Caring Cancer Clinicians Make All the Difference

When I met my myeloma care team, something just clicked, and I knew I was in good hands.

I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in November 2018. Initially, like many of us, I thought I was going to die that night. I sat my wife down and went through our finances to make sure she knew everything. The next morning, my kids had already searched the internet and found what they considered to be the best hospital and the best doctor for me. I called Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center the next day and made an appointment with Dr. C. Ola Landgren.

As we were waiting for Dr. Landgren, in walks his nurse practitioner, Dennis Verducci. I’ve heard that there are times in your life when you meet someone and you just click; this was certainly one of those times. The connection was immediate, and I felt so comfortable with both Dr. Landgren and Verducci.

To this day, I remember meeting with Verduccito start my first appointment. He had a big smile on his face and said, “Larry, how are you feeling?” It sounds almost ridiculous, but I could feel myself exhale and knew I found my go-to person. Verducci would spend the time not only reassuring me, but he also took the time with my wife and family to make sure everyone felt heard and comforted.

Over the first two years, if I called and asked for Verducci, he would get back to me that day, that hour and sometimes that minute. He would always have the answer after speaking with Dr. Landgren or simply with his incredible knowledge of multiple myeloma. When I spoke to Verducci, I knew myself, my wife and my family could breathe easy.

Then we got a call from Verducci and Dr. Landgren, who said they were leaving Memorial Sloan Kettering and that Dr. Landgren was going to run the multiple myeloma service at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. My family and I were devoted. Before the call ended, Verducci said, “Larry, don’t worry. Dr. Landgren and I will always be there for you.” No truer words had ever been spoken.

It’s been a year and a half, and we have continued a wonderful, close professional relationship. Verducci has comforted me so many times, and our friendship has included many conversations about his beloved Las Vegas Raiders football team. He is one in a million; a person who cares so much about not only the medical aspect of my disease but also the emotional and social impact of the disease and my overall well-being.

We are in a situation where we have a disease with no cure and know this disease could possibly be with us the rest of our lives. The comfort of knowing I have someone who knows who I am and who cares about all of me is remarkable. And as special as Verducci has been in my journey with multiple myeloma for the past four years of my life, I’m certain that I’m not the only one who feels this way about him. I just know that this person I’ve grown to care about, respect and admire so much treats everyone this way; it’s just who he is. 

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