I was diagnosed three years ago tomorrow! I had never heard of ASH and knew little about multiple myeloma. I’d been a registered nurse for 24 years and a pediatric nurse practitioner for 14 years at the time. However, my career was solely spent in the world of little people. So when I was diagnosed in 2013 with myeloma, I found myself with many questions. I simply wanted to be a patient. My learning curve was steep, yet my desire to learn was great.
Fast forward three years, I take every opportunity I can to surround myself by experts in multiple myeloma. Some of my greatest lessons have been learned from other patients.
When offered the opportunity to attend the 58th annual American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting, I accepted the honor. Lifelong learning was essential in my healthcare career, and I’ve come to appreciate it’s importance as a patient as well. The last eight years of my career have been spent in academia presenting and researching issues of interest. But this will be different. Networking with more than 20,000 experts and brilliant minds in the field is a rare opportunity.
My goal in becoming a support group leader was to empower and support other patients. I look forward to attending ASH as a patient as well as an advocate for such empowerment and support. I look forward to the educational experience.
When given the diagnosis of myeloma in 2013, two words resonated clearly to me from that day: cancer and hope. I was told that there is hope with MM. Hope instantly became my mantra.
I look to be reminded of hope during the meeting, offer hope to others through the experience, and blog and tweet messages of hope. Most importantly, it is my hope that ASH 2016 brings us a little closer to a cure.
Last year, I followed many IMF leaders on twitter during ASH15. I recall reading Yelak Biru’s IMF blog where he wrote, “The goal is to convert your fear to realistic and actionable hope!” It is my desire that attending ASH 2016 will help me launch to a higher degree of actionable hope.
As I prepare to attend my first ASH meeting, I am excitedly overwhelmed by the breadth and wealth of knowledge that awaits. The progress in treatment regimen since my diagnosis three years ago is unbelievable. I enthusiastically await to learn of what’s yet to come. My goal is to to capture information about the newest treatment regimens and best practices to disseminate through social media. I’m sure I will also learn so much from the IMF support group leaders attending ASH this year as well. I look froward to being a voice for myeloma and delivering meeting highlights in a way that offers hope to other newly diagnosed patients.
As I reflect on Thanksgiving a week away, I am thankful for so much! Among those to thank are the many researchers, practitioners, support group leaders, and the people of the IMF who are champions for myeloma.
Wishing you Faith and Hope,
“Faith and hope work hand in hand, however while hope focuses on the future, faith focuses on the now.” David Odunaiya