This entry was written by Julie Vosburg, attendee of many of LBBC’s annual conferences:
In November, I will have my 3-year anniversary of LIVING with stage IV metastatic breast cancer. After my diagnosis I spent six weeks curled up in a cocoon digesting what lied ahead. I live in a small community which does not offer many support groups. I found myself searching the internet. I found online support groups, some specifically for metastatic.
Thankfully, I found LBBC. I attended my first LBBC conference in April of 2008. I was asked to volunteer as a greeter. I watched as many woman came through the doors, some fearful as I was at first and others who had hugs for friends who they had met at other conferences. Having felt so alone even in a family filled with love, no one could know what I was feeling — the fear and unknown. Being at the conference with a few hundred women from almost every state, including a few men, was unbelievable. I wasn’t alone anymore!
There was a message board where woman left written messages for others they had “met” at online support groups. The friendships that come from “meeting” online and the reality of having the opportunity to meet in person is valuable for us. It means so much to find someone who feels what we are feeling and deals with the challenges we go through.
I met a woman at LBBC’s spring 2009 conference and we became fast friends. Sue and I first met through an online support group and got to meet at the conference. If it was not for the conference, I may have never had the opportunity to meet her in person. We meet for dinner every few months when I go to Philly for treatment. We email each other and speak on the phone regularly. We have found that we have a lot in common other than our diagnosis of stage IV. Our children both got married within the last year, something we both were fearful we might never get to see. There was almost a sense of relief knowing that others are dealing with the same daily concerns.
There are many educational segments offered at the conference. The “Dealing With Bone Pain” workshop was where I learned how another woman dealt with the debilitating bone pain that I too was experiencing. She talked to me about how her treatment helped control her pain. I discussed her treatment with my doctor and he placed me on the same treatment. It if wasn’t for this woman, I may have never learned of this treatment.
Hopefully, if you’re reading this, you’ll be attending the LBBC’s annual fall conference, News You Can Use: Breast Cancer Updates for Living Well on November 13th. I haven’t missed a conference since I attended my first one in April of 2008. You will have the opportunity to meet old friends as well as meet many new friends, network, have lunch, educate yourself on new and upcoming treatments, and much more.
If you want to say hello, just look for Julie from Pa. Hope to see you there!
To register or learn more about LBBC’s conference on November 13, 2010, click here. The conference will feature keynote speaker, Marisa Weiss, MD. Fee waivers will be available up until the day of the conference. Let us know about your experiences at our past conferences and what your expectations are for this year’s fall conference! Comment here or on our facebook page.