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#HAWMC: Day 21, "Reflection"

CHALLENGE: Reflection. This is a day to reflect. For the WEGO Health family, we reflect the inspiring and tireless work Health Activists do every day. Reflect on your journey today. What are your thoughts and hopes for the future? #HAWMC

This is a very timely post. One that I've been itching to write since I left the HealthEVoices conference that was sponsored by Janssen this past weekend.

I was contacted about four weeks before the conference. Completely blown away and caught off-guard, I was not sure how I should respond. Shy, afraid of the unknown and always afraid to take a chance, my first reaction was to decline. Eventually, with a little encouragement from friends and family, I agreed.
I flew out to New Jersey and convened with some very prominent bloggers (JournalingIBD, Inflamed & Untamed, #purpleproject, Crazy Creole Mommy, About IBD, The Great Bowel Movement - just to name a few). Not only are these bloggers fun, compassionate and dedicated individuals, they also "get it."

I'm one of few sufferers of Chronic Illness who have a great support system from my friends and family. Which is really awesome... but I have to tell you, there's definitely something to be said about the power of empathy.

When I got there, I was exhausted from the trip. My blood sugar had dropped, my luggage had not arrived with me and I had not eaten a decent meal that day (no time!). I wasn't able to attend the dinner that evening. Nauseous, head-pounding, weak, hungry, tired and vomiting ever so often, I excused myself early and apologized to the group.

I did not expect what happened next. No one asked any questions... well, except for, "Do you need anything?" No one accused me of being anti-social. They didn't doubt the way I felt. They got me some ginger ale, something to sleep in and told me to get some rest.

We all agreed that after this kind of travel, we all need a day to recover! I loved it. People understood. No need to explain. We had a connection. Sad, but true! We are all united because of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases... but it's ok! We were all able to share our stories and encourage each other. We had those "me too!" moments that reminded us that we are not alone. 

This, for me, was a much needed trip. One that I didn't want to take, but I did and it gave me the willpower and energy to keep going on this journey. With such a great support system that banded together, I feel like we can conquer the world wide web. I cannot wait to see the difference our advocacy and partnerships make in the future. Soon, they will all know that IBD sufferers are a force to be reckoned with.

***Janssen paid for my travel expenses for the conference. All thoughts and opinions expressed here (or on any of my other social media platforms, blog, etc.) are my own.***

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