I am a Doctor of Physics (but not of Medicine). The IMF Clinical Conference in St. Petersburg was the first conference I attended not as a lecturer but as a student and, unfortunately, as a patient. The meeting took place at the BMT Center where, at the time, I was receiving VAD treatment. For months, I had observed the preparations for this conference by a small but very dedicated group of doctors and students under the leadership of Prof. Eleonora Podoltseva. I was diagnosed with myeloma in July 2000 after one year of treatment for osteoporosis (I was misdiagnosed in both Russia and Switzerland, where I worked at the time!). Immediately, I went on the Internet, found the helpful IMF website and received a lot of educational information. In addition, I quickly received a supportive e-mail from the beautiful Susie
The St. Petersburg IMF Clinical Conference featured talks by famous myeloma scientists Prof. Durie, Prof. Ludwig and Prof. Boccadoro. I had read a number of their myeloma papers but hearing their lectures live was very emotional for me. I didn’t understand the finer medical details but the lectures were very helpful for my myeloma education and for my future treatment.
Before the start of the second day of the conference, Profs. Durie and Boccadoro joined Prof. Podolseva for her rounds of the hematology department. I was one of the myeloma patients fortunate to receive consultations from the visiting IMF doctors.
During the last decade, Russia’s economic problems have had a dramatic negative effect on our medicine and on people’s health. Modern myeloma treatments (peripheral blood stem cell transplantation, Neupogen, Aredia, thalidomide, etc.) are prohibitively expensive for us. The integration of Russian medicine into international associations (IMF is first) and real international medical help with drugs and equipment will be invaluable for Russian myeloma patients.
I hope that this first myeloma conference for Russian doctors will pave the way for an IMF Patient & Family Seminar.