You know when you have a crazy dream about public speaking- when you are standing in front of a huge crowd of people, nervous as hell, trying to talk and not realising that you’re completely butt naked and everyone is laughing at you? Well, this kind of happened to me last night (minus the butt naked part thankfully), except that I was wearing a compression stocking in full public view (gasp!) and had to speak to a crowd of people, in French (gasp again!). Let me explain how I got here…
I received a call from my local BSN Medical representative, Antony, who asked me to come along to their annual sales conference (which took place in Nice, France). I was extremely happy to get the invite and go along because I knew it would be a great occasion to meet some professionals who’s lives and jobs were dedicated to serving us beautiful Lymphies. What I didn’t realise (and actually misunderstood in our text messages leading up to the week) is that Antony wanted me to give a speech and share my Lymphedema story, to open up the world of Lymphedema to the whole company. Insert panic moment when I realised I had to go up on stage and speak IN FRENCH (my palms are sweating as I write this) and explain my story and passion for Lymphedema!! Luckily, it went pretty well (I had a cute translator next to me- The Husbando) and I think everyone benefited from hearing a true patient story- from the initial misdiagnosis, to incorrect compression garments, struggling to find information, lack of resources, lack of support from caregivers, to finally finding my way through the maze of confusion and getting the right support, compression garments, therapy and surgery.
Something I have noticed about BSN Medical (whether it’s here in Europe or the USA) is that they are really moving towards becoming 100% patient focused- we are the priority, our lymphedema needs are the priority and they want to know the true extent of our struggles to see how they can help us better. They truly do care about patients and need us to share our stories with them, to find better solutions together. Basically, they are listening to us. And in this world of Lymphedema, that’s rare.
I had the opportunity to mingle with all the Lymphedema team after the conference and have a good talk with everyone- the four regional representatives who cover the whole of France (connecting with patients, getting them into the right compression garments), the Marketing Director, the Engineer from Radiante (who designs compression garments), the French Director of BSN Medical and the various Heads of Departments. It was very inspirational to hear how committed everyone was to helping the Lymphedema community.
Some exciting news from the night is that the Jobst Relax is finally hitting the store shelves in the next two weeks here in France (sorry to the rest of the world!… I’m sure it’s coming soon to a shop near you too). For all the French Fry Lymphies, we can all shout a little collective “yay!”
You can see how the arm sleeve looks in the photo to the left and below I have included one of the leg garments.
If you follow me on Instagram, you will know I am slightly in love with my Jobst Relax and think its really a HUGE step forward in night time garment wear. I’ve been using it all this summer with zero issues- no over heating, no discomfort, its actually relief to have it on my leg compared to bandaging (maybe I will suggest renaming the product to the Jobst Relief?!) I just get a tad bit excited when things actually work well because it seems we come up against so many hurdles when trying to find compression garments that cut the mustard.
To finish off, I will give you a little update on the latest happenings in my world.
I have been working non-stop to get this new website up and running (it’s called MyLymph.com and will be launched end of year). The amount of work is pretty overwhelming, so I’m just getting through it the best I can whilst juggling kids, my daytime job and life in general. This explains why I am not so active at the moment on my blog or the Chronically Motivated blog– I’m putting all my time and energy into this new site!
I have just submitted the paperwork to open a Not-for-Profit organisation for Compression for Kids- so we can legally start accepting donations and selling the calendar to raise funds for kids in need. We already have our first project underway, which I will give more info on soon.
Until next time xxx