How Healthy Can You Be? You have Multiple Myeloma.
To different people that means different things, but there is one constant that connects all multiple myeloma patients — life is different now. You’re not the you that you were before you were diagnosed. For better or worse, you have to adapt to a new normal.
Some patients are asymptomatic. They’re living in MGUS land where the grass is green, but just a little terrifying. Nobody wants to step off of the MGUS path into the dreaded sea of myeloma.
Some patients have bone lesions with a side of tumors. Some are presented with organ involvement. They have to stalk their enzyme levels and they sure don’t want to damage what they have left.
Regardless of how complicated or aggressive your version of myeloma is, you must be vigilant. You must be alert and aware of what your body is doing, and you better keep your healthcare team in the in loop, or they’ll be shooting blind.
This new you is scary, but it can be an opportunity to improve in ways you never thought of. In order to best serve you and all myeloma patients, your doctors, nurses, nutritionists, physical therapists, and oncology researchers need you to be the best you that you can be given your circumstances. You can and should do that by maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.
Starting in January 2019, I will explore the benefits, challenges and solutions that myeloma patients face to help you be the healthiest you you can be. This monthly blog will address healthy and active lifestyles, and suggestions for you to incorporate positive health choices into your personal myeloma journey.
As we age, health issues arise such as arthritis, aches and pains. Sedentary lifestyles, poor nutritional choices, lack of exercise and bad habits often lead to diabetes, muscular and skeletal degeneration, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other chronic health issues. The abundance of these issues not only makes it difficult for researchers to offer patients a full array of treatment options, but they otherwise skew data collected to determine the lifespan of patients or their responsiveness to different therapies.
With your diagnosis, whether it is new or not, you have an opportunity. You get to create a brand new and otherwise healthy you.
Yes, I know that this isn’t an ideal time to address all your “I don’t want to workout” sins when you’re most concerned staying alive as long as possible. But, this is your chance to make life better. This may be your chance to address that pain you’re feeling in your lower back. Or the headaches you fight after every infusion. You can possibly stop gritting your teeth every time you get up from a chair. You can possibly bring back your appetite that you lost with chemotherapy. You can lose that weight you gained, because you hurt too much to move. You can enjoy outside. You can enjoy people. You can enjoy life.
I do know that adopting a healthy and active lifestyle can improve your quality of life. Exercising even during cancer treatment can help control fatigue. It can help you manage your pain. It can help your oncology superheroes do their jobs better and there has been some research to show that exercise might even increase your likelihood of living longer.
Check in with MMRF and me every month for a dose of encouragement, inspiration, motivation and information to make you better.
If you have any active lifestyle questions, email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next month, Keep Moving Forward!