Dr. Mel: Birthday Boy – Party Pictures

Though Dr. Mel often claims we’re in prediction and not production it’s tough to believe he didn’t have some hand in this beautiful day.

Today’s Dr. Mel’s 65th birthday. There was an even more important occasion for the party he and his wife Arlene threw. It’s 165 months since Mel was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

The disease develops in 1–4 per 100,000 people per year. It is more common in men, and is twice as common in blacks as it is in whites. With conventional treatment, the prognosis is 3–4 years, which may be extended to 5–7 years with advanced treatments – Wikipedia

If there’s a single reason Mel’s still alive it’s because of the relentless advocacy he and Arlene have shown. The Goldstein’s have made sure his treatment has been thorough. There is no slacking off with a very educated patient.

The party was a great celebration held in Mel and Arlene’s beautiful house on-the-water in East Haven and attended by many of my co-workers and friends.

Though Dr. Mel often claims we’re in prediction and not production it’s tough to believe he didn’t have some hand in this beautiful day.

Ask Me Anything–Are You Related To Dr. Mel?

Mel tells me Arlene gets upset when people ask–as well she should

I’m currently answering all your questions. Read more about it here.

Here’s a question I get all the time. It comes from Andy. “Geoff…What is your relationship with Mel Goldstein?”

The rumor started a few years ago. People began saying Dr. Mel was my father-in-law! I have no idea how it got started.

Nope. Not true. Dr. Mel and his wife Arlene have two daughters, but they’re married to others.

Mel tells me Arlene gets upset when people ask–as well she should. She’s much too young to be my mother-in-law!

I’ve known Mel since I came to Connecticut. Early on we had a rocky relationship. That’s been behind us for a very long time and we get along famously. Our skill sets are different and each is willing to help the other–and we often do! Dr. Mel even came to the JDRF Gala to present me with my award.

Thirteen years ago Mel was diagnosed with a deadly form of cancer. He never accepted that diagnosis. There is a lot to learn about life from Dr. Mel!

He realized early on he had to be his own advocate to get the treatment he needed. Dr. Mel became an expert in multiple myeloma so he could help guide his own care. When he heard of groundbreaking research at a hospital in Arkansas Dr. Mel called and spoke to the lead researcher. After a lengthy conversation the voice on the other end asked, “Dr. Goldstein, are you a physician?”

Though his cancer is currently responding to treatment it’s an ongoing battle. The disease itself has caused irreparable harm to his spine and back and left him a half foot shorter and in near constant pain.

Instead of kvetching Mel has dedicated himself to helping others with cancer. He’s raised a fortune for research, lectured and personally counseled others often giving hope to those who’ve lost theirs.

When my friend Kevin discovered he had pancreatic cancer Dr. Mel called heavy hitters at home in the middle of the 4th of July weekend. This way Kevin would have the best treatment as soon as possible. I’ll never forget that kindness.

You could do worse than having Mel and Arlene as your in-laws.

Party for Dr. Mel

About 7 years ago, one of the people I work with in the Weather Department discovered he had cancer. Dr. Mel Goldstein, known by everyone as Dr. Mel, had multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells. Mel had discovered his disease after back pain from a car accident just wouldn’t go away.

Today, Mel and his wife Arlene threw a party. They have a home right on Long Island Sound just east of New Haven. The weather was perfect, making their view of the Sound even better. Long Island was clearly visible on the horizon.

I remember going to Mel’s home right after he found out what he had. I was with Jeff Bailey, our webguy at the station. We went to install a PC at Mel’s house so he could track the weather from home. We hooked up the computer and a modem and then proceeded to show him how to search using Google. This was a while ago and not nearly as many people were web savvy.

We reached the site of the Multiple Myeloma Society. It was a good first example, because Mel and his wife were desperate for information. We all read along silently, not realizing that the page contained a reference to the average time from discovery to mortality – how long someone normally lived after finding out he had multiple myeloma.

I don’t remember the number, except it was was under 1,000 days.

Obviously, Dr. Mel has outlived those projections. This is not to say the disease hasn’t taken a toll, because it has. Not only has he lived with the specter of death, but also the physical pain caused by the cancer’s effect on his bones.

He has lost 6-7″ in height and walks with a cane. At the station, we’ve installed a ramp to allow him to reach the studio floor easily. At home, a small motorized chair saves him from walking the stairs to the second floor. I know he is in pain each and every day.

Today’s party was to celebrate another milestone in living beyond anyone’s expectations. But this is not a story of luck. He is alive because of his own persistence. Dr. Mel became his own best advocate for care. Though not a medical doctor, he became an expert on multiple myeloma and was able to help his physicians guide his own treatment.

Without dedication, Mel would be dead. If he had given up, gone through the motions with his cancer treatment, he would be dead. But he chose not to die. He chose to aggressively fight.

There is no cure for multiple myeloma right now. There is therapy which is working. How long this fire hose treatment will keep the flames down is anyone’s guess.

Meanwhile, today was worth celebrating.