A lion dressed as a doctor in a lab coat

Lions, Tigers, Bears... Myeloma Oh My!

This quote is from one of my favorite movies The Wizard of Oz. I think it’s fair to say we’ll never see the likes of these larger-than-life creatures congregating with one another. Yet I was thinking of the dynamics of this comparison when thinking about multiple myeloma. This is indeed not a walk for the weak at heart, and in most cases, those docile learn assertiveness in care real quick. I thought of my favorite phrase when thinking of how different doctors play a hand in how they care for their patients; at times the approach can be that of a lion, tiger, or bear. Not at all am I comparing doctors to being beasts, but this is clearly any observation of some tactics encountered in care.


This bold instinctive animal reminds me of the doctor that you meet that goes over your charted details and has a clear and concise plan as to how to move forward. A clear plan is always a great step, but the way it is handled can be the tricky part. Sometimes the lion has a way of not being as subtle as we may like, and though the intentions clearly are good, they fumble intact by being too forceful in their suggestion.

It is believed that the lion can be the most intelligent of the feline breed. We definitely want a conscientious and astute myeloma oncologist, but one that reviews all details thoroughly before moving forward with care that may not be warranted at the time of review. As I mentioned prior, my first visit was with a hematologist, who automatically suggested starting thalidomide immediately; however, after seeking a second opinion, the concern was not the same, as this myeloma expert placed me in the asymptomatic stage, which usually is the waiting game.

Now is being aggressive from the start a horrible thing? Well, it depends; we know the trails of the process with these medications so the lion approach may not necessarily be called for when we think.


This bigger than life, of the cat species and very territorial, is the tiger. The doctor that takes your hand through the many stages can be great for some and perhaps not for others. The doctor who may not be comfortable with your need to counsel elsewhere, or give input in your own care can and may be damaging, especially if you like your care but have questions that the doctor may feel are unwarranted. Now, if you’re like me, I don’t want or like anyone telling me the law without me also being the deputy in this set-up. At the end of the day, we’re a mix of personalities in how we want things, and how we want our team to care for us.


The bear that soft and cuddly mammal that foresees problems and clearly means business when provoked; the bear may be thought of as the best doctor for some. For many of us, that bedside manner is usually a huge factor in what many seek in care. Though never to be fooled by a kind face, as the attempt to be nice but poised to handle business in proper care when the time calls for it is vital.

The time to fight is now, with integrity, grace, hope, and a smile... when you feel like it

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