Tickets were bought, reservations were made, an itinerary was planned and all that was left to do was say, “adios, America” and “hola, Spain and Portugal.”
There was just that fateful routine check-up with her doctor in Shreveport, La., that was left to fit in before Mona Morgan and her husband, Eddie, jetted off to Europe for the vacation of a lifetime.
“I thought we had planned for everything, but wouldn’t you know it…,” Mona said as the words trailed off. “Everyone always says it’s the last thing you expect to hear, but it was especially hard to take in such short notice before our big trip.”
Abnormally high protein levels, a common symptom, that were detected that day ultimately led to a multiple myeloma diagnosis that put the brakes on the Morgan family’s European vacation. Instead it created a home away from home in Little Rock for treatment at the UAMS Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy. Though there’s no mistaking central Arkansas for the majestic backdrop of Spain and Portugal, Morgan says the unexpected detour has turned out to be a pleasant surprise.
“We were no different than the thousands of other patients from around the world who were surprised to learn that Dr. Barlogie’s office at UAMS was the place to be if you were diagnosed with multiple myeloma,” she said.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the quality of care we’ve gotten and the hospitality we’ve received.”
Morgan refers to Bart Barlogie, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Myeloma Institute who founded the program in 1989 and has seen more than 8,000 patients from every state and more than 40 foreign countries. She also credits the institute’s Bonnie Jenkins, R.N., for her expertise in handling the various situations that have arisen during her treatment.
“Our experience at UAMS has been excellent, and we can’t say enough positive things about the treatment we’ve received and the time we’ve spent in Little Rock.”
As for that trip to Spain and Portugal, Mona says she’s determined to fight through the disease and reschedule. “It’ll be even better after all this,” she said.