A multiple myeloma diagnosis can be overwhelming for a loved one. They’ll need encouragement and positive energy. In the face of this, you may feel helpless. But your love and support can play a pivotal role in their recovery.
Here are a few tips to help a loved one manage and cope with multiple myeloma.
1. Learn about their treatment
Your loved one has a lot on their plate, so they’ll appreciate any support you can offer. Managing multiple myeloma treatment can be stressful. If you learn about their condition and treatment, it’ll be easier to empathize and understand their recovery process.
To educate yourself, ask to accompany your loved one on doctor appointments. This provides an opportunity to learn about treatment options directly from their doctor. You can also ask the doctor questions to understand your loved one’s prognosis and treatment. In addition, the doctor can give diet recommendations and any other specific instructions.
Your presence at appointments is helpful because your loved one may not remember every bit of information shared by the doctor. Offer to take notes for them to refer back to after the appointment.
2. Help organize a care plan
Organizing a care plan may be difficult for someone who is battling the side effects of treatment. If possible, step in and lend a helping hand. Create a schedule of their doctor appointments, or come up with a schedule for taking medication. You can also call in prescription refills or pick up their prescriptions from the pharmacy.
3. Provide practical assistance
Multiple myeloma can take a physical and emotional toll on your loved one. Your relative or friend may need daily support. In addition to driving them to doctor appointments, offer to run errands, cook meals, clean their home, babysit their kids, or assist with personal care like dressing and feeding.
4. Offer a listening ear
Sometimes, people with multiple myeloma just want to talk and express how they feel. Even though you may also feel scared, it’s important to provide a listening ear and offer encouragement. Being able to talk or cry freely about their diagnosis may help them feel better. If they can confide in you, they’re less likely to keep their feelings bottled up.
5. Support their decisions
Various treatments are available for multiple myeloma. Some people with multiple myeloma choose medication, surgery, or radiation to achieve remission. But others with progressive multiple myeloma choose not to treat the disease. Instead, they treat the symptoms.
You may not agree with your loved one’s decision regarding treatment. However, they have to make a decision based on what they feel is right for their body and health.
If your loved one asks for help in choosing the right treatment, there’s nothing wrong with sitting down with them and weighing the pros and cons. Just remember that it’s ultimately their decision.
6. Do research on their behalf
Treating multiple myeloma can create a financial burden for your loved one. Resources are available for financial assistance, but your loved may have too much on their plate to do the proper research.
Speak with social workers, caseworkers, or private organizations on their behalf to discuss eligibility, or ask the doctor about local or statewide resources.
Something else to consider is local or online support groups. It may also be beneficial for them to speak with a counselor and connect with people living with the same illness. This way, they don’t feel alone.
7. Provide continuing support
Eventually, your loved one’s cancer may go into remission. This doesn’t mean that you stop providing help and support. It may take a while to regain full strength and resume normal activities. Your assistance might be needed for some time.
Once they’ve completed treatment, they may need to make a few lifestyle changes to improve their long-term outlook and reduce the likelihood of a relapse. Making some dietary improvements and keeping an active lifestyle will strengthen their immune system.
Offer assistance by helping them find recipes and prepare healthy meals. Support and encourage them as they begin a new exercise routine. Join them on walks or go to the gym together.
Even without medical training or experience as a caregiver, it’s possible to assist a loved one undergoing multiple myeloma treatment.
Treatment can be short term or long term, and sometimes it may be too much for them to handle. With your support and love, it’ll be easier for them to cope with this reality and remain positive throughout treatment.