This quick guide to coping with symptoms and side effects will cover anemia, infections, bone problems, kidney problems, fatigue, peripheral neuropathy, other common side effects, and resources for support. Myeloma and its treatment can lead to some blood-related problems like anemia. Your healthcare team will check you with regular blood tests. If they find anemia, your doctor may recommend growth hormones that stimulate red blood cell growth and/or a blood transfusion.
Here are some tips to help when you have anemia. Get plenty of rest. Eat iron-rich foods. Drink plenty of fluids that aren’t alcohol or caffeine. Ask for help from friends or family when your energy is low. Stand slowly to avoid feeling dizzy after sitting or lying down. Infections can cause you to have very low white blood cell counts also called neutropenia.This can put you at high risk for infections even a small infection or cold may become serious. If you have low white blood cell counts, your doctor may recommend d*rug called growth factors that encourage white blood cell growth, staying away from crowds and people with colds and other contagious illnesses.
Here are some tips to prevent infection. Keep up with vaccines as approved by your oncologist. Encourage friends and family to get theirs too especially the flu vaccine. Wash your hands with soap and water before eating, after the bathroom, and after a sneeze, or cough. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not close. Avoid things that can cause cuts. Use an antiseptic right away if you geta cut. Keep your mouth clean with regular teeth brushing and mouthwash. Avoid uncooked or undercooked meat, chicken, eggs, and seafood. Avoid people with colds.And tell your health care team as soon as possible when you feel sick.
Managingbone problems bone pain and weakness is common for people with multiple myeloma.If you are feeling pain, let your health care team know. They may be able to provide you with treatment to help ease your symptoms, also known as supportive care. If you continue to feel pain, ask to talk with a pain management specialist. Strengthening bones: You can do some things to help strengthen your bones such as eating healthy, including foods with vitamin D and calcium, getting regular physical exercise such as daily walks, yoga, and exercise approved by your doctor.
When these aren’t enough to keep your bones strong, your doctor may recommend bone-strengthening drugs, radiation therapy, orthopedic supports, spinal injections, or complementary medicine. Bone strengthening drugs. Bone strengthening drugs may be given by IV or a monthly shot, and can slow the way multiple myeloma weakens bones. Jaw problems are a rare but serious side effect of these drugs. Have a dental checkup before you start, and let your health care team know if you have jaw pain or sores while on these drugs.
You can learn about other ways to support weakened bones by downloading our multiple myeloma book at www.CancerSupportCommunity.org/multiple-myelomaSome people with multiple myeloma develop kidney problems from the disease and/or its treatment. The kidneys help clean the blood to remove waste, urine,and regulate the body’s water balance. If kidney problems are severe, you may need dialysis. Dialysis is a treatment to remove waste and fluid from your blood.There are two types of dialysis. In hemodialysis, the patient’s blood flows out of the body through a catheter, into a filter that cleans the blood. Then the clean blood returns to the body through the catheter. In peritoneal dialysis, a catheter fills a patient’s abdomen with a dialysis solution that draws wastes and extra fluids from the blood into the abdominal cavity. The wastes and fluids are then drained from the body. If you are on dialysis, here are some tips to protect your kidneys. Adjust your diet Limitprotein, excessive fluid, salt, phosphorus and potassium.
Drink the number of fluids your healthcare team recommends. Water, decaffeinated drinks, and juice are fine.Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Look for signs of overhydration such as swollen ankles and problems breathing. If you’re thirsty but shouldn’t drink more, suck on a lemon, or ice chips, or chew gum. Exercise daily for at least 30 minutes. Walking is a great option, even for 10 minutes at a time.Keep a healthy blood pressure, cholesterol level, and blood glucose level. Keep a healthy body weight. Tell your doctor of any changes in your weight.
Take the proper dose of all medications prescribed. Learn why they mayhelp. Common side effects that can occur as a result of treatment can be fatigue and peripheral neuropathy. Fatigue is when you feel physical, emotionally, or mentally exhausted. You may have trouble finding the energy for even the simplest tasks, and this feeling does not go away with rest. Some tips to help you cope with fatigue include: asking your family and friends for help. Take on less andset realistic goals. Stay positive. Take it one day at a time,and look at each day as a fresh start, Take breaks. Make sure you rest throughout the day. Do not feel guilty on rest days. Take advantage of good days. Organize your activities around your best times of the day where you have themost energy. Spend time with your support network doing things you enjoy. Peripheral neuropathy is when you get nerve damage from treatment. it can cause sensations such as tingling or numbness in your hands, arms, feet, or legs. Some tips to help you cope with peripheral neuropathy include: avoid alcohol,even small amounts can increase nerve damage from chemotherapy. If you are diabetic, control your blood sugar. High blood sugars can also cause nerve damage.
Take safety precautions such as: wearing gloves when washing dishes, or using pot holders when handling pots, use handrails to help avoid falls, wear supportive shoes, check water temperature, keep rooms, outside paths, and stairs well-lit, clear walkways and floors, use non-skid mats in showers and bathtubs. Ask your doctor or nurse what actions make sense for you at home and at work. Other side effects you may experience can include: sleep disturbance, diarrhea, and constipation. For more information about side effects and how to cope with side-effects.
Treatment for multiple myeloma can be expensive. You can learn tips for managing and coping with the cost of your care on the CancerSupport Community website at www.CancerSupportCommunity.org/cost In multiple myeloma, some tests will be used over and over to track changes and see how well you respond to treatment over time. Having to go for repeat follow-up tests, needing ongoing or repeat treatment, and/or changes to your body caused by treatment can cause anxiety, sadness, depression, or frustration. Tell your health care team if you are having these feelings. Support is available. Many people find individual counseling and support groups help them manage these feelings.