The 30 Dimensions Of Lady N

Azra Raza in The MDS Beacon:

DrazrarazaIt was Marcel Proust who said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

I experience a slightly different version of this dictum practically on a daily basis.

As a physician-scientist whose last three decades have been spent seeking novel treatment options for myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) patients, I develop new (in)sights through my patients’ eyes, and none could claim a vision more penetrating and acute than Lady N. I assign her this moniker because of her larger-than-life personality.

She had an uncanny habit of connecting seemingly unrelated things by combining common sense, extreme intelligence, and an inimitable sense of humor with pure and simple intuition.

Five years ago, she swept into my clinic at St. Vincent’s Comprehensive Cancer Center for her first visit with the announcement: “FYI, I have been extremely anemic for at least 25 to 30 years, if not longer. I also believe strongly that there is a genetic component to my MDS. As you know, my father’s sister’s first child was born with no marrow in his bones.”

Although she was anemic for a long time, her actual MDS was not diagnosed until relatively recently.

The first few years after her diagnosis were not too hard, as she had a del(5q) chromosomal abnormality and responded well first to Procrit (epoetin alfa) and then to Revlimid (lenalidomide). The anemia improved beyond expectation, and she had an excellent quality of life, caring for her many cats, taking long drives visiting her numerous best friends, shopping and dining with her 99-year-old mother, and generally enjoying life to the fullest.

More here.