PGP in ATL for FDRS 2023
I started out my FDRS 2023 trip a bit early. I started the 11 hour drive Wednesday morning after the boy got on the bus for school. The trip went really smooth and I arrived right around 6pm. My legs did amazing with barely any swelling. I unpacked so my outfits didn’t wrinkle for later in the weekend before heading out to dinner with Angelique (and Michael).
Thursday I got up early, put on my compressions and headed to Hell Yea Gluten free to buy a ton of amazing gluten free treats. I want so many more of those biscuits. Stopping along the way to take some photos in from of some murals. I had headed down to Stone Mountain but wasn’t about to spend $20 for parking when I just wanted one quick photo. It started to rain so I went back for a swim at the hotel pool before going to visit a high school friend.
Friday morning was another early start to get my hair done at Drybar before all the FDRS fun started. The Drybar was around the corner from the Puppet Center that had some of the original Muppets. I ran into Old Navy to grab a dress that I can show off the Muppet tattoo. But sadly when I got over to the Puppet Center they are full for the hour I had available. So I got back into Atlanta traffic to head to lunch with the Lipedema Patient Roundtable, Michael, Kasi, Bob, Noelle and Amanda. The joy that instantly filled my jaded heart the moment I’m around my LPR friends is so hard to describe. To be able to talk to all of them where I can reach out and touch them is so amazing. I hate that its only once a year.
Friday night opening night did not disappoint. It was so great to so many familiar online faces in person, some for the first time. Great conversations, hugs, smiles, showing off results and drinks with people that just get it. All the women in the fashion show did so amazing showing that Lipedema doesn’t have to stop you from looking fierce.
Saturday had me feeling very “yinzer” in my black & yellow… apparently I wasn’t the only one enjoying the color combo as I spotted a few other ladies wearing it as well. Saturday was filled with Lipedema Patient Roundtable photo op, speeches from Dr. Karen Herbst, Noah Danesh and all the plastic surgeons in attendance. I also stopped by Lipoelastic’s booth to have Patrick measure me for my next garments. I snuck off for about 40 minutes and had some pool time from my legs with the lovely Ms. Lisa. Closed out the evening in my Torrid jumpsuit at the Lipedema Foundation dinner. It was great being about to share a bit more of the mental journey of having surgeries with Dr. Michael Schwartz that was also at my table. Floyd our bartender for the evening was kind enough to give me a shot of vodka to add to my juice the next morning before my presentation and made me a mixed drink (no ice) to have as a celebratory drink after I spoke.
Sunday was a whirlwind that I wish I remembered more of. Up early to practice my presentation again, only to tell it completely differently when it was my turn, before heading down for breakfast with my people. The incredible Jenn Sephton started the patient perspectives and had everyone, including the sound guys, tearing up. She spoke on how surgeries aren’t always the answer and that we need to listen to our own bodies more. I can’t wait for you to be able to watch it for yourself. Up next was Wyckham Avery and they spoke on the important topic we have all dealt with, Fatphobia. Then It was my turn. It was so nice to feel supported by my people there and at home wearing the PGP roller coaster shirts. I cried even though I tried so hard not too. I just can’t talk about the impact my mom, Stephen Lynch and Dr Jaime have had on my life. Fellow TLC patient, Hiba closed out the patient perspectives by talking fighting for proper medical treatment and using the standard of care to do so. After a quick break (and wardrobe change for my long drive home) We watched the powerful Brenda Viola close out FDRS 2023. I just love how Brenda has embraced the Lipedema community and sees us as people worth of love, respect and a fulfilling life.
It’s as so hard to say good bye to all these amazing humans that I did not get enough time with. But sadly the time had come for me to pack my pear green luggage into the Trax and head home. A lunch stop at Waffle House first and then I was on the road. I started my day at 5:30am and did not get home till 4:30am Monday. I would have turned right back around if I was able to have more time with my people. This weird post conference funk has taken over my week since returning home. It’s this weird mix of my heart being so full and reinspired to so sad knowing I dont have the support and community back here. I need to see them more than once a year and I’m determined to make that happen before FDRS 2024.