Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What Med X Means To Me: My Feelings The Second Time Around

I can’t begin to describe how excited I am for Medicine X this year. 

I was super excited about it last year, but then my dad died and pretty much everything in my life took a backseat.

The first day of the conference was the funeral of one of my best friend’s dad, who died three weeks after my dad died.  She drove across the state of Michigan to attend my dad’s funeral, and I felt awful that I couldn’t be there to attend her dad’s funeral.

Needless to say, I was a basket case.  I knew I was going to California for Medicine X, but how I actually made it there and back, I’m not really sure. 

I enjoyed the experience, to be sure, as much as I could given the circumstances  that occurred in the weeks leading up to Medicine X. 

If it would have been up to me, I probably wouldn’t have got to Medicine X last year, but my mom told me that I had to keep my prior commitments, that that’s what my dad would have wanted. 

I felt bad going, though, because my head wasn’t in the game – I wasn’t able to give it my full attention.  I wasn’t even thinking that much about health, to be honest.  I was hoping that I wouldn’t flare after my dad died, but given all of the emotional turmoil, I wasn’t sure how I would fare.

Luckily, I had an amazing roommate who made sure that I had people around me.  I felt included, though if I hadn’t had the support, I would have felt completely alone and probably wouldn’t have appreciated the experience to the full extent that I did. 

The effect that Med X had on me was profound.  I was completely overwhelmed by the amazing people that were involved, and the way patients, specifically, were treated.  There is, in my opinion, nothing else like Medicine X. 

I’ve heard some people bashing it lately, and I wish that everyone who wanted to be a part of it could, because it’s a life-changing experience.  I walked away last year with a much clearer sense of who I am as a patient, and how patients have the power to really make change in healthcare. 

I was so affected by the Ignite talks that I started writing mine in my hotel room at Medicine X last year.  I was so inspired by others, and really wanted to share my story with other people.  Last year I was on the Engagement track, where I basically had to Facebook and Twitter the heck out the conference.  In fact, Medicine X is really where I got my Twitter prowess from.  I’m glad that’s all of the responsibility I had given everything else that was going on. 

But this year, I knew I wanted more.  I feel like I came into my own at Medicine X last year.  When I applied for last year’s conference, I really wasn’t too sure about exactly what the Medicine X experience would be like.    

This year, I’m so excited that I’m going to be giving an Ignite talk during Medicine X ED, which is new this year.  I’m excited to share my story.  I’m excited to see old friends and to make new ones.  I’m excited that my roommate this year is a fellow blogger who I have followed online since right after my diagnosis, and I finally get to meet her in person.  And I feel extremely grateful that I’ve had the privilege of experiencing Medicine X not just once, but now what will be twice.     

Excited to be seeing some of you in Cali in about five weeks!

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