It’s almost here! The excitement is palpable! This is my second year attending the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition as a social media correspondent for the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF). I am honored to once again be able to attend and absorb information to share with myeloma patients and care partners, locally with my own myeloma support group members, as well as globally, on social media. My background as an oncology nurse lends a slightly different spin to my focus at ASH. I am not a myeloma patient, so I don’t have personal experience with myeloma in my own life or the life of any of my loved ones. I worked, almost solely with myeloma patients, as a transplant nurse coordinator for several years. I also assumed the facilitator role of our local myeloma support group during that time. When my professional career brought me to another role in oncology nursing, my heart stayed with Myeloma patients, and I was graciously allowed to continue facilitating the myeloma support group that I had worked with for the last several years. Our group focuses on education sessions, with presentations from people with varied backgrounds, like wellness, social workers, myeloma physicians/researchers, industry leaders, and even patients. We follow these education sessions with a roundtable discussion. Our group is engaged and well-educated on myeloma. We have members who are newly diagnosed, post-transplant, non-transplant eligible, on treatment and off. All are survivors, learning to thrive with myeloma, and each giving back as much as they get from our group. Many have formed relationships between each other with their similar stories and have become valuable members of each other’s support teams. I tell my group members often that our monthly meeting night is one of my favorite days of each month. I leave every meeting feeling energized, optimistic, and excited about being a part of each one of their lives and playing a part in their myeloma journey.

Many of these same group members supported me this year as I was diagnosed with breast cancer and began my own cancer journey. Becoming a cancer patient and going through some of the same emotional and physical journeys as the members that I’ve been supporting all these years was humbling. I received cards, flowers, notes, packages, phone calls, and texts from so many of them, even during their own tough times, encouraging and supporting me, during mine. Some of the themes that we have discussed in the last few years really helped me during this time. Wellness, pain management, resources, physical therapy, yoga, meditation, communication with care partners, and stress management are just a few.

I am truly honored to have been asked to return to ASH on behalf of the IMF. I am energized to hear about all of the work that so many researchers have been doing to learn more about myeloma and to treat patients with evidence-based therapies. I hope to be able to share as much as possible with any myeloma patient or care partner that wants to listen! Through social media, we can reach people that we otherwise wouldn’t come into contact with. My group members are excited and ready to soak in all that I bring back as well.

So, just as the bee picks up pollen and transfers it to the next flower, I hope to pick up as much information as I can possibly soak in and reach as many people as possible with passing it along. I hope that everyone who reads our blogs can feel the hope, excitement, and empowerment that comes with knowledge. I am excited to interact with the rest of our ASH Support Group Leaders who are attending ASH, soak up as much as I can from them, as well. Thank you so much to the IMF for allowing me this opportunity, once again. I am grateful and blessed!

Becky Bosley