WOW! If this huge crowd is any indication, having multiple myeloma is the “in thing!” I feel like I’m reporting on the “red carpet” of the myeloma world! Look–over there–it’s Susie Novis, President of the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF)–and I just got a hug! There’s Dr. Brian Durie, co-founder of the multiple myeloma Durie-Salmon Staging System. To my right is a researcher and presenter at the ASH meeting tomorrow. On my left I catch the eye of the IMF’s Kelly Cox. Kelly travels world-wide, meeting with myeloma support groups and administering conferences such as this. “Pat, you made it!” (BOOM! Another hug!) I wasn’t quite sure if he meant he was happy I had made it here, to the conference, or that I was still alive and well! You see, Kelly was one of the first rays of light I experienced after my original diagnosis. Deep in despair and heading toward depression, Kelly “talked me down” on a particularly bad Friday evening in the early spring of 2007. I write about that fateful encounter in my first book, Living with Multiple Myeloma. “How long since you started treatment?” Kelly asked. “31 cycles of Revlimid and counting.” I replied with a smile, adding “And it’s still working!”
I had better get inside. There is a long, long line waiting to pick-up box lunches for a quick bite, prior to kick-off. True, I’m kidding a bit about the red carpet thing. But only a bit. The conference hall is packed! I tried counting attendees–my best guess–over 400.
I’m going to hit the “publish post” button now. More to come later tonight.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat