wondering if the bracelet was really for me. With big smiles on their faces, they said they wanted to make sure I got into the gathering that evening.

My green bracelet experience was amazing. I saw it as full acceptance, at least by those attending MasterLab. I know the look on my face when I saw it at my place at the table was like a little kid and said, “Really? Am I really fully accepted into the group?” At that moment I didn't feel like a Type 2 who was allowed in for just part of the party. I felt like just another PWD. The type didn't matter at that point.

During MasterLab, someone mentioned the possibility of a different color for Type 2s if we continue working with FFL. At first I agreed. However the more I think about it, I’d rather it just be one color for PWD – regardless of type!

I’m still wearing my green bracelet and probably won’t take it off until it falls off!

Disclaimer: I was offered a scholarship by the Diabetes Hands Foundation as part of my participation in the Diabetes Advocates program to attend the MasterLab. My conference fee, travel, and hotel were covered by the scholarship, but the opinions and ideas I will report on are my own.


  1. I think that's why there are so few type 2's in the DOC. When I read around other sites I kind of get the feeling that a lot of them see type 2's according to the popular view; that we did this to ourselves and we can be cured with lifestyle. Some seem to think that we are not truly diabetics. The seem to not grasp the idea that we can control diabetes better with diet and exercise, but even with my latest A1c of 4.5 I am not cured. If I don't continue with my lifestyle and taking my medications my blood sugar will be high again. There is a similar divide in breast cancer survivors. Those diagnosed in stage 0 to stage 2 do not want to associate with those who are stage 3 or stage 4. We make them feel uncomfortable, like we somehow minimize their illness. Some people in advanced stages do. There is a stigma with being a type 2. People with type 1 don't like that they suffer from that stigma too. There is a stigma of having advanced stage breast cancer. Those whose cancer was caught early don't want to be associated with it. I sometimes wonder if the same holds true for other conditions.

  2. Of course I'll step forward. And of course you needed a bracelet and needed to be at all the events that day. We are all in this diabetes thing together!! <3 U