Reflecting on hope

| John De Flice

“Yes, you can sit on my bed and be hopeful.” —John DeFlice

There were two important things I learned early on in my medical residency.  One, do not sit on a patient’s bed unless you are invited to. The bed is the domain in a foreign environment of the hospital. Two, you never take away a patient’s hope. Hope is important in developing coping skills for chronic and serious disease. 

Hope is a private domain.

I often read and reread Emily Dickinson’s poem on hope:

Hope is the thing with feathers (254)

Hope is the thing with feathers 

That perches in the soul, 

And sings the tune without the words, 

And never stops at all, 


And sweetest in the gale is heard;          

And sore must be the storm 

That could abash the little bird 

That kept so many warm. 


I’ve heard it in the chillest land, 

And on the strangest sea;         

Yet, never, in extremity, 

It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson, 1830–1886

The data presented at the the 2016 ASH annual meeting provides a great deal of hope for me.

New therapies provide a great deal of hope for the treatment of multiple myeloma.

New therapies include protease inhibitors, the IMiDs, host one deacetylase inhibitors, kinase inhibitors, and monoclonal antibodies. Additionally, new novel therapies include Venetoclax and Selinexor. The cutting-edge immunotherapies are also an exciting treatment option, including CAR-T cell therapy.

As these treatments are developed, hopefully they will provide promising outcomes in the treatment of Multiple Myeloma.

I had a stem cell transplant in 2011, and today, I aam a co-leader at the Land of Enchantment Multiple Myeloma Support Group with Ms. Susan Benjamin in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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John DeFlice, MD

Diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2010, John DeFelice and his wife shortly thereafter attended several Los Angeles Patient & Family seminars. Today, he is co-leader of the Land of Enchantment Multiple Myeloma Support Group. Excited to attend ASH 2016, John hopes to learn about new therapies for relapse and about data in regards to maintenance therapy.

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