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Emil Parente: Living with WM for 34 Years

Published in the Torch October 2012, pages 11, 32.

In 1980, at the relatively young age of fifty and with two young children at home, Emil Parente was diagnosed with WM – a disease about which very little was known at the time. Happily, he is still doing very well after all these years. He wants others with WM to take heart and hope from his WM journey.

At the time of his diagnosis, Emil was working as a senior executive for Fluor Corporation, and was required to have an annual company physical. Blood tests indicated that he had a high erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and he was referred to a specialist to determine the cause. When Emil arrived at the specialist’s office, he discovered that the doctor’s specialty was oncology, and he began to realize that he might have a serious problem. After a bone marrow aspiration, the doctor provided a preliminary diagnosis of multiple myeloma, but another physician indicated that it was Waldenström’s “syndrome” instead (as it was referred to then).

Since those early moments of discovery and diagnosis, Emil has experienced a lot of impacts from WM and from the many different therapies he has undergone. Throughout the three-plus decades he has lived with the disease, thanks to the many advances in WM treatment that he has seen become available, he has maintained an optimistic outlook that this disease is manageable and that quality of life can be maintained. Moreover, as an active IWMF Support Group leader for many years, he has influenced and assisted hundreds of others to educate themselves and their caregivers, in order to cope well with whatever WM has inflicted on them. Read the details of his long-lived experience and the lessons he learned that were so helpful to others with WM.