An Interview with Steve Welhoelter about his experience attending the American Brain Tumor Association’s Partners in Treatment & Care meeting in New York.
What type of brain tumor were you diagnosed with and when?
I was diagnosed with a glioblastoma (GBM) in March, 2014. I followed the standard of care and have been on Optune since January, 2015. I have remained progression free since.
How has your life changed as a result of a brain tumor diagnosis?
I have been incredibly lucky. The only deficit I have from my episode with GBM is a minor problem with the control of my left leg. It hasn’t stopped me from traveling around the world, exercising and enjoying my hobbies.
Why did you attend the ABTA’s Partners in Treatment & Care meeting in New York City?
When I retired, I began to participate in a number of activities associated with brain tumor therapies and awareness. This is one of the reasons I attended the American Brain Tumor Association’s Partners in Treatment & Care meeting in New York. I have attended or listened to ABTA conferences previously. They are great sources of information for people dealing with brain cancer. It is also a good way to meet experts that are working on ways to prolong a person’s life and hopefully someday find a cure.
Lastly, with the support of Novocure, I have been sharing my experiences of living with Optune.
How would you describe the overall experience you had at the meeting?
I thoroughly enjoyed the conference because it was of a size that allowed me to interact with so many people. The format was good because the patients and caregivers had the ability to ask questions of the experts. The doctors and researchers were approachable and willing to listen to stories of the participants. Of course having the opportunity to talk with others on a similar journey was helpful.
Which part of the conference program made the most impact on you and why?
I was very interested in what the speakers had to say about how their understanding of the disease has improved and how someday it may lead to a cure. I was particularly impressed with how the speakers were able to translate complex topics into a language that everyone could understand. It improved my understanding of a number of points that were relevant to my diagnosis.
I was also so inspired by the stories I heard from both patients and caregivers. It was an emotional experience for many of us. Knowing that there are others that are fighting and thriving reminded me that I should never give up hope.