Friday is symposium day at the 62nd ASH Annual Meeting. These symposia are precursors to the official ASH meeting. Each is generally 2-3 hours long. At the symposium hosted by Dr. Brian G.M. Durie and the International Myeloma Foundation, they presented actual patient case-studies, asking the panel, and the audience, how they would treat these patients. Then, an argument about a particular treatment was given. At the end of that, the doctors were again asked how they would treat given the described scenario.
Sometimes minds were changed; sometimes not. But there was never a 100% consensus on how to treat. These are some of the greatest minds in the myeloma world. And they do not always agree on a course of treatment. There are so many treatment options for patients now, but it is so difficult to decide what is best for each of us. This also shows the importance of consulting with a myeloma specialist and having them consult with your local oncologist. We are so lucky to have these doctors and researchers, working so hard to find treatments, and ultimately, a cure.
Watching ASH from home makes it a lot easier to watch three symposiums in one day. I remember last year, sitting in chairs, awfully close together, trying to take notes while not bumping elbows with the person sitting next to me. This year, I was sitting in my home office, using my computer with two monitors, my iPad, and all the space I needed. For the late evening session, I was comfortably seated on my couch, Christmas tree lights setting the mood. But something was missing. I miss the hustle and bustle of 30,000 people trying to get from one hall to another in the convention center. I miss seeing myeloma specialists that I recognize from patient seminars. I am always starstruck when I see them. I will admit it is easier to get my coffee without waiting in long lines. And it is easier to watch from my “front row” seat. But it is the people that make ASH special. I look forward to meeting in-person again.