I asked reader and caregiver, Lori Puente, to write an article for our site, describing the care her husband, David, has received since November, 2008 at the University of Arkansas Myeloma Research Center. Lori is a strong advocate for myeloma patients everywhere. She feels that many patients are often not presented with a full range of unbiased treatment options after their diagnosis. Here is Part One of this multi-part series:
I have been asked to write “my story” on why my husband and I went to Little Rock for his treatment of Multiple Myeloma. Suffice to say, we were driven there by unprofessional, uninformed, pessimistic physicians at very excellent reputed medical institutions in our area. I often think I should send them all a “Thank You” note for being such horses hind parts, because had they not been, we would have let them treat Dave, and I know now, after the fact, it would have been disastrous. While medical intervention is sometimes required, I also put a lot of stock in the mental and spiritual outlook. If you read “Anatomy of An Illness” by Norman Cousins, you will have a clearer understanding of my point of view on physical illness, great and small. Couple that with the fact that my husband tends to be conservative and often pessimistic. He had never been sick, and this was a completely new experience for him, a huge learning curve on understanding what was happening to his body, what was important, what wasn’t, and embedded in all of that was a crippling fear that he was going to die from this thing called Multiple Myeloma. When this happened, I knew getting him “treated” would occur, but what type of treatment I began researching – generally. As his wife, who loves him, I knew that I needed to find him a cheerleader with an MD on their sleeve. He simply could not be treated by someone who did not give him HOPE. Our initial consultations with stem cell docs (which was the course of treatment we were given, the only course offered – another argument I won’t take up here) was simply intolerable to me. In fact, if I could have gone without Dave for the consultations, it would have been better for our very personal situation, in my view of it. After each consultation, all hope accomplished had been squashed. I had to reestablish my non MD credibility with him and spend days getting him back into a hopeful frame of mind. I was struggling to get his “head in the game!” Not too mention all my own fears! But that’s another story…
Lori is very passionate about her husband’s care and the help they have received from the University of Arkansas Myeloma Research Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. The largest multiple myeloma reasearch facility in the U.S., Little Rock, as Lori calls it, has been the center of much controversy in recent years. Their aggressive Total Therapy approach to treating newly diagnosed patients has been debated on this site and others for years. You can check back in our archives for other articles about Little Rock if you like. (search under Total Therapy and University of Arkansas Myeloma Research Center) My intention here is to help expose as many patients as possible to as many different therapy options as possible. The University of Arkansas Myeloma Research Center should be strongly considered by any multiple myeloma patient, along with Mayo Clinic, Dana-Farber, Cedars-SinaiI, Moffitt and/or a number of other institutions which specialize in treating multiple myeloma. I would like to thank Lori for taking the time to write and submit this multi-part expose’ about her, and her husband’s, experiences at Little Rock. Part Two will run tomorrow.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat