By Kiara Tatum
|Kimberlee Ford & Kiara Tatum|
Applying for the PHA conference scholarship was the first step and the easiest part of the traveling experience. I was granted a scholarship; however, I wasn’t prepared for the extra cost. I thought I was going to have plenty of funds from the scholarship, but the scholarship usage was explained, and I had to come up with more funds. I thought my family was vacationing with me; however, my mom changed her plans. I needed 4 LPM of supplement oxygen; however, my local oxygen company only supplied 3 LPM. I needed oxygen delivery in Florida, but I used a local oxygen company in New York. So you see all the dilemmas I had to experience, and I hadn't even left for Florida yet. But even though I had these troubles, I still was determined to get to Florida for the PHA International Conference this year. With help from my parents with extra money and transportation to the airport, a discussion with my PH specialist about decreasing oxygen levels while in flight, coordination with my local oxygen company with another company in Florida, everything was put into place.
|Kiara Tatum & Colleen Schnell|
|Kiara Tatum, Kimberlee Ford, Kia Allen & Tammy Lewis|
All the sessions I attended were informative, and one in particular was full of laughs. The women’s only session was a blast. Even though there were laughs, there were real issues that women of all ages who have PH have to deal with, and I’ve been avoiding relationships because of my illness. Wearing oxygen tubing isn’t hidable, and I felt like I would be a burden on someone if we started a relationship. But hearing some of the women’s stories was very inspiring, and I’m ready to start dating. I also had the opportunity to be part of the speaker panel for the Words for Wellbeing session. I shared how journaling and now writing for the Generation Hope Blog have helped me and empowered me in my fight against PH. I was nervous, but everyone said they didn’t see it. People gave me positive feedback, and they enjoyed the tips I shared about journaling.
|Kevin Roberson & Kiara Tatum|
|Kia Allen, Wendy Bondy, Kylen, and Kiara Tatum|