Another ASH comes to a close, and yet again, I am energized and exhausted, simultaneously! Our virtual experience was 10-16 hours a day for 4 days straight, including all of the oral abstract presentations, poster sessions, educational sessions, and working group meetings. We were busy! I’m sure that the in-person team is exhausted as well! From what I heard, the convention center is massive! My excitement and hope for the future of myeloma research and treatment so greatly supercedes the exhaustion, though. To put this into perspective, I’m sharing a slide from an educational session entitled “Treatment Approaches for the Multiple Myeloma Patient in 2022”. SEVENTEEN new drugs in less than two decades of research. AMAZING!

A very good schematic for the Myeloma Treatment Paradigm was shared, and I think that it’s worth sharing here in this blog, as it’s good for ALL myeloma patients to understand this:

Also, during this education session, Sigrun Thorsteinsdottir, MD, discussed smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM), regarding various risk stratification models, previous treatment trials, as well as ongoing trials.

Caitlin Costello, MD, focused on newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (NDMM), and the fact that multiple factors must be considered when choosing a personalized approach to treatment, with the ultimate goal to provide a deep and durable remission from the outset.

Yvonne Efebera, MD, talked about factors to consider in choosing the next best regimen in myeloma patients at first relapse, including patient-related factors, disease-related factors, and treatment-related factors.

These slides do not demonstrate new information, per se, but they are a fantastic representation of Myeloma treatment options in an easy-to-follow format. I appreciated this strong female panel and their presentation greatly!

I would be remiss to end my ASH blogging journey without expressing my gratitude for those who put me here

First, to the sponsors who contributed to the Support Leaders being able to attend ASH: Karyopharm, Takeda Oncology, and Amgen; thank you for recognizing the importance of Support Group Leaders (patients, care partners, nurses) attending ASH and the contribution we make while there. We try very hard to disseminate the information that we learn in a variety of ways to myeloma patients, locally and globally, via our blogging, social media presence, and our own Support Group Meetings. It brings so much hope and encouragement to myeloma patients to see the intense amount of research constantly being done in the field of myeloma.

Secondly, to everyone at the IMF who has graciously and consistently supported all of us in our Support Group Leader journeys. What you do takes a village, and your village is packed full of kind, encouraging, and creative people who always keep their mission at the forefront of their thoughts. We are so grateful for you, not just regarding ASH, but always!

Thirdly, to Robin Tuohy, IMF Vice President, Support Groups…since the moment I met you, you embraced me with open arms and have supported me through it all. You are the epitome of grace, empowerment, and dedication to improving the lives of myeloma patients. What you and Michael have done, with regards to myeloma support, since Michael’s diagnosis over 22 years ago, is inspiring and remarkable. Thank you doesn’t seem like enough.

Next, to every member of the Mid-Atlantic Myeloma Information & Support Group: (here is where I write this with tears) I feel so lucky to be able to facilitate a support group for such an amazingly compassionate group of people. Your support and friendship for the last five years has been unwavering, and you bring a light to my life. I love doing what we do, and I hope that I always bring value to our group for you.

And last but not least, my FaMMily of other ASH support leaders (thanks, Jessie 😊), I truly have loved getting to know each and every one of you. You have all brought so much to my life with your different experiences and histories, and I value each and every one of you. Thank you for being a friend! (I totally just sang that in my best Golden Girls voice.)