For the second year in a row I’m attending ePatient Connections, a very different sort of industry event. Where conversely a lot of conferences can tend to be dry, this one is incredibly informative and inspiring.
It’s so easy as someone with Crohn’s to feel really alone, like no one else in the world understands what if feels like to have to deal with life being harder just because it’s your life. And then when I see others going through these challenges I feel less alone, and so inspired that if they can fight and beat this, so can I.
The first strong inspirational story came from Charity Tilemann-Dick, an Opera singer with a rare and terrible disease that forced her to get a lung transplant to save her life; you can see her story on the TedMed website. I got to meet her and her mother, and it meant so much to be able to tell this woman how strong and inspiring she is. I turned to her mother and just started to bawl – I’m so amazed that she can stay so strong when this is all happening to her child. I couldn’t help but think that if something happened to my baby girl I just wouldn’t be able to handle it. And here was this woman so strong, standing by her child. It was sad, but inspiring too. It made me feel like what I’m doing is so much easier to deal with than what could be.
The next story that made me tear up was from the Detroit Medical Center, about a young woman paralyzed in a car crash who wanted to walk down the aisle at her wedding. Go ahead, try watching this without feeling like you’re going to cry.
In between the emotional roller coasters are leaders from hospitals, pharma companies and other healthcare type companies who are all working to get patients and doctors more connected…well, I hope anyway!
Unfortunately I have to leave before the day is fully over so I can pick up the munchkin from daycare. But there’s still one more day of inspiration tomorrow.