Becoming Immune Confident
Welcome back everyone. This is Dr. Kara. I am so excited to welcome all of our returning listeners back and welcome any new listeners. I am recording this during the first week of spring. It is 2023 and it has been all of the seasons of this week here in central Ohio. I'm based out of Columbus, Ohio. We have seen everything from frost and flurries to balmy humid, 70 degree weather all in the span of one week. Sometimes within the span of one day, which is totally typical for the Midwest.
Spring is always a very exciting time. For many of us, it signals rebirth. It signals a time in the year where we tend to spend more time outdoors and within nature.
For me as an allergist, it signals my busy season, similar to accountants. This is the time of year when I have opportunities to help people through their challenging seasonal allergy symptoms as our pollen counts continue to rise. Pollen counts continue to start rising earlier and earlier, we've already actually had elevated tree pollen counts in the central Ohio area going on three weeks now. Started actually back in the end of February, which is not uncommon anymore.
But for me as a business owner, now, this also signals the conclusion of quarter one and starting into quarter two. In kind of business life the year is divided up into court quarters, similar to how in education we may have semesters.
The 12-Week Year
At the end of last year, I read a really exciting book called 'The 12-Week Year,' which really has completely changed how I see my calendar, both as a business owner but also from a health and healing standpoint as well.
Let me take you quickly through the concepts, the too long didn't read version of the book. Essentially, when we are approaching the end of the year and new year's resolution time, we have this surge in motivation.
We see it as an opportunity to complete goals that we set that year before to start setting goals for that upcoming year. It really pushes us to reach those goals, to be on a mission and to see that mission through to the end. The problem is when we set goals in January, the end point being December is way too far off for our brains to be motivated by that deadline.
So the concept of the 12-Week Year is that we divide then the year into 12 weeks or quarters. In doing so we treat each week like a month would be in a traditional year. That then gives us increased opportunities to keep ourselves motivated along the way and to avoid those lulls because 12 weeks really is not that much time. It's about 90 days.
A lot can happen in 90 days, but it also is close enough in the front view of our car or vision to keep our eye on the prize and to stay motivated.
The 2nd Annual Virtual Sjogren's Summit
As I was looking through planning out my year, the big goal I had for this first quarter was our Virtual Sjogren Summit, which is coming up this weekend.
If you're listening to this after the fact, you actually don't feel left out, you'll be able to go back and find information on our website. We'll have the link below and you can actually get access to all of the talks that I'm going to be referencing after the fact as well.
But if you're listening to this in real time, I am so darn excited for this event. We have been planning this event for months. Last year in February, I had this crazy idea that I really wanted to bring our Sjogren's community together to have some space, some time, some place virtually of course to provide an opportunity for fellowship. For human to human connection. For us to get empowered in what we're doing, what ownership are taking, what actions we're taking in caring for ourselves, caring for our brains, our hearts, our bodies, but being able to do this in the comfort of our own homes.
Especially last year, everyone was still pretty locked down but really craving that human connection that we had lacked over the last several years. One of the other great benefits of doing events virtually is we can engage folks from all over the globe. Last year, we had people join us from over 18 different countries across the globe with Sjogren's or affected, had people in their family affected by Sjogren's.
It was absolutely incredible to see and to learn from each other, especially knowing being based in the US our healthcare system is incredibly broken and so let's learn from some of these other countries. What are they doing, what's working, what's not working from them, and what's working for us, what's not working for us, so that we can learn from one another.
We can have fellowship with one another. The reality is we don't need to necessarily reinvent the wheel. We can learn from these health experts, but also from the wealth of information from our community.
I have learned so much being embraced by our Sjogren's community and I look forward to continuing to not only provide education, but also to learn from all of our other speakers. To learn from all of the participants that are taking part in this summit as well.
I want to share a little bit of a preview of some of the talks that we have planned for the summit. I will say, I know a lot of you listening don't necessarily have Sjogren's but I would challenge you to take a look at the summit lineup, take a look at all of the talks we have, and I bet that you will find a ton of talks that are going to strike your fancy.
If you are listening to this podcast, we have essentially three different tracks that are going to be running for folks. We have a track that is really encompassing a lot of advocacy.
What are some ways to elevate your voice if you feel like you are being subject to medical gaslighting? How can you learn to thrive as you grieve the old you in your chronic illness journey? If you're dealing with chronic pain, what are some integrative strategies to learn to manage pain? That session's going to be led by my colleague, Dr. Delia. She is an integrative palliative medicine physician. She's an educator. The founder of the Integrative Palliative Institute, which is a phenomenal resource, she's getting our keynote session on Saturday.
I am also so excited about one of the premier workshops that we're offering, which is a workshop on brain fog. I know so many of us dealing with allergies with auto-immunity with other inflammatory conditions, sometimes just being a tired mom, deal with some of these issues of brain fog.
What is brain fog? It's when we have trouble staying focused. It's when we have trouble recalling names or words. It's when we have trouble with our attention. It's a lot of issues with what we consider our executive function.
Dr. Diana Mercado-Marmarosh is a family physician. She is also the physician ADHD life coach. I had the opportunity to participate in one of her workshops at the national physician coaches summit last November and it was one of the best hands-on workshops I have been to.
I walked away from that hour spent with her and my colleagues making considerable change in what I was doing in my day-to-day life. That has continued to reverberate throughout my daily habits and I am so excited that she is going to be sharing her wisdom with you all. This workshop is well worth the price of admission on its own, like she is incredible.
Another session I am so excited about is our panel discussions. So on day one, we are going to have a panel discussion with Dr. Sarah Schaffer, Dr. Susan Masterson, and myself. We are going to be talking about the systemic nature of Sjogren's. The gaslighting that goes on with Sjogren's, and how do we bring this all together?
So Dr. Susan Schaefer is the founder of www.sjogrensadvocate.com. An incredible resource if you have Sjogren's. You suspect you have Sjogren's. She has a wealth of evidence-based information. It's a resource I send all of my newly diagnosed Sjogren's patients to review and to look to. Right along with the Sjogren's foundation information, like it is right up there. It just has incredible breadth, incredible depth. But it's really easy to navigate and is just an incredible resource.
If you listened to last week's episode, my discussion with Dr. Susan Masterson, we're going to continue this conversation. She is a licensed psychologist. She has Sjogren's herself as well and really talking about these, this nuance in this ongoing discussion of brain, body interface, and how do we take care of ourselves, how do we not gaslight ourselves, all of these things. I am so excited about this conversation that we're going to be having live with you all.
On day two, we have just as many sessions and workshops and panels.
Let's go through some of the highlights from day two.
In the morning session we have sessions on what do you do if you're changing your career in the middle of the pandemic? That's going to be led by Dr. Kumar, who is integrative functional medicine and a chronic illness patient herself. She's an incredible resource.
Jen tharani my colleague and partner is going to be leading a session on anti-inflammatory nutrition, which is her passion and we're going to have some sessions on what's the role of a health coach, oral health, and dry mouth management.
Our panel discussion on Sunday is with two of my favorite people to follow on social media, Cheryl Crow, who is the founder of Arthritis Life and occupational therapist. She has also been one of our beloved guests on the podcast. And Dr. Adrian Chavez, also another guest that's been on the podcast. He has his PhD in nutrition. He and Cheryl are going to go through a discussion, I'm going to help moderate, all on how we can try to tell fact from fiction. Especially as we are navigating getting information from the internet and from social media. This will be a really great empowering session to help you walk away, feeling like you can stand a little more confidently in sorting out what to trust and what to have kind of some red flags about when you're navigating and managing your illness.
I'm going to be giving the keynote session on Sunday. I'm going to be talking all about Becoming Immune Confident and we're going to talk a little bit more about that in a few minutes, what that all encompasses, and what that means for the next few months of all things Crunchy Allergist. Hit the pause you. Hit the little asterix or the pause on that and we'll come back to that in a minute.
In our afternoon sessions, we are going to have sessions on using low dose naltrexone for pain management. We're going to have some additional workshops on people pleasing, and a whole lot more. I can't even name all the things we have over 30 speakers. There's going to be over 50 hours of content.
It's honestly grown a lot faster than I anticipated, but we are rolling with it. I am super excited. You are seriously not going to want to miss this event.
Top 10 Reasons to Attend the 2nd Annual Virtual Sjogren's Summit
I actually put together our Top 10 Reasons that you want to attend the Virtual Sjogren Summit. I would say this is even if you don't have Sjogren's.
Number one is action. This can count as your first, next step towards better health.
Number two is inspiration. You can start dreaming beyond the limitations you've placed on yourself as a result of your Sjogren's or other chronic inflammatory illness symptoms.
Number three motivation. Harnessed the collective energy of this group and propel yourself forward and making positive changes in your life.
Number four community. Meet other members of this, what I've termed the best club you never wanted to qualify for, and learn from one another. That is a really great segue into number five, which is education. You're going to learn, not only from our speakers, but from each other. I also highly suspect, you're gonna learn some things about yourself along the way, too. I always say there is no sense in reinventing the wheel. So let's learn from one another. Let's see, what's worked, what's not, and then continue to experiment as we go through our daily lives.
Number six, innovation. You're going to learn about up and coming treatments for Sjogren's. We have a session, a whole workshop on clinical trials. What's in clinical trials? What is it like to participate? What would that entail? I think that'll be a really helpful discussion and super excited. Dr. Brittany Panico is a rheumatologist. She's going to be sharing all about that.
Number seven, accountability. You're going to have the opportunity to connect with other participants and other attendees in our networking sessions, in our lounges.
You could get together exchange, contact information, set goals together, and work on holding each other accountable to follow through with those goals after the event has concluded. Really exciting opportunity to take this weekend and then continue to learn from it to grow from it in the weeks and months to come.
Number eight, generosity. We are giving away well over $3,000 worth of products and services in our scavenger hunt giveaway. So we are hosting a scavenger hunt, what you're going to do is through the Accelevents platform, the event platform, you're going to be able to earn points by visiting different vendor in sponsor booths.
By accumulating those points, you're then going to qualify for our drawings for giveaways. We have some incredible giveaway prizes, which I have not announced yet. But maybe I will now. So if you have not heard of molecule, they are a very innovative, super high tech. It's an amazing air purifier system. It is not only a HEPA filter, but it also it's a science backed FDA cleared air purification system that really helps folks optimize indoor air quality. They have generously donated two of their units, their pro and their mini, for us to give away in our scavenger hunt giveaway.
We also have an amazing Carepod humidifier. That is an incredible product that they have donated to us as well. They have made humidifiers easy to clean. There are only three pieces to take apart to wash. There's no like hidden crevices, super easy. There are no hidden costs related to filters with this humidifier. It is super simple to use. I am really excited to be able to gift one of the care pod cubes as well.
These three products alone in our giveaway are valued at nearly $2,000. I am so grateful, so thankful for their company's support of what we're doing.
Our Podcast History
Let's switch gears for a little bit and have one more exciting announcement.
This podcast has had already one re-invention and initially started as the Success with Sjogren's podcast and I quickly realized that we were going to be getting into conversations that ventured beyond just Sjogren's. We're going to be encompassing more of all the things that I am interested in, involved in, and the people that I like to connect with within this chronic illness and allergy immunology space.
So I noodled on that a little bit and ended up going with my nickname, The Crunchy Allergist, I love it. It's my nickname. I think really encompasses the fact that I am a scientist, physician, obviously with allergists in there, but that I also value things that are a little more granola thing. Things are a little more natural and have gone with this naturally minded, but scientifically grounded tagline.
I realized pretty quickly though that also confused people because not everyone realizes that an allergist is also an immunologist and that that has a bigger conversation to be had outside of just runny nose and asthma and food allergies. I wasn't completely happy with where that was.
I also thought that name centered a little too much on me and really I wanted this conversation to continue to evolve between other experts in this area, in advocates, in those within the chronic illness and autoimmune inflammatory illness space.
The other thing that I realized was that one of the things that I craved so much when I was first diagnosed and one of the things that I repeatedly hear from nearly every patient, every coaching client, folks from our community will come up time and time again is we crave a feeling of confidence in knowing that we're going to be okay. Feeling a little more certain, a little more grounded, a little more in just this feeling like, "Oh, okay! Yeah, this sucks, but. I'm going to keep going."
Also, since I started the podcast have become a life coach and that has continued to evolve in how I have developed within my personal and professional development in how I view all these things and continuing to be evolving and growing and changing in how I approach my own health and healing, but also in helping others as they approach their health and healing as well.
The Becoming Immune Confident Podcast
The podcast today and for ever after will be the Becoming Immune Confident podcast.
I want to talk through each of these words a little bit, and I'm going to share more about this in my keynote during the summit, but the word "becoming" encompasses this idea that we are always evolving, we are changing, we are growing, we are in motion that work is never done, that the journey is the destination.
" Immune" encompasses a few things. First of all it encompasses our entire immune system, right? Allergies, asthma autoimmunity, inflammatory conditions. It encompasses something a little bit bigger from just that scientific topical ground. But immunity and being immune also is our bodies memory to things that we have encountered before and it is that resiliency that we have in seeing those things again.
So I see it not only as the scientific and the topical, but also starting to evolve into this," Oh, okay. I've been through this. I can do this. I have seen hard days. I have made it through to the other side and I can keep on."
That folds really nicely into this idea of confidence.
Confidence is this feeling you get when you can sit up, put your shoulders back, stand up tall. Our feet are firmly on the ground and we trust in our own abilities. We speak with conviction, and we know that even though our future is uncertain no matter what, whether we have Sjogrens or we're totally healthy, our future is uncertain.
That we have, and we are working to build, the skills, develop the traits, become the person who knows that they can take on whatever is thrown their direction and that we can appreciate that we are on this journey of developing these skills and these traits. That we have our goal in mind, but really the true goal, what we're really aiming for, is the skill and character and trait development that is going to set us up for success and allow us to stand confident.
I am so excited to share all of this and more with you all. As we look to the next few months, I want to just give a quick little preview.
Becoming Immune Confident 12-Weel Program
After the virtual Sjogren's summit, we are going to be opening enrollment for the Becoming Immune Confident 12-week program, which is really going to help folks get in tune with the mindset and the skills and the knowledge they need for nutrition and other aspects of lifestyle. To help support their health and healing for the longterm. To help ensure that they are able then to stand confidently and navigate healthcare, navigate wellness, navigate lifestyle in order to fully support their immune system health.
That's going to be done without any long lists of crazy supplements or complicated diet schemes. It's simple. It's sustainable. It's science supported. It's going to be an intimate group of people that come together in a space where we also can be vulnerable with one another. Knowing that element of human to human connection is so powerful when it comes to the healing process. Learning from one another and allowing ourselves to unfold and unravel a little bit before we are able then to come back together and become this beautiful butterfly.
If you know anything about caterpillar becoming a butterfly, essentially, when that caterpillar goes into its chrysalis, it becomes goo. It literally totally unravels before it is then able to come back together.
So this 12 week experience is really going to allow us all to reset, reboot, and connect with one another and ourselves. Set the stage for the rest of our lives, and I could not be more excited to be embarking on that journey.
If you want to make sure that you are getting all of the updates. We will make sure to list the sign up for the wait list so that you can stay in the loop for when applications open up, we're going to do a very quick and easy application process to make sure we're really getting a group that's going to work well together and that you're a right fit for the program.
We're going to kick off late April, early May and take this summer by storm.
I cannot wait to get started to be working with an amazing group of folks.
I can't wait to see you all at the summit.
If you want to get your tickets, if you're not registered yet, I would encourage you to head over to www.sjogrenssummit.com.
We'll have the link in the show notes to get registered. We have elected this year to really try to have a more equitable ticket pricing option.
We did a post and an email on that recently, but there's a pay what you are able option, which includes free for those who may be in a rough spot. Don't have ability to have expendable income right now and that is A okay. We want you to still to be able to participate.
The reality is it's still cost money to put on an event like this and there also is general admission ticket, which is $25. That's going to get you ongoing access to this over 50 hours of content, and access to the digital swag bag and other goodies.
Then we also have the Pay It forward VIP Sjogren, superhero ticket, which is $150.
This includes a box of samples and swag and all sorts of goodies that is sent directly to your door if you're in the US. Also a big thank you from us, in helping fund this work and allowing us to do this work because there have been months and months. Hundreds and hundreds of hours of work that have gone into this.
It is a labor of love and I am loving almost every minute of it. I really can't wait to see it all come together this weekend.
I have one last request and that would be, if you would please consider sharing these resources with your network, whether it's the podcast or one of our social posts or the summit, if you can help us get the word out. It would mean so much. We don't have a budget for paid marketing. So really word of mouth is so critically important.
Your reviews mean the world to us, as is your feedback. So I would love to hear that as well.
I hope you are having an incredible week or at least as good as a week as you can.
Stay tuned for next week. We will have an exciting recap from the summit and I look forward to seeing you this weekend.