It's hard to believe that it's been 7 days since I set foot in the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville for the 2012 NWTF Convention. I know it has been, my calendar says it has been, but my brain and my body still feel like I've just returned home.
I'll be honest, since my diagnosis of MS I've avoided large trade shows and conventions such as the NWTF Convention. I get into sensory overload very easily, When I get into sensory overload, the MS symptoms start popping up , and ultimately- if I don't remove myself from all the sensory input, my central nervous system just melts down from the perceived assault, and I turn into something that resembles a bowl of jello, that occasionally mumbles something incoherent.
|Breakfast with the Outdoor Sisters and Karen Lee, Editor of Turkey Country magazine.|
|My pals Jane and Marti..getting their "Gangsta Turkey Hunter Chica " game faces on at the Sponsor Reception on Thursday evening|
I learned years ago, that I could sit at home and whine about what my MS wouldn't allow me to do, or I could just make a plan, gather information, and find a way to get up off my fanny and do what ever I wanted to. While some things truly are not possible anymore wihout the risk of injury or being an extremely annoying pill of a person to my companions, for the most part, with a little forthought, a little planning and few pieces of adaptive equipment and an adaptive schedule, I am game for most anything.
|So what if my legs gave out? Team WON to the rescue with Titan's newest Hybrid UTV. If it can haul your big game, it could surely haul my broken down carcass.|
My "WAAAAAY Type A" personality just will not allow me to sit and wallow in self pity. My extreme love and passion for all things outdoors won't sit still for that couch potato business either. Good Lord. I might miss something perfert and wonderful and awe inspiring if I stayed inside and whined " I have MS, My life is over. "
One of the reasons I decided I could and would pull off this trip to NWTF was the fact that , all the cool girls were going . My outdoor sisters were going to be there en masse. The outdoor sisterhood that helps, supports, and even occasionally chastises each other. The outdoor sisterhood ranks as number one as the best support system of smart, talented women that I have encountered in my lifetime.
I knew that by immersing myself in this group of women, several who have been on excursions with me and know when to grab me by the scruff of the neck and tell me to take my type A fanny and go sit down and rest, it was doable.
|Who could resist those comfy chairs and couches at the Mossy Oak exhibit? A great place to rest weary legs for a few minutes.|
I was surrounded my pals from Womens Outdoor News, the WON Guns as we call ourselves; Barb Baird, Stacey Huston, Tammy Bellew, Paige Eissinger, Marti Davis and Nancy Jo Adams . Then there was the added attraction of more outdor sisters, - Kristen Monroe, Karen Butler, and Shelly Ray from HerCamo Shop. My traveling companion was my dear friend, NWTF sponsor and fellow woods roamer Jane Kolmer - the art and graphics whiz from Action Graphics that has made some fantastic banners for Team WON; from the Carp Caper to the one proudly displayed at the NWTF women's events WON sponsored.
With a team like that, a safety net like that crew, I was certain I could pull it off, and if I couldn't? Well, this group of strong, fit, healthy, women would have no problem carting out the body and tossing it into the river if I expired .
I steeled my nervous system, made my plan and headed south in cloud of dust. It was a whirlwind 4 days, and I learned much about anything and everything that could possibly relate to turkeys, turkey hunting, turkey conservation, turkey calling, turkey...turkey... turkey....
I also learned some valuable lessons about how to approach a large convention or trade show with MS (or any chronic disease/neurological disorder for that matter) .
Most importantly, I learned that with the Outdoor Sisterhood, ANYTHING is possible and doable- no matter how daunting it may seem at the onset.
|When all else failed, there were plenty of "natural" nooks and corners where I could sit, relax, and recharge in the Atrium at the Gaylord Opryland Resort|
Stay tuned dear friends, for the coming posts as I share with you my NWTF Covention journal, and my experiences that ranged from funny to frustrating.
Right now, I'm back to following rule #1 for me; for every day of an event that is large, physically and/or mentally taxing, allow an equal number of days to recuperate and rest when I get home. My couch is still my best friend at the moment!