As I previously mentioned, there were seven patients (and two spouse caregivers) at our Boston meeting last week. I have already written about Jim and Jerry. Tonight I would like to share my impressions of our only female patient, Gloria, and her complete polar opposite, Jerry Colihan. Gloria and her husband, Jack, live in Townsend, Mass. Gloria is an incredibly brave woman. She has a number of complications caused by her multiple myeloma and some that are unrelated. Gloria has battled through depression and an unforgiving health care system to become the strong patient advocate she is today. He input at the meeting was insightful and from the heart. She was the most emotional of the group. Conversely, Jerry Colihan from Lawrenceville, NJ is strong and defiant. Willing to do whatever it took to live a normal life, Jerry endured tandem transplants six years ago and has been fine ever since. Jerry is very self reliant and self confident. He has had few complications since his successful transplants and chooses to ignore and defy his cancer. I was pleased he was there to listen to Gloria’s story – to share her difficult journey. Likewise, it was great for Gloria to experience Jerry’s unwavering self confidence. That is what I love most about patients meeting and sharing with other patients! There is a bond there – instant credibility – which always seems to strengthen all parties. Gloria and Jerry are as different as night and day. Yet they are also the same. They share lives with the same cancer, multiple myeloma.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat