Okay, so I spoke at the conference and it turned out okay. I don’t know why I work myself up into such a frenzy.
It was actually a pretty interesting panel and I’m so glad I did it. It was with Allison of www.lemonadelife.com, Hannah of www.dorkabetic.com and Gilles of ACOR, and we were talking about how the health industry can support and/or learn from patients who blog. I can’t say that we reached everyone but there seemed to be enough head nodding to make me feel like we were making some sort of impression on the doctors, pharma marketers and agency people in the room.
Pediatric gastroenterologist Bryan Vartabedian was there, known as @Doctor_V on Twitter, and he had also presented earlier in the day (his topic was “what you need to know about doctors and social media”). What I loved about meeting him was the first thing he said to me: “so, do you have mouth ulcers?” I guess those are the sorts of conversations we can expect when we break down the walls.
My co-panelists are an amazing bunch. They’ve made it a priority to help make being a patient better. Whether for diabetes in Allison and Hannah’s case, or for cancer in Gil’s case, they make a difference because they’re making that effort, which helps people know they’re not alone. And Dr. V is also doing his part, possibly just as important, because he’s getting doctors to do the same thing.
So much has happened at this conference that it’s hard to summarize it all, especially since the crappy coffee has seemed to give me the shakes, making it a bit hard to type. But to be brief, one thing that has stuck with me is something Allison said yesterday, which is that when you blog, you are inviting more people to your team. I love that analogy. I feel that anyone reading this post or any of my blog is truly part of my team that helps make me feel well. As much as I’d hoped that my blog might help others, ultimately it’s a selfish endeavor – I know that I need support as well as an outlet, and this blog gives me that.