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|Newsletters: Wouldn’t Miss an Oley Conference|
Wouldn’t Miss an Oley Conference
One of the true bonuses of having Oley as a resource for me and other tube and IV feeders is the annual conference. I had attended two smaller regional conferences before, but the annual conference was both a chance to relax and an opportunity to learn. Last year we all met in sunny San Diego and it was terrific!
Due to a tumor surgery about four years ago I am 100 percent reliant on home enteral nutrition (HEN) for both nutrition and hydration. I stumbled across the Oley Foundation on a Google search and credit Oley and the mini-conference I first attended three years ago in Phoenix in helping me get my act together to deal with my challenges.
My first full summer conference was last year, and, like the mini-conference, it went far beyond my expectations. I was failing to thrive on my HEN formula and losing weight despite pumping in 4,000 calories a day. The next step was going back on home parenteral nutrition (HPN).
After discussions with both speakers and product representatives at the Oley conference, I went home with a new list of suggestions for my doctor. The suggestions resulted in a change and the tables have turned in my favor. The knowledge “collective” of the group is outstanding!
Worth the Effort
For those of you who are considering attending this year for the first time, my advice is simply, “Do not miss it!” Yes, it can be a logistical nightmare traveling with all our HEN or HPN “stuff,” but the hassles are well worth it. With all that is going on in our lives that revolves around dealing with our feeding issues in an “eating world,” it is a true gift to spend time with a group of people who are in the same situation. (See article on page 7 for tips on traveling with HPEN supplies.)
Last year’s program hosted speakers on research, coping, care giving, and “special issues.” If you had told me four years ago that I would be at a seminar on diarrhea, I would have told you were nuts. But now such topics are of special interest to me. No where will you have the opportunity to surround yourself and your family with this level of expertise and support—and have a really great holiday at the same time.
For those of you with children, either as consumers or part of a consumer’s family, the experience has got to be a priority. I think being around fellow attendees would help children realize that there are ways to lead a very normal life and to perhaps make some new friends. There are special events for the kids, and judging by the stories and smiling faces last year, they had a blast!
And Worth Returning
For those who have attended before, I am sure you will move mountains to be there. The fellowship and tips are invaluable, and as we know, working through a life that involves tube or IV feeding is a continual learning experience. There is no better forum to soak up some sun and support at the same time.
Last year at the conference my G-tube cracked just below the fitting and I sprung a leak! I was making plans to get to the hospital when someone recommended just applying some Krazy Glue® over the hole as a patch. That got me from San Diego to Vancouver without a problem. Now I carry a tube in my briefcase!
Chance to Soak It Up
The program is always a great collection of information, but it is the “chat time” and dinner table talk that allow us all to compare war stories and just be among fellow “consumers.”
There is something for each and every one at these conferences. I urge you to surround yourselves and your families with a week of sun, fun, and a chance to learn something all in one. I look forward to seeing you there!