Empowering Others: Myeloma Patient Climbs Mount Kilimanjaro

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Topics include: Living Well , Patient Stories and Understanding

Myeloma patient Matt Goldman and a team of patients climbed an astounding 19,000 feet up Mount Kilimanjaro, proving that with the right treatment, those living with multiple myeloma are capable of amazing accomplishments—even when it requires a lot of physical exertion. Listen in to hear what challenges he faced during his ascent. 

The Living Well With Myeloma series is a Patient Empowerment Network program produced by Patient Power. We thank Celgene, Takeda, Amgen and AbbVie for their support.

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Transcript

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Andrew Schorr:

Matt, welcome to our program, and I know that you have a skin cancer, we were just talking about it.  You've had one removed from your forehead, right?  

Matt Goldman:

I sure have.  First of all, I just want to say it's great to be here, and Andrew, it's great to meet you.  I've been following your stuff since I was diagnosed.  And, Jim, you're a huge inspiration, so I'm humbled to be part of this team.

Andrew Schorr:

Well, thank you. 

Matt Goldman:

You know, with myeloma and more because the drugs, you know, our systems are just so lowered that I'm also susceptible to skin cancers.  In the last couple months, I've had a couple on my forehead removed. 

Andrew Schorr:

Okay, well, despite that, though, you've been outdoors. So I know you bike, and you go to the gym, but what did you do in February?  Tell people just what you did to prove that you could do it. 

Matt Goldman:

Something that I'll probably never do again is I climbed with a team from MMRF, Mount Kilimanjaro, which is in Africa.  It was a fundraiser, and, you know, I try to do some kind of activity or some event maybe once a year that sort of lets me know that I'm still able to do these things but also can raise some money for a good cause, and so we went in February.  There were 15 of us, 16 of us, and we had six patients out the 16 of us, and just absolutely amazing experience.

Andrew Schorr:

And how high is that mountain? 

Matt Goldman:

It is 19,000 feet. 

Andrew Schorr:

Oh, my goodness. 

Jim Bond:

Wow. 

Andrew Schorr:

So you're talking about like not much oxygen…

Matt Goldman:

No. 

Andrew Schorr:

I mean, it's a big deal. 

Matt Goldman:

It's a huge deal, and actually I was impacted by the altitude at about 17,000 feet. And I had to—our last night I had to stop because I just, you know, at the time I was still sort of still in the midst of treatment every week, and my blood counts were low, and the altitude finally got to me, but...  

Andrew Schorr:

Wow.  But you're a guy who has been getting monoclonal antibodies and you're taking, so I daratumumab (Darzalex), pomalidomide (Pomalyst), an oral therapy, dexamethasone, steroids, so you're getting like the full boat… 

Matt Goldman:

Yes. 

Andrew Schorr:

…and yet you're doing something like that.  

Matt Goldman:

Yeah.  I was on a maint—up until November of 2017 I was on a maintenance program for almost 30 months of bortezomib (Velcade) and lenalidomide (Revlimid) that was working great. And sort of last fall, almost a year ago from right now, I started to feel really poorly again, almost as bad as when I was diagnosed. And so in November of 2016 we made the switch to Darzalex and Pomalyst. 

Andrew Schorr:

Good.  And you're doing okay?

Matt Goldman:

Yeah, now I'm doing great.  I'm on the once?a?month program.  This Friday I have treatment, but it's—I feel as good as I've felt in six years.  

Andrew Schorr:

Well, good for you, and when the treatment is right it makes a big difference.  I'm living with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and I'm about to have the third cycle of the monoclonal antibody I get with high?dose steroids, and I've been checking with my myeloma friends about that, and after the first cycle I felt worlds better.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

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Page last updated on November 8, 2017