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ASH 2013: A Nonstop Learning Experience

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New Orleans, LA, December 10, 2013--I come away from my first ASH conference amazed at the scope of information presented. It has been a nonstop learning experience. 

Since ASH is geared to doctors and healthcare professionals, much of the terminology was difficult to follow as a layperson. But I couldn't help but recognize the commitment and determination of these doctors and researchers to find a path to better myeloma treatments and, hopefully soon, a cure.

As ASH kicked off on Friday, the International Myeloma Foundation's symposium discussing best options for myeloma treatment provided an opportunity to hear BOTH sides of an issue and to question the experts. How often do we get to do this? Much talked about was not new, but to see so many doctors, both presenting and here to learn, (some so young I certainly thought they were teenagers) was encouraging. There is comfort knowing that myeloma is being addressed by many.

Some of our lunches and dinners were working times to discuss and clarify what we learned during the various presentations. Saturday, during lunch, we learned that there are many ways to look at an issue and that it's okay to step out of the box. Isn't that what the BSRI is?  We all need to do that at times.

Even though my personal reason for championing a cure for myeloma has long since passed away, my support group leaders and members have become like family, and as much as I would miss them very much, a cure would mean no need for the group. I vote CURE.

As ASH continued, we support group leaders were privileged to be invited to the IMF's international journalists' workshop where the presentations were delivered to a non-medical expert audience, which made the information clear and easier for us to understand. THANK YOU!!

I'm anxious to share what I learned here with anyone and everyone I know.

As I head home physically exhausted, I am encouraged and enlightened by the information gleaned here. New treatments, new ways to use existing treatments, more pharmaceutical companies investing in myeloma research and the IMF's Black Swan Research Initiative.
There is much for the myeloma patient to be encouraged by and hopeful for.

Thank you IMF for this wonderful opportunity.

God bless you all, have strength and hope.

Anne Pacowta 
Florida Regional Director of Support Groups

The IMF at ASH 2013

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