Life with multiple myeloma
"I've always had a very healthy lifestyle: I haven't smoked, stayed active and had a healthy diet. That's why the question – why me – keeps persisting. But there is no answer. So, there’s nothing else to do but to face this disease and deal with it".
Martin, 73 years old
If you've been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the news will probably be hard to accept. Although you may find some comfort in finding the reason for your troubles and discomforts, it is hard to accept having multiple myeloma. Suddenly you are no longer just an individual; you are also labelled as a patient. Multiple myeloma can be treated, but as a rule, it is still considered, in the long-run, an incurable disease. Science has progressed and recent results show optimistic signs, but you must display cautious optimism.
Many patients can look forward to living a life that is equal to their quality of life prior to the diagnosis. This disease can be ‘cured’ for many years, but not always and not for everyone. Perhaps the possibility of attaining full recovery lies in the allogenic HSCT, but unwanted side effects must be contained, as well as the mortality rate connected to it. Every patient has their own individual response to the treatment. Some will face the facts quickly; others will need more time to cope. Some have a more optimistic outlook on life than others. But all in all, you will need some time to accept the disease and adjust to living with it.
Sharing the news with relatives and people you know will probably be difficult as well. Perhaps you will feel scared and uncertain of the outcome. These feelings are completely normal; as a matter of fact, they are to be expected. Our advice is not to ask yourself ‘why’. Try to have a positive outlook on the future as your life is far from over. Gather as much information as possible and get in touch with patients that have the same disease; perhaps they are the ones that will help you overcome your fears and anxieties. Although some things in life will change tremendously, this disease will help you have a more positive outlook on certain things. A lot of patients bond with their families as a result of this diagnosis, finally seeing what is truly important in life. All in all, the most important aspect of it all remains receiving high quality professional support. The next chapters describe assistance available to you.