On the other side of the camera

I spent about 5 years working in TV news. And I really enjoyed my time there. It’s fast-paced, you have to think on your toes and you never know what might happen that day. I was always in a behind-the-scenes position, whether that included writing the copy for air or determining the stories for coverage.

This week, I got a unique opportunity to switch sides. A group from Novo Nordisk came by to record an interview with me about living with Crohn’s disease. The reason for it is because they are currently developing medications for patients with inflammatory bowel disease and they will be using these interviews to show their employees why they are working on these drugs and so they can see the people it will be impacting.

These drugs are in the early stages of testing, so it will likely be years before they are available to the public, but I have a lot of respect for what this company and these people are doing. And this isn’t some schlub operation. These people came from Denmark, where the company is headquartered, with all of sorts of professional equipment and gear. There were four of them that I worked with: a producer, a photographer, a sound engineer and a member of the R&D team.

They set up their equipment for the interview, moving things around and setting up a good shot. It was definitely interesting being the one who was being interviewed. I got a little nervous and tongue-tied at times and had to stop/rewind when thinking through my past history with Crohn’s. They tell me it went good, so I’m hoping they weren’t just trying to be nice! After that, we shot some B-roll of me doing things around the house such as reading, blogging and taking Rylie for a walk.

interview set up video behind the scenes recording filmingIt was a very interesting experience to have a camera crew following me around, asking me to sit in a certain light and to have them filming me while I’m doing things that I would normally do during the day (I actually am writing this sentence while they are filming me blogging and writing. So this sentence will actually be a part of the filming in the end.)

They had me sit for a while as I typed and ask you can see from the previous paragraph, I did some actual blogging while they were filming!

It was a great experience. They were such a nice group and I really enjoyed getting to work with them. They made the process fun and not so daunting, even though they were speaking Danish most of the time, so I have no idea what they were really saying. It may be a long while for them to get the final product out, but I will look forward to seeing that in the future.

I feel really proud to be a part of this. To be able to provide information and motivation to potentially the tens-of-thousands of people who work for Novo Nordisk, makes me feel like I’m making a difference. I pray that what we’ve done today will make a major impact on the future of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

I got connected with this group through my GI at UNC, so when they found out that I was heading back to see my surgeon the next day, they asked if they could tag along. So I met up with them yesterday morning and they filmed me walking into the hospital and checking in and sitting down with my doctor.

There was another cool surprise that came out of this. They were already planning on being at UNC to interview another patient. When I posted on my Stolen Colon facebook page that I was doing the interview with them, I received a message from someone who I had connected with online in the past and turns out, she was the other patient they were interviewing. Such a small world! She doesn’t even live in the area, but is working with my GI and the research lab at UNC while she’s on break from school.

stephanie hughes sami kennedy interview meeting friends unc stolen colon crohns ostomy colitis blogSo of course when I found out she was going to be at UNC as well, I said we had to meet up! So even though we only had about 20 minutes between the end of my appointment and the time she began her interview, it was great to get to sit down with her shortly and hear more about her story and how she ended up here, of all places. So everyone, meet Sami. You can read some about her life and living with ulcerative colitis on ImproveCareNow’s blog. Part of what she’s doing at UNC is research on IBD and that’s what she’s hoping to pursue professionally. I’ll be excited to see where this takes her in the future.

Overall, it was a great experience being on this other side of things and I hope for some more great opportunities in the future.

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