How Can Myeloma Patients Embrace Living in the Moment to Avoid Stress?

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Topics include: Living With Multiple Myeloma

A myeloma diagnosis and treatment journey will affect your established relationships, and your role in them, in various ways and can be a challenging adjustment. Robin Katz, a licensed clinical social worker, shares what to expect and ways to maintain social connections.

The Living Well with Myeloma series is a Patient Empowerment Network Program produced by Patient Power. We thank Celgene, Takeda, Amgen and AbbVie for their support.

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Transcript

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:

Robin, how do people with this overwhelming feeling—what are some things that you talk about to people, so they don’t see years, or every day, or a lifetime, as black? 

Robin Katz:        

Well, to piggyback on what Laurie and Danny said, it’s trying to stay in the moment. And, that’s really hard for some patients. And, certainly, the diagnosis at the beginning is very overwhelming. And so, once they get through one or two treatments, and they kinda know what to expect, then they sort of go on this path of moving along. But then, something else will happen, medication will change. So, or, they’ll have to go for a different treatment, you know?

So, we try and work with the patient, and their family members, about staying in the moment, as much as possible. And, not looking too far ahead. Because this is a chronic disease, at this point, it really is. For the younger patients, it’s really devastating, because they don’t have a network of people their age. So, it’s very difficult to find support for them. And, their problem is compounded by their peers, who are out and about, late at night, doing things, and they just can’t participate. 

Andrew Schorr:

Uh-huh. And, you, obviously, have seen examples of stresses on relationships. Sometimes you have marriages where they’re under great stress, friendships that are under great stress. How do people deal with that? 

Robin Katz:        

Absolutely. Well, you know, it’s interesting. I do ask my patients who are in relationships what their communication style is, because I do tell the caregiver, it’s okay to tell their partner, their loved one who has the myeloma diagnosis, that this sucks. As long as it’s done in a gentle, loving manner. And not out of anger, or frustration. Because you’re—as a caregiver, you’re entitled to these feelings. And, you need respite, as well. That’s a whole other topic to discuss, as far as taking time off for yourself, and your family members. So I talk about open communication, I talk about journaling, if that helps a patient, just to get it off their chest, and they can throw out that piece of paper. They don’t have to save it, and review it, and rehash it over and over again. 

But it is a big stress on marriages and friendships. Unfortunately, I’m sure Danny can attest to this, or you, Andrew, as patients. Friends fall by the wayside. The people you expect to be there, don’t always show up, and the people you least expect show up. And, I tell patients, embrace that. Because that’s who’s gonna be there for you.And, it’s disappointing when the people who don’t show up, and you expected them to show up, don’t, and there’s a grieving process to that, quite honestly. 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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Page last updated on June 25, 2019