In general, our days at ASH 2023 started with an early morning wake-up, partially due to my East Coast home and West Coast time zone, but I was awake every morning around 4AM. This gave me time to sip coffee, finalize my choices of what presentations to attend that day, and start my notes pages for the day.
A big part of attending ASH is staying organized with schedules and your best way of taking in information and absorbing it. Some of us live tweet during the presentations; some of us take pictures of certain slides and information and distribute it later. Some participate in asking questions at the sessions directly to the researchers themselves. This year I used the ASH app to organize my thoughts and schedule, and it even allowed note-taking on each abstract as well. This was a big-time saver for me and I was able to use only my iPad during the day going from one location to another. I can’t tell you how many photos are on my phone and iPad of slides from those presentations, but it is a TON!
All the support group leaders at ASH met in a private room at the restaurant in our hotel every morning for a working breakfast. We set up a Zoom with our virtual leaders and sat together, all 14 of us, and brainstormed and planned our attacks of the day. We spoke about what impacted us from the day prior and what we were excited about for today. We talked about our general plan for the day, including meals together, sponsor meetings, vlogging opportunities, what we were going to film that day, and most importantly, what presentations each leader was planning to attend. There were times at ASH this year where up to 7 simultaneous myeloma sessions were scheduled! We tried to divide and conquer and then share the information learned in order to benefit the entire group. Many impactful conversations were had at these working meetings between in-person and virtual leaders.
After our working breakfast meeting, it was time to head to the San Diego Convention Center or adjoining hotel meeting rooms to start programming for the day. Our hotel was about a mile and a half from the SDCC, but most of us walked in the morning along the waterfront. The weather was beautiful, around 72 degrees in mid-December, quite a far cry from mid-December in Pennsylvania where I’m from! The views were absolutely beautiful and fantastic conversations between leaders made that walk feel like nothing!
And as much of a Myeloma geek as I am, walking around San Diego surrounded by all of our Myeloma rock stars felt like we were amongst celebrities. Those specialists that we all look up to so much and are so excited to hear speak! Sometimes…..you just run into them on the street!