The following is a guest post written by Jeff Gregory, husband and caregiver to a fellow Zebra.
I want to thank Dr. Eric Liu and The Healing NET Foundation, for presenting at the carcinoid/NET conference hosted by the Albany Medical Center CME division.
My wife Jackie and I live in Albany, NY and Jackie was diagnosed with carcinoid cancer in 2009. She was deemed terminal and inoperable from the progression of her disease in 2013. We consulted with carcinoid specialists and after successful surgery and continued treatment; she is alive and well today.
Today is June 12th and I just returned from seeing Dr. Liu off at the airport and I sit here in utter amazement as it all started with an email to The Healing NET Foundation in February 2015. I explained that Albany does not have carcinoid/NET specialists and perhaps a conference would bring attention to this rare condition and provide local medical professionals with current information on surgery and treatments. With the guidance of Cindy Lovelace from The Healing NET Foundation, and a personal contact at Albany Medical Center, Dr. Liu was scheduled to present in June 2015.
His presentation was energetic, gripping and informative. The audience covered many departments and divisions of hospital specialties as well as medical students. Upon completion, he attended the endocrinology department meeting where Dr. Liu was questioned on many surgical and treatment methodologies. Dr. Liu was then consulted on multiple current cases in which his opinions, expertise, knowledge and experience were shared in order to give direction and guidance for treatment of these particular and puzzling cases. In the end, Dr. Liu passed around his direct contact information and openly offered for any and all to contact him directly if needed - anytime.
This is exactly why I wanted Dr. Liu to come. This is what makes the difference. Those people are loved ones to someone, just like my wife. They are patients, with current conditions, needing specialized care and consideration from an expert. No one person knows everything. We are all human. Life is a journey and continued learning is a part of that. The world is a smaller place with modern technology and communication is possible on a global scale. Specialists like Dr. Liu openly give their time, knowledge and expertise to others with only one goal, to help.
After a seemingly exhaustive day, Dr. Liu met with 10 people for dinner. It was arranged by a carcinoid patient from Syracuse. We had couples from Syracuse, Utica, East Greenbush, Long Island and Altamont. We did not leave the restaurant until very late. Everyone visited, shared stories and experiences, asked Dr. Liu direct questions, and best of all, everyone laughed, joked and enjoyed each other’s company. It was an absolutely amazing day, for me, for other carcinoid patients and for the doctors in Albany.
I decided I would do anything to help educate local physicians on this disease so as to avoid having anyone go through what we did. My dear Jackie was 47 years old on July 5, 2013 when they told her she had weeks to live and placed her in hospice. With the help of amazing and caring people, like Dr. Liu, she is still here today. I am so very thankful to you Eric.
Special thanks to Mary K. Luidens, MD for facilitating Dr. Liu's CME presentation at Albany Medical Center.
If you have a connection with a medical facility in your community who might have interest in a CME (Continuing Medical Education) program on NETs, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.