Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Going undercover as a smart person

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a woman from a web site called Cure Talk who asked me to be a guest panelist in a Serious Medical Discussion about myeloma. Really. Me. In a Serious Medical Discussion. I'm sure that she saw all of the shirtless Bon Jovi photos, and yet she asked me anyway. Maybe she didn't read far enough to see all of the (also shirtless) NKOTB videos. I don't know.

Anyway, the discussion was earlier today. It was a one-hour conference-call-type thing featuring a myeloma specialist named Dr. Ravi Vij of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. A group of bloggers on the panel took turns asking questions. I was told there were 25 other people (all myeloma patients, I think) listening in. I was super, super nervous, because I assume the rest of the bloggers on the panel are Serious Medical People who have never theorized that myeloma can be cured through magical Bon Jovi photos. 

Don't worry; I didn't ask the doctor about magical Bon Jovi photos, even though I swear Jon Bon Jovi made my M-spike go down last month. I pretended for a minute that my blog is an Intelligent Blog.

Here is the question I did ask: "I'm a younger myeloma patient -- diagnosed at age 30 -- and I'm wondering if doctors are seeing more young patients, and what is the difference in the treatments they receive, compared to the typical older patient." Or something like that. It's all kind of a blur. 

Here's what I scribbled down in my notes: The doctor said that he does see younger patients more frequently. The youngest he's seen was 18 (!!!!) years old, but he also said that according to "Official Data" the age at diagnosis is actually creeping up. (Really? That is surprising to me.) The biology of the disease in younger patients is not well studied, but younger people tend to do better because they're in better health in the first place and can tolerate the treatments better. He said that the younger you are, the more likely the doctor will bring up the idea of an allogenic (donor) transplant. 

I had another question about whether myeloma will ever be treated without dex, but we ran out of time. Perhaps if nobody discovers the shirtless NKOTB videos, I'll be asked to do it again.


Lovey said...

I was one of the listeners, and you sounded very seriously intelligent! Love your voice. Dr. Vij was speaking so quickly that I missed some of the information - wish more of the hour's time allotted had been turned over to the panelists' questions.

Karen's mom said...

Could the age be creeping up because ther are so many baby boomers? So glad you got to participate!

Jessica said...

Shirtless NKOTB videos?? I need to catch up my "reading."

Great job!

Priya Menon said...

Hi Karen,

Thank you for being a part of our Cure Panel discussion. It was great to have you and I will keep you updated with regard to future Cure Panels.

Thank you, Priya

Gary Petersen said...

Sounded pretty smart to me! I enjoyed being on the panel with you and the other myeloma bloggers. Gary Petersen editor@