This past weekend was an amazing experience - it was the Acromegaly Community conference! I have only attended one of these before (in 2011) and this year's conference was every bit as transformational as the first one. There were over 50 acromegaly patients from across the country and globe! Some notable locations I recall: Alaska, Australia, England, and Canada! In addition to the patients, many loved ones and supporters were there, and they even had their own Acromegaly Loved Ones breakout group led by Karen S. (mother of Tanya Angus) and Tina V. (godmother of Tanya Angus). I am definitely bringing my spouse to the next conference!
I cannot emphasize enough the benefit of attending an in-person conference like this! I left the conference feeling invigorated, informed, and even more committed to maintaining my health and advocating for better awareness and treatment of acromegaly.
As I sat in the presentation by Garni Barkhoudarian, MD-Neurosurgery, I remember wondering how my life might have been different had I had access to all the information and knowledge he was sharing before my own surgery. Later during the conference, I had the pleasure of meeting Bella, a newly diagnosed acro patient who is awaiting her scheduled surgery. Well, lucky for Bella, she was not only getting comprehensive information about pituitary surgery before her operation, she is going into surgery knowing that she is not alone and there is a whole family of acromegaly patients supporting her! I'm so happy that I had a chance to sit and talk with Bella during and after the conference. She has an amazing upbeat attitude, and I just learned via the Acromegaly Facebook Group that she is blogging her acromegaly journey! Check it out! She already has several posts up even though she just started it this month!
Reading her journey reminds me of my own experience with diagnosis and surgery, now over 10 years ago! I remember how writing on a blog not only helped my loved ones understand what I was going through, but it also helped me sort out my inner thoughts and feelings. Make sure to go over to Bella's blog, read her story, and leave her supportive comments!