For years I have been following Doctor Peter Higgins at the University of Michigan IBD Center. I’ve had the honor of meeting him a couple of times at various conferences for Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and ostomy related advocacy that I do. This year Dr. Higgins and his team invited me to take part in their P2PEP29 conference which allows patients to easily interact with IBD advocates in their community. I’m always honored to attend conferences like this one and was excited to be part of such a great event.
While at the conference I was able to meet and reconnect with some amazing people as well. This includes Lilly Stairs, Jessica Caron, Anthony Loria, Dan Sharp, Sara Ringer, and Ryan Stevens. If you are in the IBD community and don’t follow all of these people, you need to start right now. They are not only all incredible people, but do amazing work to help others in so many ways.
This was very exciting for me for a variety of reasons. Not only do I highly respect Dr. Higgins like many others but it’s great to work with a doctor that sees the importance of using social media to help patients within their community. Dr. Higgins and his team do an incredible job getting information in the hands of patients in a useful way. If you don’t already follow Dr. Higgins, check out his profile at the bottom of this post. It’s a great feed for anyone with IBD to follow.
Over recent years, I have been honored to speak or attend many conferences including Advances In IBD, Crohn’s Colitis Congress, Digestive Disease Week , and more. There is something that is so powerful about these events which are more local and allow for more patient interaction. It allows all of the advocates I listed above and others to have direct conversations with the patients and really connect on a deeper level.
There were so many topics that were discussed in just a matter of hours, and the patients were able to pick the sessions they wanted to sit in on. It also allows patients to have more time to ask questions that are on their minds and also share their own story which always helps. I can’t begin to tell you the feeling when I am talking to patient or a room of patients, and you see something click to give them the energy they need to manage their disease.
I understand that it is hard to go to a local support group on a regular basis. In many ways, these local support groups have also been replaced by the online support patients can get 24/7 all over the world. Still, there is something priceless about interacting with fellow patients and advocates in the flesh.
On a side note from the conference, it was very cool that the spring football game was being played this weekend. While I am not a Michigan Wolverine fan, I decided to walk down and check out what is called “The Big House”. A stadium that can fit 110,000+ people on a Saturday afternoon.
I tried to envision what it would be like when they play Ohio State and how crazy it must get. Glad I got to check it out and say I have been. Not sure if I have ever seen a structure so big. I mean check it out!
The town came alive at night too. After the conference was over, we indulged in some University of Michigan college food at Krazy Jimmy’s Blimpy Burger. A burger joint that has been on Diners, Drive In’s, and Dives, Food Paradise, and Man Vs. Food.
While I know this isn’t the best thing for my IBD, I also try to live life a little and check these spots off when I am in a new area. Doing this hasn’t left me disappointed once and the food it always delicious.
These burgers were thin and thrown right on a flat top, with a fresh bun, fresh grilled toppings, and some of the best fries and onion rings I’ve had. It was fun to see how the made fun of the customers that have never been before and didn’t know their ordering system.
If you want to see a little show, get some old school hamburgers, this is the place to be when in Ann Arbor.
A huge thank you to Dr. Higgins, his team at the University of Michigan IBD Center, and everyone else that helped put on this great event.
Have any questions or thoughts you want to share? Feel free to comment below and let’s chat.