I had the opportunity to attend CancerCon in Denver this April. Tamika was a speaker at two sessions, which I hear were amazing. I was able to select which sessions I wanted to attend so that I could get the most from the experience. I find myself always being surprised that I still find things I need when I attend different cancer organization events. CancerCon was no different.
There are a few highlights which stand out in my mind.
1 - There was a nice lounge setup with comfortable chairs and adult coloring stations for if you just needed a break, a quiet place to chat, or a mental recharge from sessions. There were early morning events for people who wanted to get up, I head out to a walk sponsored by the Ulman Cancer Fund and a morning of yoga sponsored by First Descents.
2 - I was able to be in a session, in a room, full of individuals going through similar experiences as myself. It was the metastatic, advanced, chronic cancer session. I would say there were about 25 people in this session. It was the first time I had ever been in a room full of people with this similarity. It as amazing to get to talk with these people about the challenges of someone with a chronic cancer diagnosis. A cancer that isn't going away. The session ran pretty smoothly, without much to report, but it was really the people that made the difference. I left with a few new close friends who really get what I am going through. I have already used them via social media when I am in that mindset where I really just need someone to hear me and get it.
3 - The evening events were nice. The Scavenger Hunt developed by Epic Adventures was literally nothing less than Epic. I found myself with a great young adult cancer survivor and his pediatric oncology nurses. We hit the down, even in the snow, to complete the scavenger hunt. It was developed using the app Goose Chase, if you know me you can bet that I am already planning my own scavenger hunt via the app.
4 - There was a session all about talking to children about your cancer. It was great to be in that session and hear some of the great ways others talk to their child(ren) and to be able to share what we have done within my family. The speaker shared some great resources but also reinforced that I needed to move along with a project I have been procrastinating on.
5 - A final highlight was one night during our free time, I had zero intentions of going but...we headed out to Howl at the Moon. You have literally never been to a party until you have been out with a group of fellow cancer survivors and thrivers for a night on the town. We took the shuttle bus which started out with karaoke on the bus (without any music, mind you) and then walked over to Howl at the Moon. There was some snow around so there might have been a snowball or two. We got inside to the warmth and it was amazing. The dueling pianos played This is Our Fight Song and brought all the CancerCon people up on the stage. There we stayed the rest of the night. It was an amazing night out and experience, I am glad I stayed up and headed out with these amazing people.
The final day wrapped up with more sessions and a great closing ceremony. I am already making plans with friends to attend next year. Maybe I will even apply to be a speaker?