There is one largely missing component to the conference; patients. There are not many of us who attend. Less than a couple dozen. Coming from the world of education, where our largest conferences and conventions are heavily attended by parents...it's odd to attend something where we talk about an entire group of people without them being present and represented among the body.
I was fortunate enough to go last year with the CreakyJoints organization as their patient correspondant. (If you haven't checked out CreakkyJoints.org yet, please do).
This year, in my capacity as blogger interested in parenting and pregnancy with a rheumatic disease, I will be going and attending every session I can that aims to discuss pregnancy and lactation with rheumatic diseases.
In my capacity as a Patient Governor for the Arthritis Power study headed by CreakyJoints, I will also be attending meetings and meeting researchers that have to do with patient reported outcomes and rheumatoid arthritis.
I have lots of hats to wear while I'm there. I'll also be mommy, because my husband and daughter are coming along for the ride.
I'm hoping to learn a lot and I'm hoping to give more voice for patients; showing doctors that patients can respectfully contribute to the discussion at this annual conference.
See you on the other side, and be sure to check out my twitter feed (@SpoonlessMomma), as I will be tweeting the entire weekend under the hashtag #ACR14.