Tips on Conserving Your Energy During Professional Events

Tips on Conserving Your Energy During Professional Events

younger than 30

I am currently attending a professional development conference for work that is inspiring, enriching, and exhausting! Since my diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in early 2016, it’s no secret that I no longer have the stamina to do all the things I once could. This includes long days at a conference.

I came to this conference with the knowledge that it was going to be a jam-packed few days with sharing of information and content, meeting new people, and networking with other participants. I knew it would be busy, and I knew I would have to pace myself. What I wasn’t anticipating is just how difficult it is to be stuck in the dilemma of wanting to do it all, not miss out on a wealth of knowledge, and needing to rest because my body and mind are exhausted.

This is a common struggle for most patients living with IPF, and it doesn’t just apply to work-related issues. In fact, it is mostly on a larger, more personal scale. I’ve written previous columns about the challenges of no longer being physically able to participate in activities I once could, such as sports or social events.

However, this is the first time that my illness has interfered with my ability to be fully present at a conference or professional development opportunity. While I am grateful that I can still participate in the conference, I’ve had to make accommodations. Following are some of the ways that I have been able to conserve my energy while attending as much of the conference as possible:

  • Disclosing my lung disease: This brings with it some vulnerability and discomfort, but it also lets me ask for help from others (see more about this below). It is hard to hide that I have a lung disease due to my large oxygen tank, but letting people know why I have it and what I might need help with has been extremely beneficial for me as I navigate the long, exhausting days.

Connect with other patients and share tips on how to manage PF in our forums!

  • Get a buddy: Networking and meeting new people are some of my favorite parts of conferences, and it can be comforting for me to have an extra set of hands to help.
  • Wear a mask: This is not always socially comfortable, especially in a crowd of people you’re just meeting for the first time. However, it is important when your immune system is suppressed due to medications. I have been proactive in wearing my mask during large group activities at this conference to avoid falling ill.
  • Don’t try to keep up: Professional development conferences are about taking in as much content as possible. I discovered that there were going to be early mornings and late nights, between both the conference content and opportunities for socializing. I also quickly found out that if I tried to keep up my stamina throughout the conference, I’d pay for it either in the form of a medical emergency or illness. So I’ve had to choose which learning modules I attend, and when I take a break during the day. I dislike missing out on sessions, but I’ve asked others to take notes for me so I can still obtain the information.
  • Ask for help: This isn’t always easy to do when you’re in a professional role. Asking for help may be necessary for you to conserve your energy just a little longer during busy days.

Do you have any other tips you could add based on your experiences? Join the discussion in our PF forums.

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Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.

Thanks for stopping by my column! My name is Charlene Marshall and I was diagnosed officially with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) on April 7 2016 after 13 months of various tests, hospitalizations and misdiagnoses, such as bronchitis and asthma. Due to my age, the specialist disclosed that he was unsure how the IPF would manifest itself in terms of progression, and whether it would be fast or slow and what the course of my illness might look like. Not much has changed since then, meaning there is still a lot that remains unknown, which is largely due to my age and how “rare” it is for someone under 30 to receive a diagnosis of IPF. That being said, a lot has changed for me in the time since diagnosis and I am looking forward to sharing some of those changes with you through this online platform, and I invite you along for the ride! Throughout this column I intend to chronicle the experience of living with an invisible, yet fatal disease as a young adult and share some stories about how IPF has impacted every aspect of my life, both good and bad, thus far. I plan on highlighting the challenges (and where I can, the positives…) that come with living with IPF and the impact on social and intimate relationships, finances, family dynamics, facing mortality, infertility, travelling, medication side effects, career goals and so much more as it arises for me as a “new” patient. I hope others’ with similar experiences will reach out as no story trumps any other, nor should any go unheard. For now, let me leave you with some personal details about who I am, outside of my IPF diagnosis. I grew up in a small town in south-western Ontario and still live within Ontario, although in a much bigger city. My favorite sport is/was underwater hockey (yes, it is a thing: look it up on YouTube), I love working with people, I work full-time in the Social Work/Social Services field, I am an avid learner filled with heaps of curiosity for the world, which lead me to start my Masters Degree in 2014. I am in the last few months of my Masters Degree and am looking forward to an upcoming trip to Australia more than I’ve looked forward to anything before. Welcome to the shambles and chaos that is my life!
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Thanks for stopping by my column! My name is Charlene Marshall and I was diagnosed officially with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) on April 7 2016 after 13 months of various tests, hospitalizations and misdiagnoses, such as bronchitis and asthma. Due to my age, the specialist disclosed that he was unsure how the IPF would manifest itself in terms of progression, and whether it would be fast or slow and what the course of my illness might look like. Not much has changed since then, meaning there is still a lot that remains unknown, which is largely due to my age and how “rare” it is for someone under 30 to receive a diagnosis of IPF. That being said, a lot has changed for me in the time since diagnosis and I am looking forward to sharing some of those changes with you through this online platform, and I invite you along for the ride! Throughout this column I intend to chronicle the experience of living with an invisible, yet fatal disease as a young adult and share some stories about how IPF has impacted every aspect of my life, both good and bad, thus far. I plan on highlighting the challenges (and where I can, the positives…) that come with living with IPF and the impact on social and intimate relationships, finances, family dynamics, facing mortality, infertility, travelling, medication side effects, career goals and so much more as it arises for me as a “new” patient. I hope others’ with similar experiences will reach out as no story trumps any other, nor should any go unheard. For now, let me leave you with some personal details about who I am, outside of my IPF diagnosis. I grew up in a small town in south-western Ontario and still live within Ontario, although in a much bigger city. My favorite sport is/was underwater hockey (yes, it is a thing: look it up on YouTube), I love working with people, I work full-time in the Social Work/Social Services field, I am an avid learner filled with heaps of curiosity for the world, which lead me to start my Masters Degree in 2014. I am in the last few months of my Masters Degree and am looking forward to an upcoming trip to Australia more than I’ve looked forward to anything before. Welcome to the shambles and chaos that is my life!

2 comments

  1. P.T. Ummer Koya says:

    I enjoyed reading the article written in simple language.It is really informative on account of energy deficiencies which is the most killing part of the decease in question.

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      Hi P.T.,

      Thanks for reading my column and for getting in touch via the comments – I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the article. It is always a bonus for me to hear from others who enjoy reading some of my work so thank you! Yes, the energy deficiency that IPF can cause is overwhelming and a very difficult part of the disease to cope with, I agree. Take care and wishing you nothing but the best.
      Charlene.

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