Monday, December 8, 2014

Joint Decisions Empowerment Summit


You wouldn't know it from my blog, but several weeks back I attended the Joint Decisions Empowerment Summit sponsored and paid for by Janssen Biotech in Boston. (Life has been busy!)  It was a great time of sharing stories with other bloggers. Yay! I finally got to meet Wren from Rheumablog, Amanda from All Flared Up and Carla from Carla's Corner in person after following them for years! Meeting bloggers in person is still a weird experience because you come face to face with someone for the first time knowing so much about each other. I was also happy to meet some new blogging friends: From This Point. Forward , Spoonless Momma, and Titanium Triathlete , Amazing women!  Of course it was also nice to once again see The Hurt Blogger, Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy, Inflamed: Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Getting Closer to Myself. I was surrounded by strong people with a purpose in life.

We were treated well at this summit.  On Saturday, we got a late start which gave my husband and I time to explore Boston by foot.  The summit began around 11:30 in a small conference room that had a very fireside feel.  Each blogger had their own comfy chair with a blanket and pillow.  There was even hot chocolate and whipped cream! Our motivational speaker was Tina Wesson, a Survivor winner who deals with RA herself.  She was definitely motivational. I loved her enthusiasm for life and not letting anything hold her back from adventure.  After an energizer break that always got us moving physically but also thinking about little life changes we can make such as looking for daily gratitude or standing to keep blood flowing to brain for better thinking, each blogger shared where she/he is right now.  We were asked to bring one physical thing that
represented where we are today.  I brought pink Post-its.  For me, they represent that I'm in a good place with my RA right now and I am able to do many things which is represented by all the Post-its I use.

Sunday started earlier with breakfast, video interviews, and more energizer breaks.  We then gave feedback on Joint Decisions, a collaboration of Janssen and Creaky Joints to provide patient information via teleconferences.  Finally, we concluded with group photos and then headed to the American College of Rheumatology Conference.  I then headed back to the hotel, met up with my husband, and went to dinner before heading to the airport for a delayed flight.

Overall, I felt everyone on the Biotech/Tonic team was there to listen to our needs and make us comfortable.  I appreciate that they gave us plenty of time with the team but also time to explore Boston. It was a great experience. I left feeling like I'd made a small contribution towards advocating for all of us.