Well, I have been home from the Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation National Patient Conference for about twenty-four hours, fifteen of which I have spent sleeping...no lie! There are so many experiences that happened in those two days that I want to write about and there is a TON of Sjögrens related information I learned that I wish to pass on to you, my readers. But, I am going to take this in small steps because first, there is so much to write about, so I am going to do it in several different blogs so as not to overwhelm you. And second, I need to spend some time really taking care of myself physically. especially because I have several days scheduled at work in the next two weeks...and a birthday coming up!
I hope this does not sound redundant, but this blog entry is designed to thank many people who supported me through this conference endeavor. I did some of this already on the Thoughts and Ramblings Facebook page, but I know not everyone uses Facebook or Twitter. If you do use Facebook though, you can come be a part of the page by clicking on the Facebook link on the right side of this page. Or just type Thoughts and Ramblings on Life, Love, and Health in your Facebook search box.
The Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation has been an instrumental part of the success of Tales From the Dry Side during their 2014 conference this past weekend. They (specifically Steven Taylor, CEO) gave me the opportunity to have a book signing table and invited me to speak on a panel the first day of the conference. It was the first time I have been able to share my story out loud to a group of people like that-an experience I will never forget.
From the moment I stepped into the exhibit hall, I was treated with kindness and respect. The SSF staff on site for the convention went out of their way to make me feel comfortable and to ensure that everything was going smoothly for me. Thank you especially to Kathy Ivory, Ben Basloe, Elizabeth Troccio, Sheriese DeFruscio and Michele Champigny for making me feel like a part of the SSF family.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to two of my fellow story contributors, Sandra Larsen and Sandra Loy, who attended the conference and spent many hours signing books and speaking with conference attendees. I am so blessed to call them friends.
I honestly do not know if I physically would have gotten through this trip without my husband, Chuck. He made sure I had everything I needed and kept me upright when all I wanted to do was sleep. Any of you who follow this blog regularly know how constant his support is. This weekend was no exception.
Thanks to my awesome aunt and uncle, Jean and Paul, for surprising me with a beautiful floral arrangement in my hotel room. It made a good book signing table absolutely beautiful! Thank you to my family and friends for all their support and for being so excited for me.
Last, but not least, thank you to all the conference attendees who visited the Tales From the Dry Side table and took the time to share their stories. And thank you to their family members, partners, friends, and spouses, who were truly the best examples of what it is like to love someone, no matter how rocky the road gets. All of your enthusiasm and strength as Sjögren's patients gave ME the strength to keep going hour after hours for several days. Thank you for buying the book. I know for many of you, resources are scarce and I appreciate you having faith in me and this book.
I am very excited to share my conference experiences with you all over the next few weeks. Although I didn't have even a minute to explore the vendor tables, my husband graciously did so for me and snagged me samples of several different new products which I will be trying and then doing reviews on so that maybe these products can be of some use to you all.
For those of you who attended, get some rest and remember...you are your own best advocate. Never stop fighting for yourself!