Hello friends. Sorry to be radio silent for a bit — have been fighting other fires.
I will be posting my thoughts on my own decisions and next steps in a couple of days; I wanted to keep the focus on this post on Dr. Barlogie’s upcoming move.
It has been rumored and discussed elsewhere, and I mentioned it here last month, but now I have been asked to formally note that Dr. Barlogie will be joining the staff of Dr. Jagannath at Mt. Sinai in New York, where he will start to see patients in September.
Bart will be bringing along a fair number of his patients with him. He is excited to be reunited with Dr. J, with whom he worked at both MD Anderson and UAMS. However, this is Dr. J’s show — Dr. B will be taking a less central role than the one he has had at MIRT. He seems comfortable with this, which is important — he has very little if anything to prove clinically at this point; his motivation to continue practicing is based primarily on his commitment to his patients and his desire to eradicate this disease, but is of course influenced by his comfort with a new role, environment and culture.
He and I discussed how Mt. Sinai, which already has an impressive team, is dedicated to building a world-leading research capability in Myeloma. It sounds like a good place for Bart to be heading for that reason alone, leaving aside his long relationship and mutual respect with Dr. Jagannath.
As his friend, I am happy to see him land someplace where he can continue his work. As his patient, the two key questions remain for me: (1) how much institutional support will he have from Mt. Sinai — not just for research but for clinical activity (e.g., if I need a PET scan on a few hours’ notice, will that happen?); and (2) will Bart have access to trial data including not just his current patients but all work done in the TT program. The answers to these questions will help inform my future treatment decisions; I’m not sure the answers can be had prior to Bart’s arrival in New York.
More to come on my own situation in the next few days, but in the meantime, I awake every day, conscious that I’d be in pretty dire straits — assuming I was even still alive — had I not been treated by Bart. Eight years ago I had no idea, but MM was already hard at work, damaging my bones. Seven years and 9 months ago, I was diagnosed. Today, I’m in stringent complete remission and am MRD negative — as good as I could possibly have hoped for. So here’s to Bart, basically — to a new chapter and a continued record of clinical and personal success!