Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chasing Dreams, Part Two: This is Where it all Comes Together

In my last post I talked about a whirlwind trip to DC, but the weekend wasn't done yet. Now it was time for the Generation Hope Meet and Greet in NYC.

Joshua and I rented a car and grabbed PHA Staffer Debbie and her sister, fellow patient, Alex. After a great dinner (and fro-yo!) in Silver Spring we were off to NYC... starting at 9pm.

We drove through the night, laughing harder than I have in a really long time, tears streaming down our faces kind of laughing, and arrived in Newark NJ in the middle of the night, tumbling into bed close to 3am.

Then it was up and at 'em again the next morning. I could not have started my morning more perfectly... a knock on my door, and there stood Braden, a fellow patient who had come in to meet up with us. Braden is special to me. A little while back she had contacted me out of the blue because of this blog. She found it in the hospital while being diagnosed. She said it gave her hope. The fact that she reached out to let me know that made this blog all worth it. I started it to make a difference. To educate people, to tell my story, to let them know the crazy ups and downs, and maybe share a laugh about some of it (because if I don't laugh at the absurdity of this crazy disease, and the situations I have come into because of it, I just might loose it). It was incredibly gratifying to know it did make a difference for even one person. In fact, that communication has kept me writing.

 Braden rocks. I mean, I knew I liked her online persona before, but in person it was abundantly clear in about 20 seconds, she and I were going to be fast friends.

Stumbling our way through the Newark to NYC transportation system, we met up with the rest of the Generation Hope crew who had come into the city. All told, 11 patients and three caregivers that day. So cool to see people's eyes light up and to hear the squeals as connections were made with online friends now standing there in person.

Meeting for the first time

 We started at Ellen's Stardust Diner near Times Square with, what else, singing wait staff! From there it was a wander through an outdoor market and into Times Square, ending at a coffee shop on a corner.

Happy Birthday Song!

Here We Are!

 A little later on, it was down to just me, Joshua, Braden, and my very dear friend Wendy (Wendy and I met online three years ago - the first mom/PH patient I was able to connect with, and we've stayed fast friends ever since, even visiting a few times a year. It's been amazing.)

We all talked together quite a bit, and then after a while the conversation sort of broke off. Joshua and I were chatting, and Wendy and Braden began to exchange stories... finding they had so much in common. I could hear the excitement in their voices. I could hear the connections being made. After watching everyone together all day, and especially then, in that moment, it hit me. This is what we started Generation Hope for. This is what it was all about. I watched them hug their goodbyes... and I completely choked up. All of this. These past four years, from feeling so isolated and lonely and frightened out of my mind, to tentatively reaching out, to having crazy cool opportunities to reach out, to seeing all this come together... this... this is what I was meant to be here for. This is why we did what we did with Generation Hope. I honestly don't think I will ever ever forget that day, and especially that moment.

Wendy, Braden, Me, Joshua

We ended our night with seeing RENT! off Broadway... a blog post for another time as that is a show that has had very profound meaning to me since diagnosis.

Can't wait for Conference in Orlando in just over a month!

1 comment:

  1. Colleen!

    Way to make me weepy over my morning cappuccino. You've been my PH crush since I discovered your blog my first night in the hospital after diagnosis, and you've been a voice I've relied on so much ever since - particularly in Generation Hope. And the crazy thing is, you're even more amazing in person. How'd you pull that off?

    I am much more of a silver linings person than I generally want the world to know. And as you know, PH isn't known for having many silver linings. But getting to know you is one hell of a silver lining. I can't wait to hang out again!


    PS You give the best Mama advice, too. Mac has gone to bed every night since I returned with the fire train and taxi cab you recommended. Way to make me look like a hero, girl.