I Am Off To See The Wizard the Wonderful Wizard Of ONC!

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Dr. Bart Barlogie – The Wizard Of ONC

I am now an 11 year survivor,  and like many patients, I have a local oncologist at Mayo Clinic and go to see my primary Myeloma Specialist (Dr. Bart Barlogie) at Mt Sinai in New York city.  It is something I would recommend to all patients who do not have a myeloma specialist close to them.  I live in Florida and travel to New York, and my insurance has been accepted in both Mayo and Mt. Sinai.  A friend, Danny Parker, also lives in Florida and will visit his specialist in San Francisco, California.

Mayo Clinic did a retrospective study showing that experienced myeloma specialists will significantly improve life expectancy, and NPR recently conducted a study and found that cancer patients were 20 to 50% less likely to die if treated at a comprehensive cancer center rather than at a local oncologist.  This same study also showed that 85% of patients who could choose to travel to a comprehensive center chose NOT TO! If you have read this and choose not to get a treatment plan from a myeloma specialist without a great reason, then, like Forest Gump said,  “Stupid Is As Stupid Does!”  

Over the years my time between visits to Dr. Barlogie went from 3 months to 6 months and now every year. I go every few months to Mayo locally for blood work.  With Dr. Barlogie I get a bone marrow biopsy, MRI, PET scan, bone density, blood, urine and MRD tests.  But if you are anything like me, I look to these visits with dread.  Cancer has an ugly way of creating angst, worry, and concern around these major events.  My wife has noticed that I go though a metamorphosis.  My once happy go lucky attitude disappears, and a lot of crap goes through  my head.  Is the pain in my legs really new bone disease?  Is my fatigue a result of myeloma induced anemia?  I do like Dr. Barlogie, but I always dread this time of year.   I think every cancer patient has varying degrees of anxiety, and I choose to try to manage mine with Zoloft.   Everyone handles this in different ways, and some may not be affected at all.  To those few, I envy you!

Good luck and may God Bless your myeloma Journey.   For more information on multiple myeloma survival rates and treatments CLICK HERE and you can follow me on twitter at: https://twitter.com/grpetersen1