Myeloma UK news // 27th November 2018
Being diagnosed and living with myeloma can be overwhelming and bring a rollercoaster of emotions. At the point of diagnosis you may feel a wave of negative feelings, but many patients also feel relieved that they finally know what has been causing their symptoms.
Myeloma UK news // 27th November 2018
Looking after your emotional wellbeing as well as your physical health is very important when living with myeloma. Understanding why you might be feeling the way you do can then help you identify ways of managing your emotions. There are many different factors that will influence how you feel, for example, you may be feeling the way you do because of the impact of living with the cancer itself, but at other times, your moods and emotions may be affected by treatments.
Stages of a diagnosis
Different stages of a myeloma diagnosis will have an impact on how you are feeling. After a diagnosis, you may feel worried, confused or relieved. A diagnosis can be overwhelming and it’s important to speak to your healthcare team about any initial questions or worries you have.
Achieving remission can often be filled with positive emotions, and you may start to feel more like yourself again. As a relapsing and remitting cancer though, you may continue to feel anxious but it is important to take things one day at a time.
Relapsing or being told that you are refractory to treatment can be devastating, and may bring up past emotions that you experienced at diagnosis. Your healthcare team should give you all the information you need about possible other treatments and next steps.
Steroids are frequently used in myeloma treatment, however, they can cause mood and personality changes that can range from mild irritability to acute psychosis. Some patients say that they feel like different people whilst on this type of treatment, so it is important that you keep an eye on how you’re feeling whilst taking drugs such as dexamethasone and prednisolone. As with all side effects, you should mention these to your doctor and you may want to keep a diary to monitor your changes in mood.
Dealing with moods and emotions
There are a number of ways for you to deal with your emotions, and it’s all about finding what works for you. If you are feeling stressed, you may find that doing an activity such as exercise or taking up a hobby is a good way to channel your energy. This can be anything from reading to arts and crafts.
Talking to someone about how you are feeling is also very important. Whether it’s family or friends or our Myeloma Information Specialists on the Infoline, there will always be someone ready to listen to you.
Getting in touch with your feelings can also help to relieve negative emotions. You may find it easy to write down how you are feeling or express your emotions creatively through music, painting or creative writing. Some patients also find meditation and mindfulness useful to relieve stress.
Not just for patients
A myeloma diagnosis will also have a huge impact on family and friends. Sometimes, people have to assume the role of a carer and this can often be hard to come to terms with.
It’s important to take time for yourself, ask for help when you need it and be aware of what resources are available to you.
The Myeloma Infoline and Ask the Nurse email is a source for everyone affected by myeloma, including carers, family and friends. Our Myeloma Information Specialists can also put you in touch with someone in our PEER Network who has gone through similar experiences.
You can find out more about dealing with moods and emotions in our Infopack for carers of myeloma patients or take a look at page 23 of the Autumn 2018 Myeloma Matters for more advice for looking after yourself as a carer.