Published on November 20, 2017
Tune in to hear how myeloma patient advocate, Alan Stephenson, finds inner strength to rise above his myeloma condition and maintain physical activity and peace of mind.
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.
Transcript | Myeloma Patient Shares His Key to Recovery
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One of the keys in recovery is to do what you don’t feel like doing. What exactly motivates you to do those things that you don't like doing? How do you get through that?
I just know that that’s the only way I’m going to get stronger and get better. A perfect example, when I came and met Dr. Morgan the first time, I think he was pretty shocked that I wasn’t in a wheelchair. I’m going to tell you a funny story. Here it comes. So, he tells me all these things that’s wrong with me. He says I was really expecting to see a very sick guy come in here, and he said you don’t look sick.
And I said, I don’t really feel sick; I don’t have the energy but I figured that was pain wearing me down because I’ve been pretty uncomfortable. Anyway, it was me and my wife and Dr. Morgan and my adopted sister, Nadine Baxter, who is his APN. Anyway, he looks at my wife and says Alan must do pretty well with pain because I don't think I could have walked in the office likehe did with that much damage to my body.
And Nadine looked at him and she goes: Oh, I know you couldn't have; you’re not nearly that tough.
Thank you, Nadine.
I love Nadine. But you know, they were trying to get me to use a wheelchair because I was in a lot of pain. I'd had a vertebroplasty; they had fixed my L5 at the hospital in my hometown. I was walking like I had had a stroke. And I just said, I’m not using a wheelchair, because that’s a sign of giving up. I’m not being critical of people that do, but I knew for me personally the only way I was going to keep my strength up was to make myself walk. And even when I went through the first two rounds of chemo, the induction, I'd had my bag of chemo drugs pumping in me and go walk around the apartment complex; slowly, but I did it.
I might not be able to walk very far, but I'd walk what I could. And whatever I did the day before, I'd try to do a little bit more the next day. I just have maintained that all the way through. I think that’s a big reason of why I’m able to work now and get out in the yard and do yard work. I have to be careful. Like I said, I’m not 100 percent but I am enjoying life. I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life. I’m more at peace.
I’m more at peace with the world than I’ve ever been. I’ve always been a type A, wound tight.
Now, I’m a lot more focused on the journey of life than the destination.