Living with Multiple Myeloma
A multiple myeloma diagnosis can change the lives of patients and the people who care about them. These changes can be hard to handle. It is important for patients and their loved ones to receive support for multiple myeloma, it is common to have many different and sometimes confusing emotions.
At times, multiple myeloma patients and their loved ones may feel frightened, angry, or depressed. These are normal reactions when people face a serious health problem. Most people handle their problems better if they can share their thoughts and feelings with those close to them. Sharing can help everyone feel more at ease and can open the way for people to show one another their concern and offer their support.
After a multiple myeloma diagnosis, worries about tests, treatments, hospital stays, and medical bills are common. Doctors, nurses, social workers, and other members of the health care team may help calm fears and ease confusion. They also can provide information and suggest resources to help you deal with your multiple myeloma diagnosis.
Patients and their families are naturally concerned about what the future holds. Sometimes, after being diagnosed with multiple myeloma, people use statistics to try to figure out whether a cure is possible or how long the patient will live. It is important to remember, however, that statistics are averages based on large numbers of patients. They can't be used to predict what will happen to a certain patient because no two cancer patients are alike. The doctor who takes care of the patient and knows his or her history is in the best position to discuss the person's outlook (prognosis).
People should feel free to ask the doctor about their multiple myeloma prognosis, but not even the doctor knows for sure what will happen. Doctors may talk about the chances of remission. They also may talk about managing or controlling multiple myeloma rather than curing it, even when patients respond well to treatment. They use these terms because the disease may get worse at a later time.