twenty-one in twenty-twelve . . . continuing the good things

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With anatomy, work, class and a crazy week in the mix last week, I feel like [aside from yesterday] I have not blogged in forever. And this is accurate. Caroline jolted me into this realization that i have been a less than attentive blogger the last couple weeks.

I declared 2012 to be the Year of Good Things. It is delivering.

I turned 21 last Monday. Last Saturday my aunt made me this:

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I went to my fourth Switchfoot concert, which was amazing. There was a spontaneous chant for moustaches. I fell in love with The Rocket Summer because of this concert.

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Medicine-X

I am excited that I will be attending the Medicine-X conference in Palo Alto, California!  As I mentioned previously, Stanford has graciously awarded many ‘ePatients’ with “scholarships” to the conference. For me, this includes the conference, accommodation for three nights, and a good portion of my airfare. I am VERY excited to meet so many people who I have connected with online, and who I have yet to connect with in September! I’m SO excited to meet Kim and hopefully Cherise at the conference as well as hang out with Steve in San Francisco the day I get in.

But before that . . .

World Congress on Asthma

In 2010, I partnered with the Asthma Society of Canada as a member of the National Asthma Patient Alliance Executive committee. I was finally able to attend a conference call in May, and engaged with many amazing, passionate people with my laryngitis voice. A few months ago we were supposed to attend an event in Toronto which did not work out, but we will be meeting in person in Quebec City this summer at the World Congress on Asthma! I am very excited for this opportunity and to be among the handful of patients attending the conference. During my time in Quebec City, I plan to meet with two of North America’s most prominent asthma researchers, Dr. Sally Wenzel and Dr. Dilini Vethanayagam, and am very excited to meet both of them in person after multiple e-mails not only about asthma research, but improving the patient support experience.  As a part of this, I hope to be able to connect with those in my own community (such as Cathy on the NAPA executive with me) and across the country, and around the world.

I’m also hoping to walk the Diabetes Run for the Canadian Diabetes Association in September, along with the small-town Imagine Mental Health race I’ve done the last two years. I suppose I’d better get training!

medicine-x conference: the story, the scholarship, and the deliberations

I’ve been blessed with being able to meet a lot of really cool people, connect with a lot more, and be presented with a lot of really amazing opportunities.  At the end of December, I declared 2012 as the year of Good Things, and whether it is actually happening or it is just perspective [which IS still actually happening]. For instance, Ari Shine and Josh Damigo follow me on Twitter, and that is pretty awesome, because they are kickass musicians working super hard at what they do. I only mention this, because it is the pure connecting power of the Internet that has helped me land in a lot of places.

A few months ago, I haphazardly filled out an application to attend the Medicine-X conference at Stanford Medical School in Palo Alto, California, on recommendation of a Twitter follower who had attended Med-X in the past. Haphazardly because, thank you academic writing, I can make myself sound decent without trying too hard. And then, mostly I forgot about it assuming that nothing would come of it.

Last week, I received an e-mail that I had been selected to receive a full ePatient scholarship to Med-X including accommodation. Soon enough, the tweets started flying from others I follow with links of those of us selected for scholarships to the conference. In the Patient Engagement track, I am one of two Canadians, which is a huge honour in itself. Not only that, but to be alongside my friends Kim of Texting My Pancreas and Cherise, founder of Diabetes Social Media Advocacy or #dsma. These ladies are amazing people and hardcore influencers in the diabetes online community, so to be among them is amazing. We immediately started throwing tweets, direct messages and Facebook messages at one another.

Once the initial excitement wore off slightly, I started thinking rationally. School, money. Scouring the internet for the cheapest flights I could find with missing the least school possible. How I could get from San Francisco International Airport to the hotel, and how much it would cost.  Dude, I’ve never travelled by myself before . . . never mind in a place where my phone won’t work. Anyway, airfare had me scratching out numbers on a post-it. $550 is not bad for airfare going from the middle of one country to the coast of another in the least. But people, I work eight hours a week, sometimes a few more. I’m a full-time student. You know, the usual cards us students have to play.

I thought for days. I thought about making it work, about parting with probably what would end up being close to $1,000 for a three-day sprint of a trip. And I gave up on the idea, e-mailed the organizers of Med-X and reluctantly declined my scholarship. I Facebooked Kim and Cherise, Dia [who is basically my rationalizer] and Steve [one of my buddies in the Bay Area], and told them I was probably out.

Then at about 2 PM today my email bing’ed and there was a message from Larry Chu. Who offered an up-to $300 reimbursement toward my travel expenses to help enable me to attend Med-X. And my jaw dropped. I am already receiving conference registration, which is like $500, and a shared room at the Sheraton . . . and now they were offering to help offset the costs of traveling to the conference. This is a huge opportunity, and I’ve never done anything like this before. To attend Med-X with Kim, and hopefully Cherise, would be amazing.

I have another twenty-four hours or so to continue the considerations and make the decision. The Good Things, though, they keep coming, and I feel like how can I turn this opportunity down? Because it’s all aligning so amazingly–with so much of the cost being covered, with Cherise and Kim being on the roster, too, and with the haphazardity that I filled out the application, I feel that this must be aligning for a reason.

And how can I say no to the Good Things, right?

To be continued . . .