Hallmark of most multiple myeloma cases is the persistent production of some form of immunoglobulins, a phenomenon that brings the disease to attention. However, there is a subset of multiple myeloma patients who do not secrete immunoglobulin or its component parts into either the blood or urine, hence called non-secretory myeloma. Some non-secretory myeloma patients may produce the immunoglobulin proteins but they have defects in secretion. Due to lack of these protein biomarkers in blood and urine, it may be difficult to assess and treat the disease. Our myeloma panel is talking to Dr. Frits Van Rhee about latest developments and new options available in assessment and treatment of nonsecretory myeloma. Listen to podcast.
Brian Walker is the director of research for the UAMS Myeloma Institute. March is Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month, and Walker discusses what that special focus on myeloma means, his research and how the UAMS Myeloma Institute’s world-leading status for the research and treatment of it drew him to accept his position here more than a year ago.
Watch video below:
March 2, 2017 | Ambassador Ruth A. Davis traveled the world as a U.S. diplomat during her 40 years with the U.S. Foreign Service.
But when she learned she had a relapse of multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells in the blood, she headed to Arkansas and the UAMS Myeloma Institute.
“I’ve often had people ask me, ‘Why don’t you go somewhere in the area, closer to home.’ I tell them, ‘Listen. This is a question of my life and I will go where the best treatment is available,’” she said recently on a visit to UAMS.
Davis, who lives in Washington D.C., has been receiving treatment from UAMS for a decade now. She was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2000 and was told she would live three years. Davis decided to come to UAMS after a friend recommended it to her.
“My experience with UAMS has been wonderful,” Davis said. “It has exceeded my expectations. The staff is accommodating. There is a community that has been developed to assist the patients of UAMS. They’re welcoming and competent. It gives me the confidence I need to proceed with fighting this disease.”
A trailblazer throughout her 40 years with the Foreign Service, Davis says she enjoyed every minute of it. She was the first African-American director of the U.S. Foreign Service Institute, and the first African-American woman to be director general of the Foreign Service. In 2016 she became the first African-American to receive the American Foreign Service Association’s Lifetime Contribution to American Diplomacy Award.
Davis has led a colorful life and proudly adds, with a smile, that she is an official Arkansas Traveler – a designation bestowed upon her by the governor. She’s usually accompanied by her sister Eugenia Davis-Clements, her caregiver and a former physician. The two women love meeting new people and are rarely seen without a smile or encouraging word.
While Davis says having multiple myeloma and going through treatments has slowed her down some, she refuses to let it stop her. In November, she traveled to Europe twice: to Brussels to chair the conference of the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge and then to Vienna for the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Development Organization.
Davis is under the care of Frits van Rhee, M.D., Ph.D., director of developmental and translational medicine at the UAMS Myeloma Institute.
“I feel that I get the individual attention that I need. I’m not just a case study. I’m a patient with a real need and he is responsive to that. He’s one of the best in the business so I’m delighted to be a patient of Dr. van Rhee.”
Established in 1989, the Myeloma Institute was the first center in the world devoted exclusively to research and clinical care of multiple myeloma and related disorders. Patients have come to the Myeloma Institute from every state and more than 50 countries.
Melissa Thomas, RN III – The Myeloma Institute
Congratulations to Melissa Thomas, RN III for being selected as the DAISY Award recipient for the month of March!
Melissa works in The Myeloma Institute and was nominated by a co-worker who was also a patient. The nomination below reflects how Melissa impacted her life in a very special way.
“During an EPIC class in the Barton Building, my glucose level dropped. I had been having trouble with my vision and am awaiting cataract surgery. My co-worker, Melissa Thomas, who was also attending class, was sitting across the aisle from me and was watching me to see if I needed help with class activities. I was using a desktop magnifier to help me view the screen, but it was difficult to get through the class. At one point, I just couldn’t figure things out anymore. I am told that Melissa kept getting up out of her seat to help me place the mouse where it belonged on the screen, and to put my fingers on the correct keys on the keyboard. She later told me that she noticed my hands were clammy and my pupils were pinpoint. I became unable to respond to her or my classmates and instructors. She recognized that I might have low blood sugar, and sprang into action, working with other people in the class to get me eating jelly beans, drinking juice, etc. My glucose finally got to 42 and then to 67 but I was not responding. The rapid response team was called and I was taken to the Emergency Department. Thanks to Melissa’s clinical observations and prompt action, I did not go into a coma and possibly die, although I am sure it was a very close call.”
Great job, Melissa!
To learn more about the DAISY award or to nominate a deserving licensed nurse, please visit: http//nurses.uams.edu.