On February 14, 2005, I was diagnosed with Stage III Multiple Myeloma. My family was told to get my affairs in order. I was sent home from the hospital on thalidomide, 40mg of daily dexamethasone, and a fentanyl patch. I was caught in a vortex of confusion, pain and despair. THEN, my daughter called the International Myeloma Foundation: We transferred my care to Hillman Cancer Center, I attended my first support group meeting where I met my dear friend Lou Ann, and we found ourselves in a vortex of HOPE!
It is with much gratitude that I tell you The International Myeloma Foundation has invited me to attend the 60th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology in San Diego, California, as a patient representative. As a first-time attendee, I know it will be a bit overwhelming. I think all myeloma patients will agree that we are familiar with being overwhelmed… so… I see this as an exciting opportunity to observe and learn at the many oral presentations from the top researchers around the world. I will then SHARE HOPE with the inspiring members of the Pittsburgh Support Group and others as I learn of the many advancements made, and on the horizon, in the treatment of multiple myeloma. Although this may sound strange, I say thank you to multiple myeloma as you have taught me well to face challenges head on!!