Tuesday, April 19, 2016


  I returned from #healthevoices16 Sunday evening April 17th happy to be home but already missing new friends. Janssen once again paid travel and accommodation expenses for myself and about a hundred other online health advocates attending. #amazing
   I arrived in The Windy City a little after noon on Friday April 15th. I was one of the first attendees to reach the Reneisance Hotel at 1 W. Wacker Dr. The hotel was really beautiful and as I entered the lobby I had to stop and take it all in. Walking though the door I was certain I was experiencing how Dorothy must have felt after landing in Oz. City folk might be used to expansive artistically decorated spaces but to a hick from the sticks it was mesmerizing. It took several minutes to find the front desk and a few more to get checked in. As I closed the door to my room behind me, a wave of relief washed through me. I was alone. To be honest, cities freak me out a little. In the country I am at peace. In the city there is no peace to be found.
   After a quick shower and shave I headed out to explore a block or two of the city. I have never been in close proximity to such tall buildings.
No political affiliation or endorsement. Just a really tall building.

   The hotel sits across from
Trump tower along the Chicago River. I didn't stray too far but got to look around a little bit. One thing I love ( actually the only thing ) about the city is the musicians playing outdoors at any given time of day. On this particular day a blues band was Jammin' along the waterfront across from the tower.
   The conference began at 5 p.m. with a meet and greet social hour. There were familiar faces but I couldn't put names to more than a few. Once again I was the only person representing prostate cancer. I felt a little out of place during much of this as I watched different groups of advocates interact with each other. I am quite certain that they know as little about PCa as I know about HIV, HepC or Crohn's disease, nevertheless I tried to interact and learn what I could about the other advocacies. 
  It is inspiring to be in the presence of so many advocates who work tirerlessly helping other patients navigate the torrent waters of the healthcare system. Advocacy can be a thankless job. It is largely shunned by the medical community even though advocates are experts in their prospective conditions. Occasionally bloggers will get a check from web sponsors who place ads on the blogs. In my case knowing that I have helped just one person is payment enough. I hope to inspire by example. Cancer sucks. There are no better words to say it. It is life changing and often life ending. It can destroy quality and quantity of life if we give it power to do so. Even while in solid remission it lurks in the mind whispering defeat and stealing our joy. For me it has always been the mind game that torments my soul. 
  I met a young woman battling breast cancer. Her courage inspires. I met people battling HIV trying to dispel the stigma surrounding the disease. I met young people battling Ruematoid arthritis who refuse to let the debilitating effects slow them down. These men and women who are plagued by a multitude of conditions still reach out daily to help others. My little blog pales in comparison and I am driven to follow their noble example. Please share my blog. Please follow it. Please help me to reach men who suffer from this miserable disease. Kindest regards to all who read, Todd