Attending an event like the American Society of Hematology (ASH) meetings is exciting and overwhelming. Physicians, researchers, nurses and drug company reps all racing from building to building. And it is a massive building. Five massive floors all connected by escalators and crosswalks. Next door sits the Georgia Dome, the crown jewel of one of the largest convention centers in the world.
Hope and promise ooze from every overcrowded meeting room. I have already run into people from France, Switzerland, Argentina, Spain, Canada and dozens of different U.S. cities, too. Watching over 400 clinicians and researchers line-up and wait to eat a brown bag lunch and sit on small, cramped chairs in order to hear the IMF's Dr. Durie and other top myeloma experts speak was amazing!
I'm one of ten myeloma patients and caregivers working with the IMF at this year's ASH. Our job is to use social media to help communicate and connect with our myeloma brothers and sisters; to pass along the exciting news, sites and sounds from this year's ASH in Atlanta.
This morning while I sat listening to Italy's Dr. Antonio Palumbo, I couldn't' shake an almost surreal feeling of irony. On one hand, I'm fascinated by all of the data and myeloma research. I'm hopeful as I gaze across a room that seats 6000 people and it is half full at 7:30 am on a Saturday morning. These people are dedicated. They work hard and care about their patients.
But sitting there, looking at all the graphs and charts and overall survival numbers, reality suddenly jumps-up and bites me in the ass.
These people are talking about me. My life living with a yet incurable cancer. And they are talking like I'm not in the room. Cold, matter of fact statistics remind me that I could die soon.
Or maybe not! I snap out of my momentary funk long enough to hear how much longer some patients are living after being given therapy X,Y and Z. How much longer? The Mayo Clinic's Dr. Rajkumar says up to a decade or more. Now that's progress!
Suddenly I'm back to my annoyingly optimistic self. RVD side effects? No big deal! And if I'm I'm tired and dragging, I'll take a nap!
ASH is an important, amazing event. I'm just glad I'm here to share it with all of you! I'll worry about tomorrow tomorrow.
Feel good and keep smiling!