2010 Conference Exceeds Expectations
What can you expect from an Oley annual conference? In a nutshell, learning opportunities—formal and informal—and a chance to meet and share stories with other home parenteral and enteral (HPEN) consumers and families. The presentations offered at the conference (and there are many!) are coordinated to bring HPEN consumers and their families information on topics as diverse as basic care to the latest research and coping to pain management, while the social activities bring attendees together in easy, comfortable, fun settings.
One attendee’s story:
I started on home parenteral nutrition (HPN) about seven years ago, initially as a temporary measure to obtain bowel rest. Over the years it evolved into a more permanent form of nutrition. I discussed the pros and cons of HPN with my family and I remember feeling a little lonely, as if I were the only one in this situation.
After I’d been on HPN about two years, my aunt found out about the Oley Foundation and told me about the Web site. I started reading about all the programs Oley has to offer and the profiles of other people who live on HPN, including some who’d been on for thirty plus years! I shared this information with my wife, who was also excited, and we both decided we wanted to meet other Oley members at the annual conference. For one reason or another we were unable to attend until the 2010 conference in Saratoga Springs. This was indeed an amazing opportunity for us.
The conference was unique and multi-faceted, and it addressed the various needs of the consumers—whether the needs were emotional, physical, or medical based. Upon arriving at the conference we found the Oley members to be friendly and inviting. They made us feel very welcome.
It was an amazing opportunity to meet and interact with other people in similar circumstances. It was the first time we were able to socialize and not feel confined or restricted by my condition. In addition to the wonderful consumers, the medical faculty was truly remarkable. From their care and compassion to their expertise, it was a great opportunity to learn about the latest medical advancements in the world of HPEN.
My wife and I both felt very comfortable discussing our concerns and asking our questions to medical staff and consumers alike, as they appeared to genuinely care about our well-being and were able to relate well to our situation. The interaction between faculty and consumers appeared to be based on a partnership; consumers contributed valuably and played an active role in their care.
Upon the conclusion of the conference we felt more empowered to cope with the situation we have been dealt. It taught us what is required to balance my HPN needs while leading a normal and fulfilling lifestyle. It was truly encouraging for us to meet people who live rich and rewarding lives while dealing with similar health issues. We were able to learn many valuable tips from consumers and faculty and staff alike, and have made several life-long friends. I hope that one day soon I am able to share some of this information with other new HPEN consumers. My wife and I now understand that we are truly not alone.