Yesterday I attended my first breast cancer conference – hosted by Bay Area Cancer Connections. They had several really good speakers. I tweeted the sessions I attended (Storify embedded below).
First I should begin by saying it was a good conference. I learned a few things, the venue was great, the food was great, and some of the displays were great (Thanks Lynnette at MyBCTeam for the Burt’s Bees essentials kit!).
In reflecting on the conference, there are two things that disappointed me. It lacked opportunities for making social connections and I left the conference emotionally drained.
It was not that you couldn’t make social connections, just that it there were not facilitated opportunities for connections. Given the keynote talked about the importance of support groups, it might have been nice to somehow have the option of support groups as a break out session option. If I had the opportunity to share my experience in a small group (like the weekly support group which was cancelled because of the conference), it would have gone a long way to address the emotional draining issue – and I would have had a more facilitated opportunity to meet new people.
Unfortunately, I left the conference in a negative emotional state (this was also the case for the person who gave me a ride home). I left feeling like I didn’t want to deal with this cancer thing anymore – that I was sick of it. Of course, I just spent all day talking about cancer – but in part this feeling was because of the structure of the conference. The conference did not end on an uplifting note – which I think would be something to consider. I think that if the conference ended with the survivor talk which used a lot of humor, then we would have all left the conference having ended the day laughing. It would have made for a better way to close off a pretty intense day.
So overall, it was a good conference. I’m glad I went.