Bab's Blog

It's just me, in words.

When we get in the way of our own success. . . May 21, 2012

Filed under: Cancer,Diabetes — babscampbell @ 11:15 am
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We attended an event this week at Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center, which had the potential of being AMAZING.  Unfortunately, one person got in the way of her own success and it really detracted from the event.

Before I get going here. . I want to add that all the volunteers, servers and staff were FABULOUS!  They were gracious and warm.  I was never told directions when asking where to find the restroom, the elevator or the event, I was always taken and shown by a smiling, interactive person.  Kudos on choosing such wonderful personnel to work your event!

And. . .Let me say:
I’ve had the privilege of planning large-scaled events for work and other causes, so I will consider myself a bit of a specialist on the subject.  I’ve hosted as many as 250, and as few as 5.  I’ve been involved with differing types of events as well: sit-down breakfasts, buffets, evening cocktails, customers, board members, the CEO of a VERY large organization coming to  town to greet his troops on the ground.  I feel that each event was a success, as the response has always been favorable.

So, “Lady in the Bright White Suit”, here’s where I think you got in the way. . .and I’ll turn the spotlight on me at the end.

First of all, you only wear a blinding white suit to an event like this if you want to be seen and stand-out.  I appreciate the fact that you were “in charge” here, but whenever I’ve been “in charge” I try to blend into the crowd and bring the speakers to the fore-front.  I want each of my guests to feel that THEY are the most important person attending. . .THEY are the reason I threw this party.  If you wanted the guests to know you were in charge and able to answer questions, you should’ve been wearing the same shirt as your staff so we would know you were approachable.

You were ill-prepared.  Rather than talking about yourself, your church, your pastor and his wife, etc.  I would’ve liked to have more time hearing about the speakers, their backgrounds and their experiences.  You had a moderator present. . step back and let her moderate.  You didn’t even have the forethought to learn about HER accomplishments prior to introducing her.  AND, BTW. . LADA Diabetes stands for Latent-Autoimmune-Diabetes of an Adult.  Not “Ladened Auto. .uh. .latered. .uh, diabetes.”  This was so important to me, because it’s MY diagnosis too.  If you’re going to throw a party for a specific group of people, learn their lingo.

I know your church was sponsoring this event, however, the volunteers and church members present should’ve been sitting near the back of the room, rather than at the front three tables.  Most of them didn’t even have diabetes!  All of the PWDs (people with diabetes), asking questions were sitting in the back of the room and either had a hard time hearing or being heard when asking a question.

Even I know. . if you’re going to serve a buffet lunch during an event, open the buffet earlier so people are finished asking questions about the food and being served PRIOR to having your speakers begin.  One of the speakers, from whom I REALLY wanted to hear, was having to speak over the serving line conversations the entire tim. PWDs will always need to have conversations with servers regarding the food being placed on their plates.  We shouldn’t have to choose whether we’re listening to a speaker (the reason for our attending in the first place) or the server letting us know the ingredients in the soup.

Speaking of being able to hear. . .
It is SO VERY DISTRACTING for you to stand in the MIDDLE of the room gesturing to the speakers that you think they should speak with more gusto.  Seriously, you wandered all over the room as if you were an aerobics instructor, making all kinds of motions and mouthing instructions to your staff, who obviously had no idea what you were doing. Next time, if the sound quality is such a factor to the presentation, test the microphones prior to the event, then test them again, and maybe one more time.   If you want your guests to have a good time, be as invisible as possible .  .that’s always been my M.O.

Allow enough time for Q&A
I would like to add here that if you’d not spent as much time talking about yourself, your church and the pet names you have your Pastor’s wife, there may have been more time for the wonderful questions your audience had been asking.

These events need to ALWAYS be focused on your audience.  You had some wonderful, kind, grateful guests there.  They had fantastic questions.  Each one I interacted with stated that they were really looking forward to learning from the speakers.  I hope they didn’t go home feeling cheated.

I have attended a diabetes event at Samuel U Rodgers Health Center in 2009, just after diagnosis.  That event was warm, inviting and well-run.  Whomever planned that event, should be left in charge, because I felt that the focus was on diabetes, patient self-management of their disease, etc.

Why does all this matter anyways?  I mean, it was a free event, free food and time to get together with other PWDs to learn some new things.  Of course, I have thought about this ever since I attended and have come to the conclusion that I oftentimes get in the way of my own success too.

I wear the “flashy white suit” of wanting to be noticed on occasion.  Who doesn’t?  I am also a Christian and try to remember the first shall be last.  My goal is to always elevate others before me, but, I’m human and will admit that I like being noticed too.  There is a little bit of green streak that runs through me when I hear of cool trips others are taking and invitations to attend pharma events or other D-related conferences.   I’m so happy for them, but, I just wish I were able to go to.  Who doesn’t want to be included in the fun, right?

Sometimes I’m ill-prepared to face the challenges life has thrown at me.  I can choose to remain that way, or I can choose to learn all I can, every day, to be ready to fight, to help or to teach.  If I’m going to present information regarding a medical condition (or two), even with the disclaimer that I’m not a medical professional, I need to make sure my information is well-researched and thought through.  Anytime I speak, write or have an opinion, I want to be prepared.

There are times in which I have mis-placed people in my life.  I have made some more important than they probably should’ve been and discounted others who really needed to be “sitting at the front tables.”  A common example of what I’m trying to say here is. . there are times when work seems to take precedence over family.  We may be working on a volunteer project that takes more time than it should and our kids feel ignored.  It’s important to know who is really important to you and let them know that by seating them up close to you.

Sometimes I “serve lunch while someone is talking.” The people we care about should never be part of a multi-tasking exercise. There are times when we need to stop, look someone in the eye and hear what they’re saying to us.  How many times have I been with someone and distracted by my phone, my email, my text messages, pinterest, facebook or twitter.  I want to give people the attention they deserve.  Sometimes, they can change your life!

I don’t want to stand around directing people with motions and lip service.  I want to be prepared enough to make sure everyone can be heard, prior to giving them the floor.  They deserve to be heard and I need to step out of the way and not distract from their message.

I need to remember to stop talking about what I think is important and learn what is important to my audience, whether that audience is the Diabetes Online Community (DOC), my family, my church, my neighbors or a stranger that lands on my blog.

The reason I write this blog, is to share my experience and let others know they are not alone.  I try to share information that has been helpful for my diabetes and cancer treatments.  I hope you’re able to hear my heart as you read my words.  If not, I give you permission to call me out.  Just address your comments to “The Lady in the Bright White Suit.”

Be deliberate about getting out of the way. . .


Posting Palooza October 11, 2011

Filed under: Diabetes — babscampbell @ 5:46 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Alot has been written about “SimonPalooza” over the past few days and those, not attending, are apparently either thrilled to read about it, or completely irritated by it.  I wanted to chip in my two-cents worth.

A few months ago, I started seeing postings on twitter about a D-meetup in KC.  I live just outside of KC and whenever I hear of a D-meetup, I’m inviting myself along.  If you don’t want me there, you’ll have to be brutally honest and tell me so.  My take is. . whenever I can meet up with other PWD, share stories, encouragement, support. . I’m going to.  I had just started following @STroyCrow aka: Simon, on Twitter and while I really enjoyed conversing with him, I didn’t know him as well as others did.  That really didn’t matter to me.   The important thing to me?  30 PWD and their loved ones were coming to KC and I wanted to be a part of that.  I want to meet the people who have mentioned me in their blog posts, encouraged me through the toughest year of my life and have allowed me to share a bit of myself with them over the past 2 years.

I’d been looking forward to this weekend for MONTHS.  When suddenly, plans changed for me and I was hospitalized.  As my readers know, I recently underwent surgery; double-mastectomy, left lymph node dissection, right sentinal node mapping and removal, insertion of alloderm and tissue expanders, and removal of a port-a-cath.  On Monday, I spent the night in the emergency room with an unknown infection brewing somewhere in my body.  By Wednesday, it was apparent it was in my right breast and I had immediate surgery to remove the tissue expander and alloderm on the right side.  They would try to grow cultures of the infection to determine the correct antibiotic to use to battle it.  However, nothing was growing, due to the antibiotics I’d received IV in the emergency room.  My weekend plans were slowly slipping away.

Friday night, the party went on as planned at the Collins’ home and I was stuck in Room 412, knowing that all those DOC friends of mine were having a great time.  I was so happy they all kept tweeting!  I couldn’t be there, but I sure felt part of the party by following the twitter feed.  Pictures were being posted, funny statements were shared. . I was still part of the action.  I sat in my hospital room, giggling, and tearing up, and so grateful that social media let’s us be in so many places at the same time.  Later that night, I was thrilled to see a post asking if 10am was a good time to meet to go see @babssoup.  HEY, THAT’S ME!

I expected a few people to show up on Saturday morning, but just as the DOC does everything. . they ALL came.  They ALL CAME together.  What an amazing thing to see 25 people streaming through the halls of Menorah Med Center, all headed to MY room.  Not because they had to or were specifically invited. . . but because they knew I needed it and they gave of themselves, their encouragement, hugs, support, cheering, laughter. . . everything they have they share. As always.

My Dr. came in with the news that the infection had been identified and an antibiotic regimen had been determined and the room erupted in cheers.  The Dr. wasn’t sure he wanted to deliver news to a crowd. . but he was soon feeling like the hero of the day as he announced I could go home and join the party. . . finally.

It reminded me of when Kelly Kunik had her horrible experience with her vision and everyone added an eye patch to their profile pictures.  I’ve never met K2 in person, but I was so excited to be a part of something that made her laugh, let her know we are all praying and fighting for her.  This time it was my turn and I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that one day in which I felt like it was Babsapalooza!

I was finally released from the hospital, came home for a nap and then jumped in to the festivities with wild abandon.  We met for the big BBQ dinner at the Plaza. We stayed at the hotel that night and didn’t get to our room until 1am. (probably a bit too late for a surgical patient) We all met for breakfast the next day and had a great time taping our “You can do this” piece, saying our good-byes and really sharing what each of means to each other.  All of these people inspire me every day.  They are the “rock stars” I admire and look up to.  And some of them shared that I have inspired them . . and I am in total disbelief that I have done so.  But, why not? I’ve learned from the best.  You love, encourage, support, share “lowering BG” vibes with each other, share inspirational thoughts, important scripture verses, all that you are. . you lay it out there and it will be given back to you.

So Simon, my dear friend, thank you.  Thank you for making this weekend possible.  Thank you for working so hard, so many hours and saving all you could to come to America to meet those people who have had an impact on you.  Thank you for sharing your feelings for me and the impact my journey has had on you.  Now, I know you and adore you as much as all these other DOC’ers.  We are related you know. . children of the king.  So brother, I love you and hope the rest of your visit is amazing.  I hope you are showered with love in NYC and you take all that home with you and spread it around.  Until we see you again in 2013. . .we’ll be sending life and love your way via Twitter.

The one thought I leave with is this:
Scott Johnson made a great point this weekend; you can either be a fountain or a drain.  You can either shower others with love or suck the life right out them.  I choose to be a fountain.  Watch out!  You might just get drenched!

Thanks again to all of you for visiting us here in KC!  You’re welcome anytime.