This spring, I was so honored to give the Keynote Presentation at the Southern Sleep Society’s 34th Annual Meeting’s Founders Awards Banquet in San Destin, FL.
The Southern Sleep Society is the oldest regional sleep society in America. Their 34th Annual Meeting attracted over two hundred participants including sleep doctors, researchers and technicians. As a speaker, I was invited to sit-in on all conference sessions which I enjoyed immensely.
I prepared my speech carefully, but I felt a bit sheepish surrounded by so many experts. They talk to patients constantly – what could I possibly offer? Would I put them to sleep?
A ball of nerves sat heavy in my stomach as I entered the Grand San Destin Resort on on Saturday night for the Founders Awards Banquet. After dinner and dessert, it was my turn to take the podium.
For 15 seconds, I felt like a deer in headlights. Perhaps this was a big mistake. Then, I took off. My stories flowed easily, as I weaved through the “hightlights” tour of my experience with narcolepsy. Surprisingly, my subtle jokes were so well received that I added a few extra. I was 100% myself.
Everyone’s eyes were pealed. When I described my worst cataplexy before treatment, I noticed a few tears in the audience.
When I finished, everyone stood and clapped. I got a standing ovation!
Many sleep doctors, researchers and technicians introduced themselves afterwards. Each expressed incredible passion for helping their patients with sleep disorders like narcolepsy. I met doctors who care. I don’t know if it’s a southern thing or what, but I returned from Florida more hopeful than ever!
Thank you, Southern Sleep Society for this incredible opportunity of a lifetime.