It started out as a teaser, as all good plots do.
On June 28th, I received an email that read:
"We are working on an exciting event involving Canadian arthritis bloggers that will take place in Toronto this August. We hope to extend an official invite to you once all the details are confirmed, and in the meantime, would like to gauge your interest and availability."
Oh, how I love a mystery! Of course, I was intrigued and interested. Then, on July 15th, the plot was revealed:
"The Living ARTHfully [with Arthritis] event will provide a forum to spark relationships, learn tips and information and discuss how to boost the online dialogue about arthritis.
In appreciation of your efforts in sharing your personal journey and important information around arthritis, on behalf of Janssen, Inc., we would like to extend this invite to you and hope you can join us.
When: Friday, August 15, 2014 from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto
The “Canvas” of the Event:
- Have your say in the conversation on using well-designed social media tools to inform people about health.
- One of Canada’s top rheumatologists will discuss new research and treatment.
- Learn about social media trends, and how to maximize engagement through online channels.
- Discuss how online tools can help increase awareness of arthritis."
I am quite impressed with the title of this event, particularly since it feeds my love of puns, which I mention on my other blog, A Rheumful of Tips.
I was unaware of the importance of doing what you love on a regular basis. Swimming, another one of my loves, has seen me through all of my years of RA. It was a natural extension to create a presentation entitled "Swimming Through Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis", in which I share some key principles about staying afloat, even in choppy water. Principles that help you address and undress your stress - in other words, help you live "ARTHfully".
A chronic illness, or even an acute one, can puncture, deflate, derail or destroy your ability to live well. Thirty-six years of living with rheumatoid arthritis has taught me that you can live well, despite a chronic illness. A large part of that learning has come in the last eight to nine years, when I delved into the study of stress, as opposed to being stressed - and thinking there was nothing I could do about it.
When stressed, the first thing people often stop doing is the very thing that allows them to address and undress their stress. Make it a priority to do what you love, even if only for five minutes at a time. Then, notice how you feel. Subtle changes do count. Subtle changes add up!
The #LivingARTHfully event was another way to encourage, inspire and invite action - a way to improve the curriculum of life with a chronic illness.
So, the travel arrangements were made, my bags were packed and off I jetted to Toronto, Ontario where we were treated like a top-billed cast. (Stay tuned for #LivingARTHfully: The Cast - Part 2.)
I'd like to thank the fabulous team at the GCI Group for their attention to detail, which helped to eliminate any travel-related worries that could have arisen.