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Advice for Managing Myeloma-Related Fatigue

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Published on November 12, 2018

During this Myeloma Patient Café, a panel of multiple myeloma patients, including Cynthia Chmielewski, Steven Simpson, Melissa Vaughn and Jill Zitzewitz, discuss ways to cope with fatigue on a day-to-day basis. Can diet and exercise help? The panel shares how, although it may feel counter-intuitive, exercise may reduce feelings of fatigue, ways to build stamina and core strength, and setting exercise goals after treatment. The panel also discusses how diet and nutrition can influence energy. Watch now to learn more about myeloma symptom management.

Produced by Patient Power. We thank Celgene Corporation, Genentech, Helsinn and Novartis for their support.

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Transcript | Advice for Managing Myeloma-Related Fatigue

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Cindy Chmielewski:

I'm not a person to take naps in the afternoon unless it's one of those things where like over the recent past I can't control it, but just got to learn to listen to yourself.  If it's time to take a break, you take a break. I don't know what else to say because sleeping on a regular schedule is virtually impossible.  It doesn't happen anymore.  I hope someday it does, but even with a CPAP I'm lucky to get five, six hours at best in a given night.  And, of course, steroid days forget it.  You're lucky to get two or three over the course of a couple days.  

But for me again it's just listen to what your body is telling you, and if it's telling you better slow down, slow down.  Because again if you don't, we all know that that's going to get you in the end, the stress, the fatigue.  There are so many things that we don't—we didn't focus on prior, at least I didn't, they've now become a point to where if you don't you're going to get sick. And obviously we all know that getting sick is the last thing we want because that just multiplies to something we don't want to deal with.  So it's just kind of one of those things.  

But exercise I think is one of those that for me kind of helps with that because you start pushing yourself, you build the endurance, build that ability to do a few more things or more than you maybe were doing before.  It's the same thing as after transplant, get out and walk, get out and move. I can remember after transplant if I was lucky to get two or three block is in on a walk that was good at the time, but at least it was something.  You know, you had to build that stamina, you had to build that part of it back up. It's a continual process.  You've got to keep going.   

And also I'll put in a plug for physical therapy because that's the realm I work in, and they work closely with your doctor, and they can devise a treatment plan based on your precautions, contraindications, things like that of that nature where you can exercise safely, and they can develop a treatment plan for you.  They can also issue braces and things like that if that's what you need to exercise.  But I truly believe that that can increase your quality of life, those two things. Post-transplant, pre-transplant, during multiple myeloma.  

So I found that that was really helpful for me.  It was also a support.  There were other cancer survivors there, and it got me back exercising, and now I'm also back in the lab.  I'm a scientist, so I'm on my feet most of the day in the lab, but it actually helps. It doesn't make me more tired.  It helps me to keep moving.  

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.