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D-MoZone is the place to find out what’s new with pianist/composer/educator Diane Moser. Keep an eye on this blog for updates on music, health, gigs, fundraisers, random thoughts and all things D-Mo. And please keep sending your thoughts, good wishes and comments this way—they’re always needed and always appreciated.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Novartis Oncology Kick-Off Meeting

Just returned home from speaking, along side with Tricia McAleer from the Life Raft Group, at the Novartis Oncology Kick-Off Meeting. This is a meeting at the Novartis campus where they talk about all of the research they are doing, and they like to hear from patients and other groups who are affected by or involved with said research...as in GIST and Gleevec. It was held in a fairly large auditorium,
with probably 250+ folks in attendance.

Before Tricia and I sat in those chairs, we watched a short video of their meeting from last year in Dallas, featuring the Pulitzer Prize winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee, who won the prize for his book.."The Emperor of All Maladies..A Biography of Cancer"...which I found to be very inspiring!
And, Novartis gave me a copy of the book-can't wait to read it!

Their moderator, Tracy, asked me about my symptoms, the various stages of the diagnosis, everything leading up to where I am now which is coming up to year 3...cancer free!
When I told the audience that the tumor was 13 lbs there was a huge collective gasp in the auditorium. Now, if you've ever heard several hundred people gasping at once, it can be quite a jolt, so I kinda laughed after I said that and said.."yes, that's like having twins or one really huge baby"...which of course they all laughed and the tension in the room was gone...and we continued.

I talked about the need for Novartis to educate us more about the science behind Gleevec, and what exactly is it doing in our bodies, what causes the side effects, are there nutritional deficiencies, and more information on the studies and stats of adjuvant therapy.

 After we spoke and left the auditorium, a doctor from Novartis came up to me, handed me his card and told me to get in touch with him and he would help me with a lot of the questions I had posed, so I hope to be talking with him in the very near future.

I also thanked all of them for their work on GIST cancer and on Gleevec...I don't think we Gisters could ever thank them enough.

They asked me for photos so I sent them photos of me at Lake George (very short hair), the recording session with the Inside/Out Trio (hair is curly and longer) the big band gig at Trumpets in 2011 (hair is still curly and much longer)...thought it would be good for them to see the healthy transformation.
 They were ecstatic to hear that I was back to performing, composing and teaching.

Tricia talked about the role of the Life Raft Group, their research, and their outreach. She also talked about the need for more information from Novartis and perhaps personal contact with patients to guide them through the process.

It was a really great morning, and a big shout out and thank you to Leslie Fields, their Associate Director of Patient Advocacy, for making it so easy and laid back for Tricia and I to participate (not to mention the yummy breakfast!)