Autoimmune Disease Support Group

Our  Mascots are Marlie and Wilson!  

January, 2018

Attendance:   14

Joanne, Patrick, Robbin, Diana, Jenny, Addie, Jennifer, Nanette, Joanne O., Eileen, Nancy, Pat, Douglas, Ruchi

This meeting was our Holiday Party!  (Which was post-poned from December meeting which was canceled due to snow storm).  There was FOOD FOR DAYS!!!! And Douglas provided some beautiful holiday music composed by his talented son!

As we got our plates and settled in, I went over the rules of the hospital that i have to go over every January so that we can continue to be allowed to use the hospital conference room.

“housekeeping” items  that were discussed:

1.      Went over the annual rules for using the conference room per hospital policy

2.      Robbin went over Group rules:  (there are as follows:)

          a.      Confidentiality first.  What is said in group, stays in group

          b.      Share feelings and experiences, but not advice. Use “I” messages (i.e. “I feel”, not “You feel”

          c.      Accept each other without making judgments

          d.      Listen to each other. Give everyone an opportunity to share.

          e.      Avoid interrupting or having side conversations

          f.       Silence all cell phones

          g.      Always be honest

          h.      Have a positive attitude

          i.       Be on time.  If you must come late, please come in silently so as not to disturb the group

                    i.     Arriving late is a distraction. Many group members struggle with focus when they are speaking or listening

                   ii.      Late comers miss the opportunity to listen to others who need support

                   iii.     Late comers miss valuable information and content.  Repeating info that was already discussed is not a fair use of the 90 minutes for those who arrive on time

j.       Be respectful and sensitive to others

k.      Be supportive and encouraging to each other

l.       Refrain from using offensive language

3.      Robbin passed around Black & White copies of our brochures.  Please ask your rheumatologist if he/she would allow you to place a few in their waiting room for other patients to take.  Or if they would consider posting one to their cork board or near the check-in/out area.  If you would like additional pamphlets to hand out or place around town, please see Robbin.

4.      A SYMPTOM TRACKER was handed out.  Please make yourself photocopies before you write on it.  Each sheet allows you to track 4 days (two on front and two on back).  It is really a simple format all you have to do is check off the box (boxes) that correspond to how you would describe the pain for that body part!  And then there are boxes to check off for the weather, brain fog, whether or not you slept well, and even a small area for other comments.  Tracking your symptoms could not be easier!  And if you track every day for a while, you can look back and see how certain things affect you such as increase in pain right before a rainy day! Your tracking may reveal that you are trending in a downward trajectory and may need to discuss treatment options with your doctor.  If you are on a new medication, tracking can give you a sense over time of whether you are or are not benefiting from your new treatment.  Try this tool and let us know what you think!!!

ICE BREAKER:  Share one thing from 2017 that was positive or exciting for you and share one thing for 2018 that is positive or exciting that you hope for. 

     *     Each person was given about two minutes to share!  This was a really great way to begin the New Year!!!

One member shared a great book to read “Attitude of Gratitude with Chronic Pain” by Lauren Blanchard Zalewsky.  Here is a link to Lauren’s website.  She’s amazing! There are ON-LINE CHRONIC PAIN SUPPORT MEETINGS WEEKLY!  Check it out.

Pat handed out a copy to everyone in attendance of a terrific list of medical terms and abbreviations and their definitions!  Very useful handout to keep at the ready to help you through any doctors or lab info.

We spent the second half of the meeting playing our GIFT SWAP game called "GRINCH" Where you could either take a wrapped gift, or "steal" a gift from someone else if you saw something you liked.  Gifts had a TWO steal maximum! 

ALSO, there were SOOOO many DOOR PRIZEtthat everyone went home with not only their swap gift, but a door prize as well! 

Also, as promised, those that came got an extra surprise!!!  Everyone got an "I love Autoimmunegroup" tee-shirt courtesy of Joanne & Patrick (See the picture at the top of this page!)

Fun was had by all!!!

DONATIONS COLLECTED:  $95.00  Thank you everyone for your amazing generosity!!!

NEXT UPCOMING MEETING:  Saturday, February 10th, 2018.  See HOME page for additional details.

           * We will do our annual "Valentine's Day Game" where everyone goes home with a Valentine's Day card which is written on by every member present at the meeting!!!  We all love this game!

Hope to see you then!!!

 Jo & Pat