Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Many of these treatments and therapies involve a considerable risk to your overall health. It is important that you have a good understanding of your treatment options before you proceed.
It is helpful to have some questions prepared for your doctors’ visits, and take notes so you can get the most out of your time with them. Some examples of questions you may want to ask are:
- What is this therapy?
- What side effects can I expect?
- Which side effects should I contact you about? How do I contact you in an emergency?
- Will I need to be hospitalized?
- How long will it take before I begin to see benefit from this therapy?
- How long will I need to have it for?
- Will I be able to continue working?
- Will my insurance plan cover this therapy?
Taking Care of Yourself During Myeloma Therapy
During therapy, you should expect to feel more tired than usual. You may be going from appointment to appointment, and you will have extra stressors in your life. It is important that you listen to your body’s signals, and rest when you need to. How about a nice afternoon nap, or staying cozy in bed a little longer in the morning?
You may also have some pain related to bone complications of your disease. While it may feel like your pain is worse with activity, it is still very important for your bone health, your mental well-being, and the rest of your body to keep moving.
Most importantly, you must accept the support and assistance from your friends and family at this time. Allow them to pick up your medications from the pharmacy for you, prepare a meal for you, and drive you to or from your appointments. It is okay if your housekeeping isn’t perfect right now, or if you do not feel motivated to go too far from home. This is a difficult time for you, and you need to give yourself permission to focus on getting well, and letting go of the little things.
The Bottom Line
Several treatment options are available for myeloma patients. These may include drug therapy, radiation, stem cell transplant, or a combination of these. It is possible to improve your quality of life as well as prolong your life with these treatment options. Each of these therapies has their own risks and benefits, and your healthcare team will help you to decide which ones are right for you.
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Nau, Konrad and Lewis, William "Multiple Myeloma: Diagnosis and Treatment" American Family Physician 1 October 2008 78:853-859.
Raab, Marc S., Podar, Klaus, Breitkreutz, Iris et al "Multiple Myeloma"Lancet 25 July 2009 374:324-339.