Tom Brokaw visited the recent American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting and took some time to share his personal myeloma story. He opened up about cancer, how he feels about community and his love for our country.
When Tom was diagnosed in 2013 at the age 74 he faced his diagnosis as he does everything else, as a journalist. His profession, as he said, “ is about finding out what is going on and how life can be better.” So he began asking questions, assessing the facts. How much time do I have? What are the consequences for my active lifestyle? What does this mean for me and my family? How can I make the best out this situation?
He quickly connected with a team of specialists at Memorial Sloan Kettering. He gathered his family for support, began finding the answers to his questions and worked to make the best of his new situation. He currently receives monthly treatments and his myeloma remains in remission. He continues his active lifestyle as he still works, enjoys the outdoors and his preferred physical activities, modifying them as needed.
Now, as Brokaw approaches his 79th birthday, he feels that having myeloma has been a sort of “privilege”. He has gained friendships with his tremendous medical team who he has deep and abiding appreciation for. He expressed his gratitude for their daily efforts and prolonged dedication to science and advancing treatment. Through his experience he has also gained a deeper perspective of the trials others go through, which has been meaningful to him.
Tom feels that the support and treatment he received in his cancer treatment could be applied to us as a society. Brokaw feels that, “we’ve all come from elsewhere for the American dream…we owe it to each other to “take care of one another….we need to make America more sympathetic.”
He encouraged attendees to “find like minded people”, with shared values and aggregate together to get involved in improving the well being of society.
When asked what advice he would give to other patients he recommended:
- Find a specialist
- Utilize a personal support system
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
A group of dedicated myeloma advocates joined him for a photo to thank him for sharing his story to bring greater awareness to the disease.
To follow his advice and find others to connect with who have multiple myeloma, find our Myeloma Facebook groups here.