Advertisement

Maintain Your Emotional Well-Being During Multiple Myeloma Remission

Maintain Your Emotional Well-Being During Multiple Myeloma Remission

The knowledge that a relapse is likely can make coping a challenge.

Multiple myeloma is a treatable disease, but not, at this point, a curable one. Even entry into remission doesn’t signal the end of worries and concerns for patients—with this type of cancer, moving from remission to relapse and then back again is the expected routine. Pressure can continue to mount for patients during remission. And this fear and anxiety around the possibility of a relapse can have a sizable impact on your emotional and psychological health.

Here are some coping strategies that can help you cope and maintain your emotional well being, even through anxiety during remission and potential relapses.

Acknowledge the transition from cancer care to remission
After your diagnosis, you were likely surrounded by people eager to help. Your friends, family and co-workers reached out with messages of support. Your calendar filled up with doctor’s appointments and scheduled treatment. Cancer treatment is not easy, but it’s often very busy. Consider remission your “new normal,” and give yourself time to adjust.

The National Cancer Institute points out that “one of the hardest things after treatment is not knowing what happens next. . . . It's not so much ‘getting back to normal’ as it is finding out what's normal for you now.” Be patient with yourself as you adjust from days jam-packed with health-related appointments, potentially return back to work, and create a new day-to-day routine.

Accept support
Isolating yourself, or hiding the emotional stress and strain of multiple myeloma, is not a good idea. Fortunately, many people and organizations are available to offer help and support:

  • Family and friends: Reach out to the people you know, so that you are not journeying alone.
  • Religious or spiritual organizations: For many, religion is a comfort during times of stress, fear and anxiety.
  • Psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers: These trained therapists can help you understand and cope with your complicated feelings.
  • Support groups: Available both in person and online, people in these groups can be a source of practical knowledge along with empathy.

Embrace lifestyle changes
Making it to remission is an accomplishment—your body has done an amazing thing. That means quitting smoking (if you haven’t already), as well as eating healthy and exercising regularly.

Exercise can be particularly important. Not only is it known to reduce stress and help ward off mild depression, but exercise can also counteract the fatigue that often sets in during treatment and help you regain bone and muscle strength, which may be diminished thanks to the cancer and its treatment. Before starting any exercise regimen—particularly if it’s been awhile since you worked out—speak to your doctor.

Try relaxation techniques
There’s nothing helpful, or beneficial to your health, about feeling stress and anxiety. If you feel overcome with these emotions, consider trying relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, visualization, meditation and progressive muscle relaxation.

You may be able to connect with programs where you were treated that will show you how to use these techniques. Or, try reaching out to your local yoga studio or meditation center.

more from this guide

Why Remission Doesn’t Mean Treatment Is Over Why Remission Doesn’t Mean Treatment Is Over

When it comes to multiple myeloma, entering remission doesn’t necessarily signal an end to treatment.

Read More
Must-Know Multiple Myeloma Facts Must-Know Multiple Myeloma Facts

Newly diagnosed? This is what to expect.

Read More
As a Cancer Survivor, How Can I Deal with My Fear of a Recurrence?
5 Mistakes to Avoid During Multiple Myeloma Remission 5 Mistakes to Avoid During Multiple Myeloma Remission

Remission is good news—but it doesn’t mean an end to doctor’s visits. Here’s what you need to know.

Read More