Every two years, the myeloma scientific community gathers to share what they have learned and put their heads together on where they should focus their work as they strive to discover better ways to treat and, ultimately cure myeloma. The IXth International Myeloma Workshop began with focused sessions on May 23, 2003 in Salamanca, Spain, hosted by Drs. Jesus San Miguel and Joan Blade (above, left).
As he finished packing, praying that he didn' t forget something important like his contact lens fluid, the Unknown Patient was struck by the realization that Salamanca would be the fifth such workshop that he had attended. The first had been in La Baule, France in 1995, with subsequent meetings in Boston, Stockholm and Banff Springs. Besides all of the mileage and long days spent listenting to complex, sometimes unfathomable, but nonetheless riveting scientific presentations, it's amazing to see and hear the incredible progress that has been made in the eight years that have passed since La Baule. One obivous difference is the size of the meeting, which has now grown to include over 900 people. The other, more important difference is the content of the presentations. There are many more new ideas and this is a very good thing not only for today's myeloma patients but also for those yet to be diagnosed. There is real cause for optimism. There are new options that weren't there yesterday and there will be even more tomorrow. The Unknown Patient is now thirteen years into his personal struggle with myeloma. Since his diagnosis, he's seen three of his children graduate high school and two graduate college. The third college graduation is just two years away. The Unknown Patient has now set his sights on weddings and grandchildren, something he dared not dream in the dark days after his diagnosis. Well, enough of these soppy musings, on to the conference!
After a long, overnight flight to Madrid and what seemed like an even longer bus ride to Salamanca, the Unknown Patient finally arrived at his hotel and took a much needed and culturally-correct siesta. For some Unknown reason, the phone rang not once, but twice during his siesta, as well-meaning friends called to remind the unconscious Unknown about the meeting of the International Myeloma Foundation's International Working Group meeting, to be held that evening at the Casino Del Torme. Though he was a bit groggy and not thrilled to be woken up, the Unknown Patient was glad to get the reminder and the details of how to get to the meeting.
The remainder of this Unknown Patient Photo Journal and meeting summary will be developed as the conference proceeds and as the Unknown Patient finds a few minutes to download pictures from his digital camera and cook up some web pages to explain what they are. Given the hectic pace of these meetings, it's Unknown when your Unknown compatriot will have the time to do this. But, somehow, he'll try to get it done before he drops into his seat on the bus to start the long journey to his Unknown home.
You can use the links or buttons below to read the rest of this photo journal:
International Myeloma Foundation meeting to discuss two important, new international collaborations:
Please note that the Unknown Patient is a patient, not a doctor and not a scientist. This summary represents a layman's view of what was said at the conference and should form a basis for raising awareness of issues that could be discussed with a qualified professional. In no way should anything contained in this report be taken as medical advice or form the basis for action without first consulting a qualified medical professional who is familiar with your specific medical situation.