My pre-ASH19 blog was titled the Magic of ASH, comparing ASH to the magic of Disney. As I reflect on my ASH 2019 experience, I once again am reminded of a Disney comparison. Disney Behind the Scenes is a 7-hour tour that gives customers the experience of learning what it takes to bring the magic of Disney to life. The 61st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) was comparable to a 5-day tour of what it takes to bring the magic of myeloma treatment and care to life. The details that most patients will never see or know. It’s the debate, questions, discussions, and so much more that results in the conclusions of research and clinical trials that leads to treatment.
ASH brings together the brightest and most imaginative minds in myeloma to present the treatment path for patients. ASH gives the gift of imagination and feeing of excitement for the future of myeloma treatment. As I hoped, I did experience a world of possibilities–possibilities in the care and treatment of myeloma at ASH. While I didn’t hear the word “cure” used, there was focus on Dara, MRD, Mass Spectrometry, Bcma, CAR-t, antibody drug conjugates, immunotherapy, and others. Walt Disney’s motto was, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” In so many ways, this is what is happening behind the scenes among myeloma experts: they blend their creative imagination and technical know-how to make it all happen.
Having a behind the scenes view gives me a different perspective as a patient. It makes me appreciate the process and understand the outcome better. I am encouraged by the collaboration that happens across academic centers and clinicians. I am most amazed how welcoming clinicians and researchers are to the SGLs in attendance. They make us feel as though patient attendance is a norm and not the exception. It’s as if we are supposed to be there. Like Much like Disney’s customer service goal, the clinicians and researchers made us feel important.
ASH 2019 and the SGL experience holds a place in my heart forever. I am grateful for the experience and hope to share my excitement and hope with members of my support groups and community. “Goodbye may seem forever. Farewell is like the end, but in my heart is the memory and there you will always be.”
“Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.” — Walt Disney
Wishing you Hope,
Tiffany H. Williams