By Yelak Biru
Late last week, Dr. Durie summarized key findings from the 56th Annual ASH meeting in San Francisco, CA. Support Group Leaders and patient advocates, Jack Aiello and Jim Omel have each done a superb job of summarizing the scientific data from this year’s ASH as well. If you’ve missed the live broadcast of the IMWG debate on “Making Sense of Treatment”, you should take time to review the replay.
The most anticipated post ASH teleconferences is Dr. Durie’s Best of ASH – What patients and caregivers need to know. If you’ve not yet registered, you should do so immediately. Dr. Durie will review the ASH findings concisely and step by step in terms patients and caregivers can understand. You can also review and guide your doctor to all of the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) publications, including the International Myeloma Working Group updated criteria for the diagnosis of multiple myeloma.
Mike Katz has facilitated the recording of dozens of webcast recordings from #ASH14 to be replayed at IMF TV.
At the conclusion of this year’s ASH, #ASH14, Jim Omel and I were flying back home to DFW seating next to each other. About 30 minutes before landing, the chief steward announced the captain will be performing a special landing procedure, and per FAA regulations we must COMPLETELY turn OFF all electronic equipment small or large. We later found out that the captain was going to attempt to perform an instrument guided landing procedure due to the fog that swallowed the Dallas-Fort-Worth area. Blinded by the fog, trusting her years of training, equipment, technology and procedure, our captain successfully landed that fully loaded 737 at DFW airport. Happy we landed safely, Jim and I embraced and said our goodbyes promising to meet again next year at one of the many advocacy meetings.
Like flying blind and landing in the fog, living with myeloma most times is both an art and a science. In addition to your local hematologist, you need a myeloma specialist on your team. You need that training, experience, and intuition a specialist brings to successfully help you navigate the myeloma fog. You need to know your target-landing runway. Is it MRD zero or negative; is it disease stabilization; is it symptom management; or is it quality of life? The FAA recently reduced the fog landing visibility requirement at some airports and equipped aircrafts from 2400 feet to 1800 feet. You also need to keep abreast of myeloma treatment, staging and screening developments. Do you need a single agent, or do you need a two or three drug combo? Which three drugs? An IMid, an HDAC inhibitor or a proteasome inhibitor? How about MRI based screening? Heavy light chain testing? Is it time to enroll in clinical trials to try antibody treatment or do you need to mix it up with the “old-dog” drug such as Cytoxan?
With a little bit of knowledge, a little bit of faith, a little bit of luck, and a big dose of reality, you should be able to integrate myeloma to your everyday life, and as Dr. Vincent Rajkumar said, “live with and not for myeloma!”