L’chaim – To Lyfe!
No matter what’s going on in my life there are some things, that I will ALWAYS make time for; a Lyfebulb event is one of those things. I attended the most recent event as I was in the middle of a big move – accepting a new and exciting position ten hours away from where I currently live. Should I have been home packing boxes and sorting through closets that would make a hoarder proud? Yep, but instead I was in New York City, drink in hand, ready to dive into hors d'oeuvres and stimulating conversations.
Lyfebulb is an organization which hosts social events for anyone living with a chronic illness, cancer included, to network not only with others that are walking the same path but with top doctors and researchers in the field. These gatherings are always amazing, always uplifting, and always filled with hope. For us survivors, lifers, and thrivers it’s empowering to be with others that are navigating the same road. We learn from each other and lean on each other. We compare our experiences over cocktails, and delicious appetizers. We laugh, swap social media information, and genuinely enjoy an evening built upon events that shook us to our core. As we toast each other we also have an opportunity to interact with the professionals that treat patients like us. It’s incredible to be in a networking environment where you openly discuss side effects, symptoms and fears while wearing nice clothes and not a paper gown. I love when a group of us encircle a doctor or researcher and they seem genuinely astounded by how much we know about our illness and treatments. Frequently they’ll even remark about how well educated we are and our response is simple and consistent; if it’s how we feel then we know others must be experiencing the same things as well. We seek out our own kind and we learn what we can, accept what we cannot change and deal with the repercussions of drug therapy knowing we are not alone.
The topics up for discussion are always unique to the event and may be centered upon diet, exercise, quality of life and medical advances. The researchers, doctors, and attendees fly in from all over the world to meet in New York City, clink glasses and share ideas. We smile for pictures, have frank conversations with doctors as peers not patients, and we embrace each other long after the event was scheduled to end.
Attending a Lyfebulb function feeds my soul and brings me back to a place where I feel more in command of cancer rather than in fear of it. I walk out of those events stronger and far more knowledgeable than when I walked in. I’m often armed with new information that I can bring up at my next a doctor’s appointment or implement in my daily life. Lyfebulb is life affirming. L’chaim!