I attended #HealtheVoices18 and I’m Still Amazed

I Attended HealtheVoices18 and I’m Still Amazed

Disclaimer: “Janssen covered my travel expenses to attend #HealtheVoices18. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.”

I applied to HealtheVoices18 by making a video answering a few questions on why I would be a good fit;  I have the video saved and I still can’t believe they picked ME! This was their fourth year of holding the HealtheVoices Conference, where they bring all kinds of patient advocates together by “Growing Stronger Together”.

 

I had to talk to all my doctors to make sure I was okay to travel, per my family.  My doctors all agreed it would be fine for me to travel.  Janssen had everything thought of in advance for the attendees, blankets, ice packs, couches, comfy chairs and we had been informed where there were pharmacies, urgent care and nearby hospitals.  I explained to my husband that I would have a wheelchair set up upon my arrival in both directions to help me in the airport since I’d be travelling alone.  I explained that he could go as my companion caregiver.  He thought he’d be bored but now I know he would have loved it, meeting other caregivers and seeing the amazing speakers.

 

There were several things I needed to take care of before I went away for four days.  I wanted to travel carry-on luggage only, I needed some clothes because I’ve lost so much weight that even my newer clothes were too big.  I wasn’t sure I’d be able to accomplish a carry-on only but I did it!  I bought three t-shirts, two pairs of jeans, a pair of jean shorts and an anorak jacket.  I lost my jacket in our flood so I wanted to make sure I found one that I loved.  The dress for the conference was to be comfortable.

 

 

HealtheVoices took care of everything!  I was able to pick when I wanted to fly to Chicago and then what time I wanted to fly back home.  I arranged with the airline a wheelchair through the airport and when I arrived in Chicago and there was a porter waiting as I got off the plane.  Because I was carry-on only, we went to the meetup location, I spotted the HealtheVoices sign.  I was then ushered into a car.  I felt like a celebrity sitting in the back of the car being driven to the hotel all alone.  The hotel was a 40-minute drive from O’Hare airport, check in was a breeze and my room request of a high floor was awesome.  The view of the Chicago River was beautiful as was the hotel room.

 

 

I went to registration and received my welcome package.  I went down to the restaurant and got myself some lunch and a glass of wine.  I had received an email that there would be a Canadian meet up at 7 pm down in the bar.  The Canadian meetup was a great way for the Canadian’s to get to know each other.  This, the fourth HealtheVoices Conference, had the most Canadians ever.  Most years there were only two Canadian attendees.  This year we were eight strong.  I never even thought to get a group photo because I was in awe of all the amazing advocates and the wide-ranging health issues we advocate for.

 

 

The actual conference was Friday, Saturday and Sunday, check out the agenda here.  There were even various seating options during the sessions with sofas and side chairs and they came in handy.  They had a wide variety of food for all of the meals and it was all yummy.  I’m amazed at how everything had been thought of for the Patient Advocate attendees from snacks, drinks, blankets, a quiet room, a social room, heating pads, and ice packs.  Sending a great big thanks to the Janssen team at the conference.  On Friday, I started to get dizzy and was super nauseous.  The Janssen team members recognized that I wasn’t right, they brought me into the quiet room and took care of me.   I was able to get some food and ginger ale into my body and join in on the afternoon sessions. Thank you Janssen Team!  You are amazing.

 

 

Sadly, the only thing I missed was the open mic night.  I went to my room and went to bed early.  Having the Patient Advocates involved in the whole weekend, talking, advocating, meeting fellow chronic illness warriors and others with completely different diseases was the right amount of balance.  I met so many amazing people who I bonded with, some had my illnesses and others did not.  One thing we all have in common is our mental health.  It’s common across all illnesses and it’s something that we all need to keep vigilant of.  The theme was, “Growing Stronger Together”.  I know I came away feeling stronger, a sense of togetherness with my new friends and I feel I’ve grown as a Patient Advocate.  I learned so much over the weekend and I’m so inspired by everyone and everything I learned. I spoke out loud about my depression, anxiety and suicide attempt.  I also posted videos on my social media for the first time that weekend.  This is the first real blog I’ve felt like writing because I’d been so wrapped up in everything that my illnesses brought to my life.  I wasn’t living and feel like I found my way back to who I really am. and I am more than my illnesses!.

 

I’m so thankful that Janssen picked me to attend HealtheVoices18.  Thank you for all the swag from the conference sponsors.  The most important part of the weekend was meeting friends, making new friends and knowing I’m not alone on my journey that we’d already Grown Stronger Together!

If you want to see what HealtheVoices was about, they go check it out, https://www.healthevoices.com/virtual-experience.html 

 

 

 

Thank you, HealtheVoices, Janssen and thanks for reading, journey with me…mini2z

 

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Bag and Wander – Mix and Mingle

I purchased this subscription box and this review is my own opinion.  I don’t receive any compensation for any links that you click on!

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This is my fourth Bag and Wander subscription box and they just keep getting better.  I signed up for a 3 month just to see how I liked it and then I made sure my subscription was going to be automatically renewed and yeah it was.  I’m hoping they have some sales on Black Friday / Cyber Monday.   As you can see it’s a nicely curated box.  The theme was Mix and Mingle and it’s right on!  I paid $80.99 US for the three month subscription and I have it shipped to my mailbox in Michigan.   So my monthly cost is $27.00.   The $4.95 shipping is included in the plans.  If you spend $29.99 in the store you also get free shipping in the US.

 

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Cutting Board by Jonathan Alden
It looks like the cutting boards were made just for Bag and Wander as I can’t find anything exactly like it on the Jonathan Alden site. It’s a nice piece for cutting the small stuff like lemons and limes. It’s nice and thick too.  The photos don’t do this Cutting Board justice.   Retail value is $15.00

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Stonewell KitchenArtichoke and Spinach Dip Mix $4.00

This happens to be a favourite in our house but we’ve only had it at restaurants so it’ll be nice to have one evening maybe with vodka drinks!

Everyone will love our Artichoke Spinach Dip Mix … there’s something about the blend of spinach and artichokes that makes this classic appetizer a crowd favorite. Try making it in a small oven-proof dish, top with a little Parmesan cheese and heat it under the broiler. Serve this Artichoke Spinach Dip Mix with slices of a crusty baguette — incredible!

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Scout BooksThe Vodka Hour

I knew with the theme of mix and mingle there would be something to do with alcohol and this is a really handy small book to set aside.  Scout Books has a ton of other books that I’d like to get like the Rum one sounds good and the Vodka one is also sold in a Three Pack with Rum and Gin.  I added the other three pack with Whiskey, Tequila and Brandy to my Elfster wishlist!

With a mix of fresh twists on classics and unique modern concoctions, The Cocktail Hour: Vodka showcases over two dozen drink recipes from some of today’s best bartenders. From easy-to-make Infusions to elegant Martinis like the Guinevere, this pocket-sized volume is great for novices and seasoned mixologists alike!

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Khristian A. Howell 5-Pack of Cheers Coasters $10

I think these were made exclusively for Bag and Wander because the site only sells coaster in pack of 10 and they are $16.  I bookmarked the site and several items that I want.  I also noticed that if you sign up for her mailing list you can get a 15% discount.

Double sided coasters with Cheers on one side and black with gold sparkle on the other. They are nice and thick and well made. I’ve already gone to Etsy and favored her shop and a few items. She makes trays, pillows, phone cases, cards to name a few of the other items in the shop.

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Cooper & KraftFalling Leaves 4 oz Candle $7.00

I’m not a big candle person but it has a nice scent to it.  I like that once complete you can reuse the container.  They have 2 oz, 4 oz, melts, wholesale in tons of scents so check them out.  I really love small artisans.

★ About Our Products ★
All of our candles and melts are made using natural soy wax, lead-free cotton wicks, phthalate free fragrance oils and no dyes. Our tins are made of seamless aluminum and once the candle has been burned, they can be easily cleaned with soap and warm water and can be recycled or reused.

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Nesta Home Pineapple Dish Towel $15

I love this towel!  I’m not a pineapple person or gold person but I love this towel.  It’s thick, I love the sparkle and it will look beautiful in my kitchen! Oh and she has pillows and art and so much more including some cute Rudolf stuff in the shop.

++ Symbolic of Hospitality and Luxury, these dish towels are screenprinted with a modern, graphic pineapple ++
Listing is for one towel. — Metallic Gold or Silver ink on a white flour sack towel.

All in all, I came up with a total of $56.00 total value of the items in this month’s Bag and Wander Mix and Mingle November box.  Seriously, you have to to try this box.  I love everything I’ve received and everything is so well curated.  Check them out at Bag and Wander

I hope you enjoyed my review of Bag and Wander.

Journey with me … mini2z

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20 Years Together

11351245_858462764244030_4192423986454328795_n20 years ago today we had arrived in Jamaica the night before.  We arrived late at the resort and I guess our wedding planner was running around frantically trying to find us.  We were is the group room that they were explaining all the awesomeness of the resort.  We were at the Sandals Dunns River (now some other hotel) in Ocho Rios and later we would find it was actually in St. Ann.

Well we sat with the planner and my dream of the gazebo on the waterfall in the pool wedding was dashed due to wind.  We picked the garden.  I was shown a billion flowers and cakes.  We quickly picked a traditional rum cake and I said I wanted bright tropical flowers.  The minister would meet us the next morning after hubby went into town to get a tux.  His tux adventure sounds like something out of a movie!  Jimmy his driver knew everyone, they stopped in a puddle for a car wash, more animals were barely missed getting hit on the drive.  Tux was achieved after a while as he was one of the tallest people to ever get a tux and he’s only six feet!

Minister met us in our room, made us guess his age.  We both thought 50’s but nope he was 86 years young.  Our witnesses were Camile and Johan from the resort.  We had wanted the two couples we met on the but but we couldn’t find them.

I tripped walking up the path to the flowered arch and a simple sweet ceremony I married my best friend.  We went over to sign the wedding certificate and I found out I was listed as a SPINSTER!  I was 25!  I guess because I was over 18 I was a spinster.  To this day, my hubby says he saved me from spinsterhood.

On our way to get beach photos we found our friends and told them we were getting changed and would join them in the pool for drinks right after.  Pool after is where we went!

So 20 years ago I married my best friend, father of my children and greatest champion.

I love you Gerry always and forever!

Love me

I hope you enjoyed my journey of my wedding memories.

mini2z

©mini2z
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