Letter from the Editor

Bruce D. Cheson, MD

There were two recent events that supported the realization that I am (getting) really old. The first was going to the ticket counter in Atlanta and being asked by the woman in her mid-50’s who stood behind said counter, “And how are you doing, young fella?” The second was quite a bit more pleasurable—experiencing the birth of my first grandchild. In this case, on June 14, at 8:13 am, 41 weeks of worry ended when my daughter Sara delivered healthy little Samantha. It has taken me a while to grasp the concept that my little girl, with whom I played games and sports, did homework, watched The Simpsons when her mother wasn’t looking, and took pictures of on prom night, had actually created a little one of her own. The flashbacks were profound as I held the wee one in my arms, with a lone tear meandering its way down my right cheek, remembering what it was like when it was actually my daughter that I held almost 30 years ago. Even young Annie, my beloved golden retriever, is intrigued and perplexed—but delighted—by this newcomer.

My family is consumed with what Sammy will call me. Personally, I can’t imagine why the matter is so time urgent, but apparently the name recognition starts at an early age. (I was also told that babies see only in black and white, but how do we know??) My first suggestion was, facetiously, a simple Sir, but that met with instantaneous resistance, and Bruce is just too difficult for a little child. From a book by Eric Kraft, Herb ‘n’ Lorna, came the potential Guppa, whose grandpartner was Gumma, which my wife vetoed because it sounded too edentulous. Grandpa was too generic for me, Grandad too much like cheap whiskey, and Doc too Gunsmokian. I went online and found a list of how to say grandfather in every audible language. Some had possibilities (eg, Nunno), but they just didn’t feel right. Pop-pop was suggested, but it is what my father-in-law is called by several of his grandchildren. I am being coerced to accept Poppy as my de facto nickname, which sounds like either the genesis of illicit drugs, or a little girl doll. But, the matter is basically irrelevant, since she will probably come up with her own name for me all by herself.

And while I was waiting for the birth to occur, I, of course, spent the time reading past issues of Clinical Advances in Hematology & Oncology. In the current issue, Dr. David Spigel and his colleagues present data from a phase II trial of FOLFOX6, bevacizumab, and cetuximab in the first-line treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. Dr. Frits van Rhee and coworkers provide an update on Castleman disease in the 21st century. In our columns, Dr. Benjamin Brenner discusses hypercoagulability and recurrent miscarriages, Dr. Richard R. Furman examines data on new agents in early clinical trials for chronic lymphoid leukemia therapy, and Dr. David N. Krag explores the current status of axillary lymph node dissection and sentinel node biopsy in breast cancer. In addition, Dr. Robert Becker and Dr. Elizabeth Mansfield describe the role of companion diagnostics, which are medical products—such as biomarker tests—that can help identify patients who will benefit from certain therapies.

For someone who spends most of his time dealing with the aging, the ill, and the dying, it is a true delight to have something so pure and new in my life. She is making me feel younger already.

Until next month (when she is 7 weeks old) . . .