Iceland Trek2019

Nina Shah

Hometown: San Carlos, CA

I dedicate most of my waking hours to fighting this disease, but from the privileged perspective of a health care provider. I am amazed each day by the strength and perseverance I see in our patients and by the faith they have in people like me. This trust deepens my dedication, but it has also opened my heart to my patients and their caregivers. More than ever before, I see myself on this journey with my patients, learning with them, fighting with them and sometimes crying with them.

A few years ago, I heard about Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma from my good friend and colleague Saad Usmani. It seemed like something I would never have the strength or will to do. Then, while on a visit to the MMRF headquarters, I learned of an opportunity to join this team in Iceland. Serendipitously, Saad happened to be sitting right next to me and encouraged me to do it. A few weeks later I saw pictures of him running the Boston Marathon alongside his patient and I finally understood what he meant.

There is something about the how providers, patients and caregivers relate to each other. At first, it’s an obligatory relationship. But eventually, it becomes a partnership. Over the past few years, I have begun to understand this evolution and, more importantly, live this blessing. Though my life is in many ways so different from that of my patients, in many more ways, we are all the same. This trek is a way for me to attempt something with patients and caregivers - something that is a challenge and a mystery for all of us. I hope by pushing myself to accomplish something I’ve never done before, alongside survivors and their loved ones, I will gain a new sense of what true partnership is in fighting this disease. I hope to take this sore body with a stronger heart back to my patients in San Francisco, remembering that a grueling trek of a few days is only a microscopic challenge in comparison to what they go through in the endless fight against multiple myeloma.