Driving 700 miles every six weeks for multiple myeloma treatment in Arkansas was not an ideal long-term solution for Lois Tamiyasu. But the Mason resident and her husband, Mikio, had been making the trek to Arkansas religiously for eight years.
Tamiyasu says it was a "godsend” when the UC Cancer Institute Hematologic Malignancies Program team formed in 2013 and began seeing patients at the George L. Strike Bone Marrow Transplant Center, a part of UC Health in Cincinnati. It was a double blessing when she learned that part of the multiple myeloma team who had managed her care was relocating to practice at the UC Cancer Institute.
Led by Elias Anaissie, MD, the UC Cancer Institute myeloma team focuses on individualized therapy tailored to specific patient needs. The team includes dedicated medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, cancer hospitalists, oncology nurse practitioners and nurses, dietitians, a social worker, psychologist, nurse educator and pharmacists with specific experience in treating complex cancers of the blood.
"I know I have cancer, but I’ve decided that it isn’t the end of the road. I think my medical team has the same positive attitude—everyone is on an upbeat,” says Tamiyasu. "I kind of forget I have cancer until my friends remind me. Attitude is a lot, and I have a lot of faith that God will see me through this.”
Tamiyasu was originally diagnosed with myeloma in November 2004. A work-up done by her primary care physician resulted in a diagnosis of multiple myeloma. Since her diagnosis, she has had three bone marrow transplants and undergone multiple treatment regimens to keep her cancer in remission, including participating in a clinical trial for a drug that is now FDA-approved for the treatment of multiple myeloma.
"Dr. Anaissie’s team is not making treatment decisions with a cookie cutter because they don’t believe everyone needs—or will benefit—from the same approach,” she adds. "My team is very thorough. Everything is written down so you don’t make any mistakes once you leave the doctor’s office. And the care we’ve gotten here at UC is practically one-on-one. The nurses are so accommodating.”
She says the choice to go home—and to have family close by for support—was critical for her quality of life saying: "It’s such a displacement to have to travel for care. If you fly, you have to rent a car. Whether you drive or fly though you have to stay in a hotel, eat meals out. It’s expensive and it’s not home.”
To learn more about the UC Cancer Institute Hematologic Malignancies Program, visit uccancer.com/blood
. For appointments, call 513-584-4BMT (4268) or 877-745-1BMT (1268).