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Most people don't know this about me, but I am a ham (?). Yes, it's the former theatre minor/broadcast journalist in me. Or maybe it's the old pre-school teacher. No matter, I love speaking in public.



When I am able to use this particular quirk to help others-life improves. Which is why I'm off to Omaha, Nebraska.



Most people would not think having rheumatoid arthritis is a positive thing-but since I have it, I try to put it to good use-when called upon, I speak to groups of rheumatologists and their staff to tell them, from a patients point of view, the importance of early diagnosis.



I am an advocate for Vibrant Lives-a support group for those of us on a certain drug that enables us to lead more regular lives. You'll notice I didn't use that word "normal", that would just be boring.



A few times a year I'm called upon to tell about my journey from the beginning of my symptoms and where I am now. Earlier this year, I spoke to a group in Santa Barbara, California. It was a fun day-the advocacy group sent my husband and I by limo, paid for our dinner at a Michelin rated restaurant and I didn't have to work half of a day. I wrote about the "Cinderella effect" in one of the March blogs.



This time-it's Omaha in the winter.



The high in Omaha this time of the year is 30 degrees. Now forgive this born and bred true California girl, who is a descent of desert people, but this is really COLD-right????



No matter, this is a "drive-by" trip. I only had two days of personal time left. I leave home Tuesday at 8 a.m.-land in Omaha at 2:30. It's drinks at 6, followed by the seminar and then I'm back on the plane by 8 a.m. Wednesday morning. I will land at home by 1 in the afternoon. I promised to be back for our daughter's last 4D ultrasound.



How cold do you think I will get on this particular schedule?



I'm to talk and answer questions for about twenty minutes. This will be a great experience on so many levels! I've never been to the mid-west (unless you count the time we landed in O'Hare to board another plane). And at age 50, this will be my first plane trip without a family member by my side. Let alone making the transfer planes and hailing my own taxi! Quite an adventure-at least from my point of view.



Looking on line, I've seen the outside, the lobby and the room of the Hilton Garden Inn I've been booked into. The restaurant where the seminar is being held looks very romantic. Of course this rule doesn't apply to me. The menu sounds delicious. No picture of the Denver or Omaha airport however, so I guess what I see will be a complete surprise. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to handle it though.



One question-do you think I should bring my camera?



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