It’s my last day at the conference since I fly home to my guys tomorrow and I can definitely feel my energy lagging after the last few information packed days. I took it easy today, starting late (as I’ve done for the last few days honestly) and pacing myself with watching some sessions on my phone or iPad rather than walking to the different sessions from the advocate lounge. We made some time to meet with some pharmaceutical companies to learn about how to obtain funds for various projects, which will be something occupying my time for the next few months I suspect as I wear different hats for different organizations.
We had the regular panel session with the FDA Breast oncology group today, which is literally one of my most favorite things about the conference. Each of the docs contributed to the panel discussion virtually and all of the questions were submitted virtually, which made it a little less nimble. It’s pretty amazing that each of them took time out of their busy schedules to educate all of us about the FDA, their processes, and how patients and patient advocates can get involved. The accessibility for us to them is honestly something I’d never anticipated before my diagnosis. Their generosity and openness has given me back some of my trust in their processes.
Here’s a list of the amazing doctors who shared their thoughts and information during the “hot topics” sessions through the Alamo Advocate Program each evening during the SABCS conference:
Tonight’s amazing panel:
The docs tonight were seated in the opposite order as they are listed in the slide above and had some hard truths to share with us, just like the docs last night. While we might want the pipeline to be shorter, they realize those of us who are patients are not so patient about the amount of time it is taking for each medication to be approved and for progress to be made towards an actual cure. Dr. Chang suggested that while we are not there yet, we are closer to being able to call MBC a chronic condition, at least certain subtypes than ever before. That’s a bit of a difficult topic to tackle in a room full of patient advocates.
Several dear friends contributed to the Patient Centered Dose Initiative a/k/a The Right Dose and here’s a picture of Janice Cowden educating another attendee during the poster session tonight. I can’t say enough about how proud I am to be connected to so many of the patient advocates who are participating on this level and head to head with some of the brightest scientists in the world. Check out their website and learn more about their efforts to ensure that what is best for patients is at the center of medicine.
Once the formal learning of the day was done, we took some time to be tourists! There is a river flowing through the heart of the city of San Antonio and there are boats carrying tourists through the Riverwalk. Laura, Cathy (Laura’s Mom) and I took a boat ride and while I was picking up some souvenirs for the boys, I got us some sparkly festive hats to wear while we looked at the twinkly lights. There were other boats that had a small orchestra and choral groups, all spreading some Christmas cheer.
I’m officially done with SABCS 2021 in San Antonio. I’ll get up tomorrow, finishing up packing and head to the airport. I’ve tons of notes and screenshots of posters and decks, items to read more about or discuss with my doctor. There is one more hot topics session tomorrow night while I’m in the air, so I’ll work out the Wifi thing for the plane and listen to that or maybe watch it later. I have found the audio for my panel discussion in the ap from the conference and I just need to figure out how to get that part downloaded, so that I can share my contribution with all of you. While I’m sad that this learning and connecting opportunity has come to an end for this conference and for this year, the amount I’ve learned and the learning possibilities have taken up whatever space was available in my brain for now.
And so I’ll be heading back home tomorrow and will certainly spend some time processing and blogging about what I’ve learned, so stay tuned!!