ABTA Conference Weekend

This was a one of a kind weekend where my mom and I got to share the spotlight. We had one session where we got to tell our story to about a group of 50 researchers. We were there to put a face to those Petri dishes they see all the time. They asked us question and we asked questions. We honestly we like to know where research is heading. We also liked the fact that we got to show people that I am here as a result of their hard work. One researcher said to us. “ 90% of the time we fail. We are failures.” My response to that was “because of all your failures I am sitting here alive.” These researches sit in their labs day in and day out. My mom and I talking with them not only impacted them but impacted us as well.

That was on the day before the event officially was open to the public. Friday we didn’t have to speak at all, which we then went to a lot of break out sessions.

I should say my mother did. Through out Friday we had a lot of the researches coming up to us and talking. Thanking us for speaking. We were humbled with all the complements. But we were more than open to speak.

Now comes Saturday. My mother and I were a part of a patient/caregiver panel that were going to tell our stories. The room was filled with table with about 200 people attending. My mom and I were up first to tell our story. I told my long story. With my jokes and my humor which was keeping everybody engages. There was one point at which I said “After all of that, I can now say that I am not living with cancer. Cancer is living with me!” The room lit up with applause. I have never felt so connected with so many people at one time before. It was like everybody knew the power behind that message.

Felt bad for my mom because she had to speak after that haha. But she did just as well speaking from a caregivers side. I mean she had 13 years worth of it. after the other two couples spoke the room opened up wot questions which a lot was focused to my mom and I. We answered honestly about how we manage our relationship, esp with me being back home and seeing each other 24/7. One main point we wanted people to know is that we argue. In fact we argue a lot, in fact yell and scream. We are each others punching bag. Her more so than me.

The whole rest of the day we had people coming up to us. Thanking us for speaking. Asking us questions. People were just completely impressed with our talk.

All throughout the weekend I was humbled by the amount of people that were coming up to have a word with me. For instance at one time on Friday night I went back down to where the talks were to see if people were still down there. There was some doctors and researchers still down there. All of a sudden I ended up with a line of people waiting to get their turn to speak to me. Just wow! The power of words in a story can make.

Posted in: Uncategorized