Sunday, April 23, 2006


So, how was yesterday's program at the Marriot? Good. I really didn't know what to expect but the turn out was very good I was told. Apparently, the response was so great that people had to be turned away because the necessary space wasn't available. That's a bummer for an educational program such as this one. I did, however, run into Chad, the guy who I first met at the "Dating and Disclosure" meeting at the Sloan-Kettering a few weeks ago. He said he had just completed his pre-regimen chemo and the stell cell collection. Monday he will be restaged. Hopefully, his scan will show a tumor reduced in size. Unlike me, however, he will receive radiation treatment before the high-dose chemotherapy and ASCT.

There were lectures given by experts in the fields of lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma, and myelodysplastic syndrome at the same time in different rooms of the reserved space that was rented by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Naturally, I attended the talk on lymphoma, which was given by Dr. Andre H. Goy, the head of lymphoma at Hackensack University Medical Center. He had a very thick French accent, but in light of that I was able to understand and benefit from his presentation although I got lost at times when he delved into the heavy medical and scientific analysis.

After these lectures concluded, my BMT doctor, Dr. Michael Schuster, the head of the BMT unit at Cornell-NY Presybterian Hospital, lectured on stem cell transplanation and its advances. He was very animated, funny, and overall just his normal charming self, which in part is why I think the audience really liked his presentation. The advances in blood stem cell transplation (BSCT) have been remarkable so much so that he told us that what he's doing now would have been unimaginable ten years ago. The goal, he said, was to make BSCT available to as many people as possible. He talked about the advances in drug therapy, success and promises of blood cord used in BSCT, mini-transplants for the elderly, and the importance of bone marrow donation. In short, I think he did a fine job.

At the end of the program, I met Baylah Wolfe, a social worker at the LLP (whom I had spoken to over the phone but had never met) who told me that after one year of remission I can become a peer to peer counselor. A patient is matched up with a peer to peer counselor, someone who themself had received the same treatment for the same type of blood cancer. The peer to peer counselor, therefore, can be a huge resource and motivating force for someone who is contemplating or undergoing the rigors of cancer treatment. This might be a wonderful thing for me to join in the future.


Comment Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds like a good program and worth attending. did you get a chance to say hello to Dr. Schuster?

keep up the great progress and thanks for sharing all of your recent experiences since you finished your transplant.


6:50 PM  
Comment Blogger Duane said...

Yes, I spoke to Schuster. I think he was happy to see me there. He actually introduced me as his patient to another fellow.

8:46 PM  

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