Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. –Thich Nhat Hanh 

Reflecting on the opportunity I had to attend the 64th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting, where I focused on smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM), I have many positive thoughts and feelings. To sum them all up in one word, it would be “hope.” I’m not big on toxic positivity (see my blog about this from last year here), but instead I try to live authentically, acknowledging my own strengths and weaknesses while striving to make my life and the world around me the best it can be. That means facing the hardships and challenges, whether mine or someone else’s, and being real in the moment. This also means maintaining a sense of hope that things can and do change, sometimes for better but not always. I’ll admit, I often struggle holding the hard stuff, but I try to trust that if I be real in the moment, then I’ve done what I could to be authentic.  

My hope comes from all of the amazing researchers, whose dedication to solving the smoldering myeloma puzzle is evident through their passion, intelligence, and continued work on this disease state. It seems the pipeline of myeloma researchers is bursting. Many have been involved for a long time, and there are several young, new researchers entering the fray and making their mark, as well. It’s quite impressive to see, and a deep, deep bow to all of these phenomenal and caring researchers and doctors (not only for the work they do on SMM and MM, but for the way they engage with each other professionally).  

My hope comes from the research results, as collectively, the knowledge base is moving forward. The change in the landscape of SMM in the past 6 years (i.e., when I was diagnosed) has been incredible, and to be able to sit in on sessions and view posters highlighting the continuous work is awe-inspiring!  

My hope comes from being a part of the IMF’s Support Group Leader team. To have the opportunity to work alongside the other volunteer members and the IMF staff is an opportunity and honor I don’t take lightly. I see their commitment to helping others through the hard work they put in attending sessions and spreading their knowledge to others. They all bring different areas of expertise to the group, and our discussions before, during, and after the meeting are fascinating and enlightening. What a tremendous group of people!  

Thank you to the IMF for this opportunity, and also thank you to the sponsors of this team, Amgen, Karyopharm Therapeutics, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals. The confidence, trust, and commitment you provide us allows us to spread hope to others!