Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A changing of the guard...

My beloved doctor Bart Barlogie has led MIRT and UAMS since its inception, managing not just the clinical and research aspects but all of the administration of the center.  I've seen first-hand how hard the guy works -- 12 hour days 7 days a week are just the start of it.  He's never not thinking about his patients and this disease.

I'd been led to believe that he would be passing the torch -- partially at least -- as he confided in me some time ago that he's been looking for his successor.

Today, he has announced who it will be.  Bart will stay on in a clinical and research capacity, but the administrative "general manager" function will be handed off to Dr. Gareth Morgan, formerly head of the Myeloma unit at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in the UK, and professor of hematology (or heamatology to those who speak The Queen's!) at the Institute of Cancer Research there.

Here's a link to the story as reported by the Myeloma Beacon.

I have mixed feelings about this, of course.  I'm glad to see my friend be able to slow down, and I'm heartened by the fact that he will continue his clinical practice and research activities.  However I also want to make sure he remains directing my care.  It's funny -- when I first got there, I learned of his passion for motorcycles and in giving him a book on the history of Ducati, I wrote in it that he's not allowed to get in a crash until he's cured me.  :)   No crashes that I know of, but he's also not allowed to retire until he's cured me, either!  : )

I looked up Dr. Morgan and he seems like a very sound choice -- although my first search simply included the words "myeloma" and "curable" beside his name and the results were not as direct as I'd have ideally liked.  After all, there's no point in continuing my care under a physician who doesn't fully subscribe to the whole philosophy of Total Therapy.   At least not at this time -- if it (God forbid) fails me in the future, then I can consider a wider net.  But for now, I want to remain in the hands of somebody that entertains the possibility -- if not the likelihood -- that standard risk Myeloma can be cured using Total Therapy in the majority of newly diagnosed cases.

All that said, I know Bart is a perfectionist and I know he's been working on wooing Dr. Morgan for at least a year.  Consequently, he must be the right person for the job.  There's no way Bart would put his legacy in the hands of anybody in whom he did not have total confidence.

Perhaps I will have the opportunity to meet with Dr. Morgan in my upcoming July visit…which reminds me, I need to schedule that soon...


  1. I know how you feel, Nick - torn because you're happy for Dr.Barlogie but bereft because he's your life raft. I had similar feelings when Dr. Giralt left M.D. Anderson for Memorial Sloan Kettering. Life goes on.....

  2. I also felt similar when Dr. Tricot left the Huntsman. The entire approach to treating MM at the Huntsman has changed. I'm not comfortable at all with its direction.

  3. Hi folks. Well, in both your cases, you have the option to follow your doctor, at least.

    Seems like Sloan Kettering is building a world-class Myeloma team between Giralt and especially Dr. Langren.

    Meanwhile, Doug, if Bart actually *retires* I will likely try to become Tricot's patient. Of course Iowa is even harder to get to from LA than Little Rock is… :)

    1. LAX to MSP to Cedar Rapids on Delta. Have done it 8 times now, and worth it every time just to know, like you, I am in good hands. :>))

    2. Nick, I asked Dr. Barlogie if I was still going to be his patient, so at least for now he sounds like he will be our doctor for awhile. I really do not want to change doctors!

  4. It's always hard when you change doctors. Do you still take medication you have not mentioned it for a while. Here in Australia we seem to be behind in the novel drugs so I am always interested in their effects (stomach wise usually my husband gets stomach reactions, this means more drugs to stop it). We hope you will have the cure confirmed soon best wishes Gillian.