at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

ACR 2012 - Day 1 Update

Continuing the tradition of the
escalator photo!
I cannot believe how quickly the ACR Annual Scientific Meeting has come upon us, yet here I sit in my hotel room in Washington, DC with Day 1 already behind us!  My adventure began yesterday at 4am, when I had to get up in order to make my 6am flight out of the Grand Rapids airport.  My wonderful husband dropped me off at the airport, I flew into Baltimore and got to DC by 9am.  Most of yesterday was spent setting up our Exhibit Booth for the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation (RPF).  We have a wonderful group of volunteers -- some local, others that have flown in from around the country -- that will be working in the exhibit booth, representing the patient point of view to all of the conference attendees.

My beautiful sunny walk this morning from my hotel
to the convention center.

Today was pretty much a whirlwind.  I am glad that I got to the convention center early enough to check out the Poster Hall before the Exhibit Hall opened.  The Poster Hall is a huge room filled with giant posters that display abstracts of the latest research and findings.  It is truly amazing to see how much rheumatology research is being done and it's overwhelming to try to take even just some of it in.  I found a few interesting posters related to RA -- a couple of interesting ones pertaining to remission criteria in RA, one looking at evaluating disease activity during pregnancy and one looking for correlations between weather and RA symptoms.  That's about as far as I got before I looked up and saw my own rheumatologist standing in the hall ahead of me!  It was great to connect with both him and another doctor from that office in a non-clinical setting.

Here we are at the RPF Exhibit Booth!
We met with many wonderful people at the exhibit booth today, all interested in learning about the RPF and what we are doing.  It's interesting to watch people's reactions, too, when we tell them that everyone working in the booth is a rheumatoid patient.  The most common response: "You don't look like a patient!"  So my question is this: What does a rheumatoid patient look like?  I try to take it as a compliment, but we also need to make people aware that that's one of our challenges -- rheumatoid disease is largely an invisible illness.

Tweet up! And this was before everybody
had arrived!
After the Exhibit Hall closed, we had our annual Tweetup!  It was a fabulous time with a great turnout!  I don't think you could find a better group of intelligent, kind and committed people.  It was wonderful to meet new people, reconnect with those I met at ACR last year, and meet some Twitter friends in person for the first time.  You all are truly amazing.  It's always fun to see the conversations that transpire when we're not limited to 140 characters!

Tomorrow will be another crazy day at the Exhibit Hall, and I'm hoping to be able to attend a scientific session somewhere in there, too.  It's such a privilege it is to be here and I'm hoping to soak in all I can!

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!