We have all heard the expression, “Life is stranger than fiction.” So you tell me – what are the odds that, on my flight back home to Tampa today that I, a multiple myeloma patient, activist and author, would sit next to a pathologist who specializes in multiple myeloma?
Let me introduce you to Tony Safo. Tony is a 32 year old pathologist with the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His lovely wife is a family doctor. The couple has a family of their own – a two year old daughter with another baby on the way. How do I know this? Because as we prepared for take-off, I noticed the young man sitting next to me was studying carefully crafted notes, written on a shop-worn legal pad. These were technical, medically looking notes. Was he a chemist? A CSI style lab tech? A medical student? Looking over his shoulder, I determined the notes were indeed medical. Then he flipped the page on his legal pad and – there it was – mm. Under a heading labeled multiple myeloma were a list of bone marrow myeloma cell percentages, along with several related definitions. At that point I had to interject. “I have multiple myeloma.” I said as I pointed to the “mm” on the page. “Really?” he replied. “I’m a pathologist with the U of M on my way to take my ten year hematopathology boards in Tampa tomorrow.”
Now that is crazy! Poor unsuspecting Tony, stuck sitting next to me on a two and one-half hour flight while he tried to study as I asked question after question and, unprompted, began to share my recent story as a myeloma patient. What did I learn during our long, somewhat turbulent flight? Did either one of us get air-sick while the plane bumped and groaned along the edge of the sky-high thunder clouds which dotted the sky between Louisville and Tampa? Was Tony forced to ask a flight attendant for a different seat in an attempt to elude the annoyingly inquisitive passenger sitting in the window seat next to him? (Sorry, Tony! The flight was full… There was no escape!) Tune in tomorrow for the interesting and informative details.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat