Multiple Myeloma: Lifestyle Tips to Manage
After a diagnosis of multiple myeloma, it’s normal to reflect on how you can best take care of yourself.
Most importantly, seeing your health team on a frequent basis to check your progress and make treatment decisions is a crucial component of maintaining your health.
Taking care of yourself, though, extends beyond doctor’s appointments and treatments. You can increase your quality of life and sense of well-being by taking additional steps.
Here are some steps you can take to regain control of your life and health.
Regular activity is important for everyone. It’s known to help reduce stress and improve sleep.
For people diagnosed with multiple myeloma, staying active can also help:
- manage pain
- cope with fatigue
- strengthen physical function
- reduce anxiety
- boost self-esteem
- improve quality of life
When you have multiple myeloma, it’s natural to feel unable to exercise. To make an impact, your fitness levels don’t have to be high. It’s all about figuring out how to get more exercise. Gentle walking, stretching, or chair yoga are all good options.
Multiple myeloma patients frequently have bone pain. When you’re in pain, it’s difficult to stay active. Consider enlisting the help of a physical therapist. This type of expert can assist you in finding activities that suit your needs.
There is no one-size-fits-all diet for multiple myeloma patients. However, eating healthy can assist to keep your energy and mood in check. A well-balanced diet can also aid recovery and make treatments more effective.
If you’re experiencing nausea, pain, or weariness, it may be difficult to eat enough.
If you’re feeling queasy or tired, eating something small every 2 to 4 hours may help. Make a list of quick meal or snack ideas that you may turn to when you’re feeling tired and don’t know what to eat. Stock up on yogurt, almonds, eggs, cheese, crackers, oats, and muffins. If it’s difficult to eat, nutritional supplement drinks can help.
Ask for assistance with grocery shopping and dinner preparation. Allow a friend or family member to pick up groceries or make meals for you. You could also consider using a shopping or food delivery service.
If you feel like cooking, huge portions can be made with instruments like a slow cooker or an Instant Pot. Keep single-serve portions of meals in the freezer so you can reheat a variety of dishes.
If you’re having trouble eating enough or coping with other issues, consult a nutritionist. You can come up with an eating plan that works best for you if you work together.
People who smoke have harsher side effects from therapies than those who do not smoke. Smoking also raises your chances of contracting other chronic conditions.
It’s understandable if the prospect of quitting feels overwhelming. There are options available to assist you if you’re considering quitting. Nicotine replacement solutions, pharmaceuticals, and counseling can all help you reduce your nicotine intake and eventually quit.
Reduce Alcohol Intake
Talk with your doctor about whether alcohol interferes with any of your medications. For many people with multiple myeloma, moderate alcohol intake is generally okay. That means:
- up to one drink a day for women
- up to two drinks a day for men
Increased alcohol consumption may have certain harmful consequences. The balance of bacteria in your digestive tract might be disrupted by alcohol. Your immune response is already lowered as a result of multiple myeloma. Your immune system may be harmed much more if you consume alcohol. This makes it more difficult for your body to fight infection.
Alcohol might also have a negative impact on your sleep. It may assist you in falling asleep, but it will not provide you with a comfortable night’s sleep. It’s advisable to avoid or restrict alcohol before night if you have multiple myeloma fatigue.
Improve Your Sleep
Multiple myeloma patients frequently experience fatigue. This could be related to the cancer, or the treatments used to treat it.
Getting enough sleep will not make you feel better, but it will keep you from becoming even more weary.
Every day, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time. Determine that your space is dark and at a comfortable temperature. If you’re having difficulties sleeping, try using relaxation techniques including deep breathing, peaceful visualization to help you drift off, and meditation.
You may want to close your eyes, sit in a quiet spot, loosen any tight clothing, and concentrate on your breathing. Aim to focus on the present and think positive thoughts.
Make Time for Hobbies
We all have things that bring us joy. Consider the things in life that make you smile. Life can get busy with appointments. Be sure you make time for things you love. Find time to:
- Visit with a friend who makes you laugh
- Sit outside in nature
- Listen to music
- Curl up with a good book
These moments of joy can make a big difference in your mood and give you an energy boost.
Look for Emotional Support
You don’t have to go through cancer alone. Joining a support group can help you connect with others who understand your situation.
Support groups can take place in person or online. You can also send messages or ask inquiries in online forums. It’s empowering to share your own story with others and learn what works for them.
Working with a mental health counselor may also be beneficial. This person can assist you in better coping with challenging thoughts and feelings.