It’s been a few days since my mom and I got back from Toronto. The conference was amazing. I met so many inspiring people, all with inspiring stories. I met one woman that actually had GBS while she was pregnant, and another that was diagnosed with CIDP when she had a newborn too. I met a woman that also wrote a book about her experience with GBS, and I really bonded with her, for several reasons. I met people with all different stories, some very different than mine, and some so similar it’s scary. One man I met pretty much had the exact same experience as I did – it was a very serious case, we spent almost the same amount of time in ICU, almost the same amount of time in rehab, we both recovered quickly and completely, and just faced a lot of the same challenges along the way. To meet someone that could relate to so many details of what I went through was awesome. There’s not many people that truly understand what I have gone through – like how I have that strange hypersensitivity feeling I have in my feet – so it was really nice to have someone know exactly what I was talking about for a change.
Friday was Liaison day, with all the different volunteers from around the country. Although there are many GBS patients here in Alberta, there aren’t any other liaisons, so it was really, really nice to be surrounded by so many others that are doing what I am trying to do here. Because of all these amazing people, who completely volunteer their time, people are getting the support they need. Hearing how some of these liaisons are going into Universities to talk about GBS and CIDP, others are hopping on their motorcycles to drive many miles to talk with a patient, and others are handing out information to medical offices and hospitals; it makes me so proud to be a part of such a wonderful foundation.
Saturday was for the public, so there were many different GBS and CIDP patients there with their families. I was so surprised at how many people came up to me to tell me that they saw my video on YouTube or had even already read my book. It’s really great to know how much my story is impacting people. My favorite part of that day was when one doctor (who had GBS previously) talked about the importance of having a positive attitude and the importance of laughter. I have believed this my entire life, and even more so after my experience with GBS. It’s amazing what two seconds of laughter can do to your mindset. When your feeling down, surround yourself with people that can make you smile and make you laugh, and I promise it will help!
The weekend overall was fantastic. I made some new friends and had a great time with my mom!
Since I have been home, two exciting things have happened! Even though it was a while ago, I just found out that my story was put into Spinal Columns magazine! You can read the article HERE. The other thing is that Global News was able to help promote our upcoming picnic this weekend, so information about it was aired this evening.
Our GBS/CIDP picnic that we organized is this Sunday and I am really looking forward to it. I am looking forward to seeing Kit (the man with GBS who came to visit me when I was in the hospital) as well as many others that have survived GBS or CIDP. It should be a lot of fun; on top of selling hot dogs and beverages we will also be selling balloons to be released into the air in the afternoon, which I think will be really pretty. We will also be playing some really fun games – games that will show others what it’s like to have GBS (what it’s like to be in a wheelchair, what it’s like to not have control over your hands, etc.) All the proceeds from the day will go towards the GBS/CIDP Foundation of Canada. So if you live in the Edmonton area and don’t have any plans on Sunday afternoon, please stop by Jackie Parker Park and help support a wonderful cause! I’m crossing my fingers, but its supposed to be a beautiful day!