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Coping With a Myeloma Diagnosis: Regaining Emotional and Psychological Control

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Published on November 28, 2017

The emotional and psychological battle from a myeloma diagnosis doesn’t have to be fought alone. Tune in to hear Dr. Frits van Rhee and Kristen Carter discuss how to take control of mental health, which is a vital factor to living well throughout the journey of cancer, and provide supportive resources available to help patients cope.

This town meeting is sponsored by Amgen, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Takeda Oncology. It is produced by Patient Power in partnership with the UAMS Myeloma Institute.

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Transcript | Coping With a Myeloma Diagnosis: Regaining Emotional and Psychological Control

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. 

Dr. van Rhee:

Dr. Tricot already alluded that patients are suddenly confronted with the fact that they’re mortal. The other thing that people struggle with is that they lose control. You think you’re controlling your life, and suddenlyyou don’t have that anymore. 

There are things you can do. You have to follow the guidelines of your doctor. So there is an element of depression and difficulty coping, which is diagnosed as the disease and the treatment. So looking after your spiritual and psychological health is very important, whether it’s financial or talking to your pastor, your family or friends or a patient support group; the emotional aspect of having this disease, for which you can require long-term treatment and long-term follow-up is very, very important. 

And I think the psychological impact cannot be underestimated. It’s quite often something that we as doctors sometimes in our busy clinical practice don’t address very well, because we’re focused on how is the patient doing, what is the disease doing, or something to the drugs, etc. 

So to tap into all the other support systems that are there and available I think is very, very important. 

Jeff Folloder:     

Something to add?

Kristin Carter:   

I totally agree with Dr. Tricot. Dr. van Rhee and myself had a patient in clinic last week. Five years she’s been in remission, and she came to us just last week and said, “I finally feel like myself again.” And we don’t address the psychological. I have patients that come in, 10, 15 years in remission. The first thing I say when I come in the room is everything looks good, and you can visibly see their face change. It’s like, phew. 

They can kind of put it in the back of their mind until we stick them for the bone marrow and then we run them through the scan, and then all of a sudden they’re faced with those initial—everybody remembers their first scan or their first bone marrow. So they immediately go back to that time when they were diagnosed, every time we put them through the workup. And it’s amazing, you can still see it on their face 15 years later in remission.

Jeff Folloder:     

It’s amazing. We’re talking about living well, and I’m so encouraged that everyone has brought up the components of anxiety and depression, because it’s real. Every single person in this room and online that’s dealing with myeloma right now, whether you want to admit it or not, at one point you’ve dealt with depression and anxiety. And the rest of Elizabeth Kubler Ross’ anger, denial, bargaining, acceptance and all of that stuff; nobody wants a diagnosis of cancer; nobody. But you’ve got medical experts. 

You’ve got mid-level practitioners, and you’ve got people here who show no matter how hard it gets, no matter how painful it is, at some point I’m going to pick up that bow and I’m going to nail that target at 65 pounds, where I didn’t think I could lift a teaspoon last week. You can live well.

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.