Friday, February 1, 2013

Food Allergy Princess (..for a few days!)

It was difficult for me but I was able to keep a secret. It nearly killed me but somehow, I survived and now that I can share it.

If you follow my Facebook page, you know that I am always true to my word. I do not bend to make sure all of my information is politically correct and I am always honest in what I say because (I feel) this is truly how people will learn and understand. But holding back a secret was not really bending...maybe it was more like saving the best for last.

I had the honor of being invited by Lauren Kashtan of Mylan Specialty to a blogger summit in New York City. This was invitation only and it was very hush-hush so until I got there, I didn't know who else would be there, why we were there or where I would fit into everything. My travel arrangements were handled by Jennifer and Suzanne from Chandler  Chicco Agency and I was a guest at The Strand Hotel. I have to say, I felt like a Food Allergy Princess for those few days and I am beyond appreciative for the entire experience.

So what happened and who was there? Goodness! First and foremost, let me get all of the silly, star-struck sappy stuff out of the way! I know this sounds like I am 13 and at a rock concert but, well, how often do you meet not only one of your favorite stars but several all at once? And, not only did I meet them, I had dinner, conversations and discussed topics that were dear to my heart. And what's even way cooler is that some of the people that I met had the same reaction as I did, which made me realize that what I am doing is absolutely, positively the right thing for me to continue to do. We all met for dinner and who was at the table? Sloane Miller, Dr. Ruchi Gupta, Cybele Pascal, Kelly Rudnicki and about 14 other wonderful food allergy bloggers. (For the complete list, please click here.) What was funny to watch were the introductions. Each of us said our name, what our blog was and then you would hear "Oh, I know you!!" What was even better was that all of these people were just so laid back, open to sharing and it felt as if I had met up with my old high school friends. We exchanged food allergy stories, how we began doing what we were doing and we even closed the rooftop area with the awesome view of the Empire State Building right there with us.

What did I learn? I learned that when you ask the universe for help, it presents answers to guide you to the next step. Corny, yes, way corny and hokey but this is how I feel. I began this year with the resolution and thought that what I really need to learn is to do more but how? How can I begin to go beyond what I have accomplished to help others? This was my answer in many ways. I will admit, I am not even remotely as tech and media savvy as I need to be. I was overjoyed when one of the speakers, Ritesh Patel gave us a very specific list of what we needed to do to get our information out and what avenues generally worked best. This created a newer and bigger to do list for me but it was a list full of hope and energy.

I also learned that Mylan and it's associates are very dedicated to improving their studies to get the importance of Epipen usage out to everyone who desperately needs it. They expressed that many of their studies often show that a majority of the allergic reactions that occur are almost always preventable as long as we stay vigilant in our preplanning skills. How can we do this? It's a simple process as explained by Sloane Miller "Identify the issue, break it down into components and tackle each one at a time." If you say you thought that's what you are doing, check yourself and see if that's true of all situations. Are you discussing and following through with your allergy plan of action with your child? Are you discussing all types of situations that may present themselves so that communication will not hinder your son or daughter from asking you important questions? Do they feel comfortable enough to ask you anything, even if it's about kissing and dating with food allergies? This is a life long process and just like learning to tie your shoe, the more you keep it as a part of your daily routine, the easier and more casual it will be.

We also had the honor of talking with Dr. Ruchi Gupta, author of "The Food Allergy Experience" and well-known for her involvement in the food allergy world. She guided us through the importance of having the right information, not just for our family but for everyone that food allergies effect. Having food allergies does not have a simple fix (well, we all know that) but having great Doctors to help you find your resources and provide the additional support that is needed is one of the biggest hurdles that needs to be met.

So what now? Well, for me, it was first back to everyday life and work because, you know, laundry and dishes seem to always be there. But more importantly, I have my sites set high for this coming year. I have some new projects in mind (my next secret!) and I returned finding myself thinking way too many things at once. I feel empowered with this new information that I have been given. I feel stronger with fresh ideas and approaches on how to increase not only my skills and knowledge but to share it with who I can as well. Life is not about who you are but what you can become and the people that take that journey with you. There is never a light at the end of the tunnel because the tunnel doesn't end- it simply leads us on our path. I am going to listen to my heart and just keep traveling ahead and I invite anyone who would like to go with me.



I would like to express my gratitude to Mylan Specialty for providing this wonderful opportunity to me, Chandler Chicco Agency for making sure that all of my travel arrangements were perfect, The Strand Hotel for delicious food and accommodations, Noel Malcolm for the photographs (minus the somewhat blurry Empire State Building, which was mine and I would not want to disgrace him with that one!) and for all of my fellow bloggers that were there with me.

I would like to mention that I was not compensated nor am I obligated in any way by anyone who sponsored this trip for me.




1 comment:

  1. Thanks to Noel Malcolm, all the professional pictures can be viewed on my Facebook page at facebook.com/124582910952585

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