Saturday, July 23, 2011

Excellent IMF Seminar in Minneapolis

Dr. Parameswaran Hari, MD, MS, and Teresa Miceli, RN, BSN, OCN spoke to a large group at the Minneapolis Sheraton. Dr. Hari is Section Head and Clinical Director, Bone Marrow Transplantation, University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Teresa Miceli is a bone marrow transplant coordinator and preseneter at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

Dr. Hari:

You would be well served with Dr. Hari as your myeloma doctor. He certainly seems as knowledgable as any doctor I've met. He cruised through a lot of information, on a lot of slides, in a fairly short time:
  • My Favorite: During a coffee break, a patient asked Dr. Hari, "What can we patients do besides just following our doctor's orders?" Back on the podium, Dr. Hari departed from his prepared presentataion with with brief, unscripted lifestyle suggestions:

    1. Fitness: He recommended both weight training and aerobic exercise for people whose bones can take the stress.
    2. Nutrition: In addition, he recommended more vegetables and less red meat. Further, he mentioned that curcumin is a helpful myeloma treatment for some people and harmless otherwise, but green tea (or EGCG) should not be taken with Velcade because the green tea can rescue the myeloma cells that Velcade tries to kill.

    I've never heard such an enthusiastic endorsement of lifestyle changes from any doctor before. Every one of my doctors has wholeheartedly supported the choices that I have made, training for and running marathons, and eating the best diet we can find, but Dr. Hari proposed a similar lifestyle out of the blue.

  • He also gave a quick review of what myeloma is;
  • Some statistics about cases, including length of survival as treatments have improved;
  • Some discussion of "high risk" versus normal risk myeloma;
  • Spine repair;
  • Current therapies, including the "novel" therapies: thalidomide, Revlimid, Velcade, and others in various ombinations;
  • Transplants, including auto, allo, mini-allo, and combinations;
  • Post-transplant consolidation and maintenance;
  • Treatments which are in clinical trials including pomalidomide, catfilzomib, elotuzumab, and more;
More than once, Dr. Hari mentioned that the cure for myeloma is to hold it off long enough to die of something else, and he believes that should be the treating physician's first goal.

Nurse Miceli:

Teresa Miceli's presentation was titled "Managing Side Effects of Myeloma and Novel Agents:
  • She discussed how myeloma itself impacts quality of life;
  • Gastrointestinal side effects;
  • Myelosuppression (low blood counts);
  • DVT and other blood clots;
  • Peripheral neuropathy;
  • Renal function (drink, drink, drink);
  • Bone health; and
  • Sexual function and dysfunction.
What can we do in our battle with myeloma? Drink lots of water!

Thanks to the International Myeloma Foundation for hosting this seminar, free of charge to all.


  1. Don, this is a wonderful post. How exciting to hear the onc mention both lifestyle AND curcumin!. I will share this post with our FB group led by Margaret G. (you know her).

    Thank you for sharing all that you do. You were one of the first people I found after diagnosis and you have no idea how much hope you gave me.


  2. This is great Don. I like very much this doctor's viewpoint and agree, it is refreshing! Thanks for all that you do.