I Found Courage in my Stocking

December is always a busy time of the year, especially with Christmas knocking on every bloomin’ door on that advent calendar. However, the first couple of weeks of December this year have been incredibly busier than usual, for three big reasons:

  1. It was Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week 
  2. I was a speaker at the European MedTech Forum in Brussels
  3. I was interviewed by Cambridge TV!


Speaking at the European MedTech forum

eu medtech forum

I was invited to speak at the annual European Medtech Forum in Brussels. At first, I wasn’t sure they had the right person! I was confused how a lowly YouTube vlogger like me would be an appropriate speaker at the biggest medical technology conference in Europe… until I heard about the topic I’d be speaking about.

The topic allocated to me was based on something I’ve mentioned before (it was either in one of my videos or an old blog post of mine… my memory is letting me down, here). The title was “Are your end-users ‘patients’ or ‘people using MedTech’?” and I realised that I could get a very important message across to the MedTech industry, especially as many important people would be gathered in the same room at this plenary session in which I’d be speaking.

My angle was this; people who have chronic conditions, many of whom have suffered for many years, are sick and tired of being sick and tired. For me, at least, I hated being a patient because I associated being a patient with fear, pain, sadness, vulnerability and lack of control/choice. I hated being a patient, because it felt that the person was fading away. When I eventually recovered after my surgery (a long recovery, by the way), I started to feel like a person again.

I wish I could have recorded it (there were cameras, but I don’t know if it’ll be accessible to the general public or just kept internal within the attendees), but there is a blog post that I’ve written for their blog platform, MedTech Views.

Read the blog post here:

MedTech Views: Are your end-users ‘patients’ or ‘people using MedTech’?

The session was absolutely fantastic, and I’m glad I was able to share the perspective of someone who uses MedTech every single day, to remind the industry that they need to remember; MedTech needs to fit around people’s lives, not the other way around. It needs to enable us to live our lives to the full, and to help us manage our conditions in a way that is easy, effective and at a low cost. And not only that but, in this digital world we live in, consumers are talking to each other. In today’s world, product reviews aren’t just for make-up and household appliances; they’re for medical devices and healthcare services too. I appreciate that there are a million and one decisions to be made within a MedTech company, but at the end of the day, every decision needs to link back to the question; “is this going to make our consumers’ lives easier?”

Interview on Cambridge TV!

After I spoke at the European MedTech Forum, there were a few local newspapers who were interested in what I had to say, and so a couple of articles were written:

Wisbech Standard:
Whittlesey woman tells international conference how she helped revolutionise health products and got her own life back  

Peterborough Telegraph:
Whittlesey blogger speaks at Europe’s largest medical technology conference

I’ve also had a few other people get in touch to ask if I can share my thoughts and experiences, which is a great opportunity to help raise awareness of inflammatory bowel diseases and also try and break that stigma and taboo around having ostomy surgery – and funnily enough I was 12348053_535467986618340_1861813998036617973_ninvited by Cambridge TV, who’s a relatively new station, to talk about exactly that!

I met the very lovely Karen Thomas, and we had a chat about the sort of things she would ask me, and then she took me through to their studio!

It’d the first time I’ve ever been involved in any kind of television production, so it was a tiny bit scary but I managed to pull myself together and think about the message that I wanted to put out there. Gladly it wasn’t live TV, which is good as I stumbled over my own words a few times, but overall it went really well.

cambridge tv studio

The interview was aired in the second week of December, but you will be able to watch it on the Cambridge TV On Demand page of their website: www.cambridge-tv.co.uk/demand/

Despite the first couple of weeks of December being pretty hectic and a little bit scary in places, I’m so glad that I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and spoken out about topics that a lot of people are quite nervous talking about. And I know that I made videos about these sorts of things all the time on YouTube, but it was a totally different audience; it wasn’t just people going through the same thing as me, it was a wider audience, so the nerves definitely kicked it… but think I certainly found courage in my Christmas stocking!

And now, at least, I can look forward to a nice relaxing Christmas!

– T xx

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Ally · 12th December, 2015 at 9:31 pm

Look at you! Get ’em, girl !

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