Excitement, Inspiration and Hope in Barcelona

Although it was a long way to fly for a 3 day trip, Barcelona was a WONDERFUL trip on many different levels! My talk went really well – I got a standing ovation (at least I could see the front row – I actually was really blinded up on the stage ha) and many people came up to me afterwards saying I had brought tears to their eyes & I had inspired them the importance of bringing new cancer drugs to patients.

It was a talk which tied together the story behind how a new cancer drug was discovered, its profound clinical activity in a subset of cancer patients and then anecdotes of the impacts of new cancer drug discovery on cancer patients’ (and their family’s) lives on the personal (non-medical) level.

I love trying to find ways to try to connect scientists/with MDs/with patients – weaving through their intertwined but separate experiences with the same disease. There is not enough good communication between those 3 pillars of modern healthcare. I think talks like this can do a small part to help generate improved availability of desperately needed new drugs to patients by giving all three groups excitement, inspiration & hope.

I am a somewhat unique node in the world of cancer – on an almost daily basis wearing my “scientist hat” I discuss science and new/experimental trial drugs with patients (& occasionally clinicians) and then I switch to my “patient hat” and discuss the patient/clinical viewpoint with scientists.

A true highlight of the trip was meeting a patient who has responded very well to the cancer drug for over 2 years now (a wonderfully nice woman – ironically a MD/Ph.D. mother of 2 young daughters so there was a lot of personal overlap between us).  There is nothing more gratifying than meeting patients like her!

On the way home, I had the fun of meeting some “online” cancer buddies Julia & Chris in person for the first time during a flight change layover. Looking at the picture, with the advances in cancer treatment in recent years, try to figure out which 2 out of 3 of us have Stage IV CRC! (OK, I guess you know one of them for sure ha). It is really amazing how the internet brings cancer patients together for support and it is a real treat to meet online friends in person!

2015-02_Julia-Tom-Chris_JFK Meetup

So overall – it was a tiring but wonderful week.  The next adventure: moving out to our rental house next weekend and getting unpacked & the construction bulldozers in action before the next round of CT-scans, surgeries & treatment decisions hit…

We are living very active lives right now – but that is a lot better than the alternative! ha 🙂


4 Comments on “Excitement, Inspiration and Hope in Barcelona

  1. Great post, Tom. Many congratulations on your talk! Good luck with everything this next few weeks. We’ll be thinking of you…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Dor-tor etek nash-gad vokaya t’Chris | AdventuresInLivingTerminallyOptimistic

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