5 Ways Multiple Myeloma Changes your Life

by Blake Hoffmeyer

Multiple Myeloma often times has an enormous impact on the patient’s life. Being prepared can help you to navigate the troubled waters. Here are some things that WhatNexters have experienced:

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1) The Treatment is Involving

In cases of Multiple Myeloma, treatment is different from case to case. Almost every element, though, requires a significant change in lifestyle. One of the best examples of this comes from Autologous Stem Cell Transplants. In this, a patient will have chemical radiation infused into the bloodstream to kill off all of the bad Myeloma cells. However, this also kills off the good cells responsible for your immune system. Because of this, it's necessary to remain in the sterilized and controlled environment of the hospital in order to ensure that they aren't infected with a secondary disease. With a weakened immune system, even small common diseases can be serious. Sometimes, these procedures can take months, so the patient has to plan his or her life around treatment availability.

2) Work

Multiple Myeloma weakens the immune system for the duration of treatment and will often continue to into remission. This means that some careers will have to change. If you are in an environment with lots of germs – such as at a school or a store, which is visited by hundreds of people per day – you might have to change jobs. You also have to be able to have the time to go to the doctor and have various procedures. In addition, with your body fighting the disease 24/7, it often is exhausting to the one suffering from Multiple Myeloma. All of this should be considered when planning treatment.

3) Become an Expert on your Disease

Everyone knows that the doctors have the knowledge, training, and experience to treat your condition, but it's important to be an active participant. Also, it's important to see a Multiple Myeloma specialist as new clinical trials are happening all the time and a specialist will be specifically up to date on your disease. Keep in mind that most doctors have many patients, so make sure to keep up to date on what is going on with your treatment. Make sure to ask the right questions – especially if there’s anything new you’ve read about. Make sure that you understand what is going on and have a full grasp on your health.

4) Chemo Brain

Forgetting dates, meetings, appointments, and a host of other things are commonly reported among WhatNexters. This is why it's important to formulate an appropriate strategy for dealing with these situations. For example, can you put all of your appointments into your phone's calendar and set reminders? This will help ensure that you don't miss anything. Setting alarms can help to ensure that you don't miss or forget about the important things and that you can spend your time and energy enjoying life instead.

5) “Fun” is more Difficult

One huge component of treatment is having positive experiences that can hold you over through the rough times. Take the time to engage your family. Skype with the grandkids. Text your nieces and nephews. Take the time to enjoy every moment. Positive experiences have been shown to have a dramatic effect on treatment. Find ways to stay positive and have a strategy and someone to talk to whenever you might have a setback.

The difficult part of any Multiple Myeloma diagnosis is figuring out and accepting how it will change your life. If you are prepared, you will be better able to live your life on your own terms instead of having to always react to the disease.

For those of you who have been living with Multiple Myeloma, how did your life change? What advice would you give to others who have just been diagnosed? Feel free to comment below with your own tips and experiences!

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