Monday, October 5, 2015

Stanford Medicine X 2015: This Is My Fight Song

It has taken me a week to recover from Medicine X and my #MedXHangover for me to finally put my thoughts together about my second year in a coherent way.

Last year when I attended Medicine X, I felt totally lost and overwhelmed.  This year was still overwhelming – if Medicine X isn’t overwhelming, you must be dead –
but I went with an agenda.  Or maybe not an agenda, but a plan, that I had and I was determined to see that plan through.  I knew going into the application that I wanted to do a talk; that I wanted to share my story in the hope of inspiring others.  I was so excited to get the chance to speak at Medicine X Ed.

Medicine X Ed was new this year, and it was such an amazing honor, not just to be included, but to have the opportunity to share my story with current and future medical professionals.  My talk focused on how doctors need to take patient’s pre-illness lives into account, and understand that patients’ lives don’t end at diagnosis.  I focused on how I was determined to get my degrees, even when most people were telling me that I should quit school.  I also talked about how the best lessons learned in life happen outside the classroom, and that should go for doctors, as well.

I was oddly emotional after my talk.  With the help of Janice, our speech coach, and the amazing support of ePatient Advisor Hugo Campos, I think I went out on stage and owned it.  But after it was over – and let me tell you, 5 minutes goes fast – I thought I was going to cry.  As I reflected on the moment, I realized that although I am used to telling my story in writing, this is really the first time that I have gone out and laid myself bare in front of strangers.  I left my little bubble, not knowing what the response to my talk would be.  Sure, I’ve spoken on panels before, but I’ve never really shared my story in a medium such as this.  I’ll share here a few of the responses from Twitter, because I was blown away with how my Twitter feed blew up after my speech:    

This year, there were some interesting additions, aside from Medicine X Ed.  There was more of a focus on mental health, more of a focus on health as it relates to gender, and an amazing discussion on chronic illness and intimacy.  People with different conditions were also represented this year that I didn’t see last year. 

This year, I was so excited to get the chance to room with Britta Bloomquist.  She and I have known each other through blogging for seven years, but had never met in person.  I think we had a great time together.  I also got to see some old friends and make more new ones. 

My main takeaways from this year is that much of life is about experiences and not degrees, and the power of the patient story and the patient voice – sharing your story in a way that feels authentic to you.  

At Medicine X, I’ve made lifelong friendships in the span of just a few days, and it doesn’t feel weird that we’ve known each other in real life for such a short time.  Despite our different illnesses, the conference brings all of us patients together and creates a cohort of people who share the same goals and aspirations. 

Medicine X is more than just a conference.  It’s a Commitment – to being better, to doing better, and it inspires those in attendance to strive to make healthcare better for all.

So the million dollar question is whether or not I will be back next year.  Going into this year, I was convinced I would not come back for a third year.  But I have so many ideas for next year.  I have drank the Medicine X Kool-Aid.  So I’ll keep you posted on that! 

Once my Ignite video and talk are up, I will make sure to post it here, as well as on social media because I am looking forward to sharing it with you!  And for many of the people who I got to meet at Medicine X but who weren’t at Medicine X Ed.

For now, you can check out the Just Talking Podcast, which shares some of our reflections about Medicine X: ABOUT STANFORD MEDICINE X 2015. (Thanks Chris for including me!) 

“[…] This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me […]” 

No comments:

Post a Comment