Yesterday, Ian and I headed into London to attend the Suffering The Silence symposium. I wrote a post about #SufferingTheSilence last month and was thrilled to find that the founders, Allie Cashel and Erica Lupinacci were coming to the UK to raise awareness of Lyme Disease and other chronic illnesses.
We got a train and taxi to the Gresham Centre, a lovely church close to St Paul's Cathedral. When we arrived, Allie and Erica welcomed everyone and introduced Tom and Andrew who talked about their experience living with chronic illness. Tom suffers from Crohn's disease which is something I know quite a lot about as my mum has ulcerative colitis and they fall under the umbrella of inflammatory bowel disease. Andrew spoke about his journey on getting diagnosed with Lyme and the various other conditions that he was told he had before a definitive diagnosis was determined.
Afterwards, Elaine Griffin discussed her 25 year battle of getting diagnosed with Lyme. She spoke about the importance of creativity and how music helps her manage her own healing. Then she played guitar and sang a song, it was awesome.
After lunch Allie gave a reading from her book, Suffering the Silence: Chronic Lyme Disease in an Age of Denial. It was really moving and although I don't have Lyme, there was a lot of emotions she went through that I also experienced.
Allie then introduced Dr Armin Schwarzbach who discussed the diagnosis of Lyme and the various signs to look out for.
Finally, Dr Jean Monro talked about the work she is doing in the UK and the treatment of Lyme.
The floor was opened up for questions after each topic and I learnt a lot about Lyme disease; I didn't really know too much about it before yesterday so it was a really interesting conference.
Oh, and Elaine sang another song that was absolutely beautiful.
Everyone that attended was given a free copy of Allie's book and she signed mine.
It was a really informative, empowering day and I'm glad I finally got to meet Allie, after we'd been chatting on Twitter. I wish her the best of luck with her book and definitely go and check out the website for more information.