The NCMLS at OMG2013! Day 2


CML’ers Marti Davis, Erin Havel, Justin Ozuna, and CEO of the NCMLS, Greg Stephens, squeeze in one last picture together on the final day of OMG2013

This weekend, the phrase “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” didn’t apply, at least, not when it comes to this blog. With day one filled with a wealth of knowledge and information, it was time to move into day two. Breakout groups on the second day included navigating cancer and careers, expressive writing, caregiver resources, among others.

As difficult as it was to process all of the information that was provided to us over the weekend, it was just as difficult trying to sit down and share it all! In between pictures, conversations, networking, gelato (mmm!), pool time, and the craziness of the Vegas strip, we were able to put together some information to share with you.

Expressive Writing For Wellness and Personal Growth
This session was about exploring how the healing power of writing, journaling, and expressing yourself on paper can channel, anger, fear and hope. Panelists included Suleika Jaouad, Writer and NYTimes Well Blog Contributor, Annie Goodman, Journalist/Blogger and Co-Host for the Stupid Cancer Show, and April Capil, Project Manager for Markit.

The writing process is a very therapeutic and cathartic method of channeling emotions throughout a cancer diagnosis. There are different reasons for writing; for yourself, to share information about your diagnosis and treatment, to educate others about the process, and/or to meet others going through the same struggles. Start a blog, keep a journal, self-publish a book, just get your thoughts down. Writing exercises the mind and provides an outlet you might not have otherwise had.

Warmup Exercise: Before you begin, write down anything and everything on your mind for two minutes. On a separate sheet, pick any 10 letters, create a category and write words that start with the letters you’ve written down. Circle three of those ten words. Write for two minutes on each topic. This method is about connecting the right and left brain, in order to think outside of the box. Once you’re warmed up, let it flow!

Navigating Careers & Insurance
Led by Rebeccas Nellis, VP of Programs and Strategy at Cancer and Careers and Joanna Morales, CEO of Navigating Cancer Survivorship, this session was dedicated to empowering and educating people with cancer to thrive in their workplace and know their workplace rights with respect to human resources, health insurance and legal and disability entitlements.

Where to begin? This two hour session was crammed with useful information about the blurry waters of the cancer and career merge, everything from information needs (medical and treatment, work, and treatment info), employment rights (Americans with Disability Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, discrimination protections, reasonable accommodation  etc.), individual state employment laws, protecting your online identity, and navigating through cancer disclosure on networking/social media sites.

Visit for a plethora of useful information relation related to your protections and rights as a cancer survivor or caregiver. You can also follow @CancerRights and @CancerAndCareer on Twitter to network with Joanna and Rebecca and get realtime updates relating to this topic.

Overall, this was an incredible conference. It was great to meet so many people who are going/have gone through many of the same cancer experiences that we have. The positivity, encouragement, hope, and humor that was shared amongst survivors over the three day weekend was more the new reality I had hoped for when I was informed life would be different moving forward. It was an honor to represent the NCMLS and an experience I’ll never forget.