The next day we woke, ate breakfast, and went to our morning general session (that includes everyone in the conference) and then off to our breakout sessions. This was our first day of breakout sessions, and Klay and I were in different sessions all day—meaning we had none together that day.
Klay went to two that were for caregivers only, and I went to two for cancer patients and survivors.
Normally, I’m a social, talk to everyone and anyone type of gal, but I was in so much pain that morning and nights before–especially from the giant hump on my neck—I wasn’t exactly in a peppy mood.
I couldn’t keep my head up walking around the conference. I felt like I had absolutely NO neck muscles to support my head. And I looked ridiculous.
My head would automatically fall forward and down (like I’m looking more at the floor than straight ahead of me). My head was being forced out and away from my body so I resembled a female version of the humpback of Notre Dome… NOT EFFING JOKING.
I literally felt like I had a 250 lb person sitting on my shoulders and pushing forward on my head. It was excruciating.
And of course, that wasn’t the only thing that was wrong. My eyes were KILLING ME.
They were extremely blurry, dry, and annoying. I’d get the urge to close my eyes because it was painful leaving them open during the breakout sessions and then I’d start to doze off from lack of sleep.
The sessions were interesting, but my body just wanted to rest and sleep the days away. I just felt absolutely miserable and nothing was making it better.
And to top it all of in my first two sessions, I didn’t answer a single question or share my story to the group.
Obviously, because I wasn’t feeling well, but another reason was that I had a woman who clearly wanted to have her opinions, views, story, experience out in the open. (And let me just say it was some unnecessary information about what she does for a living and her mom doesn’t talk to her because of it… and very graphic details) Can you guess her occupation?
No one could really contribute besides her; she just kind of railroaded the whole agenda for the session—and before you knew it the class was over. Unfortunately, I think they were too short, but that’s just me…
I honestly felt that was the time I could have met people and made some cancer buds (by sharing my story or making an effort to contribute to the conversation and their stories). So that was a bit discouraging…
I was so tired and could barely form basic sentences, not to mention the obscene over-sharer (who by the way was in 3 of my 4 breakout sessions, so it should come to no surprise that I couldn’t muster up the strength to try.
Talk about being kicked when you’re down. I went to this event needing some serious insight about my life and its purpose–some signs that there is a future beyond this and beyond GVHD; I needed to know others were going through things like me, and I needed some positive motivation.
And, yet, there I was at CancerCon—an event I’ve eagerly waited for—feeling like shit, looking like shit, practically feeling blind, barely look up because of the humpback sitch, knowing I look about 6 months pregnant waddling around, and so depressed and frustrated about my appearance and the pain I’m in and I know I’m failing to make something of this trip.
This wasn’t exactly what I was going for when I planned on attending in January.
I’m sure others could see and sense, I wasn’t exactly the most appealing person to talk to—it looked like I was miserable because I was miserable.
My frustration throughout the day continued. I was in so much pain, I didn’t want to walk, talk, or do anything.
Klay and I went to have a quick lunch before the session at the end of the day and planned to mingle with exhibitors afterward.
We walked around and chatted with people from a variety of organizations as they offered of bags and bags of free swag and information about what their organization does and how to get involved.
There were a lot of incredible people doing some pretty cool things with cancer patients, survivors, and finding ways to advocate and connect with people affected by this disease.
Meanwhile, I managed to make my way to the massage station (where therapists were giving free chair massages for conference attendees). I was definitely going to take advantage of this opportunity!
The therapist saw my face and could tell how much pain I was in and even though she was waiting for her next client to show, she offered her chair to me.
She couldn’t believe how bad my shoulder, neck, and back were. She told me I need to get massages at least 2-3 times a week, and it’s not like she was trying to get my money, either ya’ll. She lives in Denver and knew I was from Texas. But she said it’s really really really bad.