In the busyness of daily life, especially when you live with such an in your face condition as diabetes, it can be hard to stop and smell the roses. I try to take a small part of every day to do this, while every spare inch of time is filled in caring for my children, running two businesses, studying and managing my home. Much of this takes place in my home. I work from home. I play from home. I spend much of my spare time renovating, rearranging and decorating my home. I am a true homebody. Yet, I also love to travel and visit new places, but always with the joy of that moment when you come back home.

One of the ways I make sure to stay balanced and have this me time is through exercise. It is my haven. My time out.  The time where I have music in my ears, one of my other sources of peace and inspiration, especially when going outdoors for a run rather than into the gym. Lately I have been more and more drawn to choosing the outdoor run over the weights and treadmills, as the weather cools down a little and the scent of the change of seasons is on the breeze. It feels so free to be running in the fresh air, music in my ears and the sunshine on my shoulders.

At the International Diabetes Federation Congress in December, I was invited by a lovely and important man in the diabetes world, who is a champion for the wellbeing of all of us, to The Netherlands for the 5th International DAWN™ (Diabetes, Attitudes, Wishes and Needs) Summit. Diabetes Counselling Online was the Inaugural Winner of the Australasian DAWN Award many years ago and, top 3 in the International Award the following year. Novo Nordisk, who are the founders of this project, wanted me to share how we have managed to continue and develop our services since then, to show people across the world what can be done for the wellbeing of people living with diabetes when you stick at it and have passion. What an honour.

Yesterday I got the formal invite. I had to decline.

This was a tough decision for me for many reasons.  My diabetes played a part in this decision. With the difficulties I live with from Gastroparesis I did not fancy being crammed into a shared toilet for 36 hours on a plane. Family was a biggie. My husband is turning 50 at that time and I am hosting his party. I do not want to let him down. But more importantly in the decision was my feeling that neither my son Max, who is 5, or myself, were ready to have such distance between us. I did travel to the first DAWN Summit when my son James was 6 and it was amazing. So maybe soon. But not now. I did suggest that as a virtual service, perhaps I can join virtually and we are working out how we may do that and there will be a poster about our work too. So perhaps I can be there without actually being there. I will update you as we get closer to the summit.

When I was out running out in the sunshine in the later afternoon I started to ponder on this. I was torn. Of course I would love to be there and share our work with the world, as well as working with people from all over the world on new ideas and moving forward in the care of all people with diabetes. But it is just not possible at this point in time.  I was frustrated. Conflicted.

And then the song “Homeward Bound” by Simon and Garfunkel came on my music player. These words struck me so deeply. Then I knew why I can not take this trip at this moment in my life. And I felt at peace.


Maybe next time.



  1. Sandra Williams on February 26, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    What a pity Helen but you have to feel right about he trip and you will know when you are ready to make it. You have achieved so much for the diabetic community and I thank you for all you have done for us. The service is a great support to me.

    • Helen-Edwards on March 3, 2014 at 9:27 am

      thank you so much Sandra x