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Coping with Uncertainty

Emotional WellnessJuly 2019

If you have multiple myeloma, even when you’re in remission, worrying about relapse may be unavoidable. Feelings of anxiety and uncertainty about a recurrence are normal and perfectly understandable. But you can take positive steps to minimize the impact of these feelings on your daily life.

Here are a few suggestions for dealing with the worries you might feel while you are in remission:

Stay in close touch with your medical team.

Think of your health care providers as partners in managing uncertainty. After receiving treatments, it’s important to tell them about new symptoms and changes you feel in your body. Don’t be shy! If you sense anything unusual, ask if it is possibly related to multiple myeloma or if it could have another cause. You may find it helpful to develop a myeloma management plan, which you can do on Myeloma Explained, and share it with your doctor or nurse on your next visit.

Find support from other people with multiple myeloma.

There is no need to take this journey alone. Other people with this disease are confronting the same physical and emotional challenges that you’re facing, including anxiety about relapses. You might find it very comforting and helpful to hear their stories, share your own, and find new ways to cope, whether it be through local support groups, online patient communities, or social media.

Stay active.

It’s common to feel fatigue from multiple myeloma, and of course you need to get enough rest whether or not you’re in remission. But low-intensity physical activities, like yoga, brisk walking and stationary biking, are also highly recommend. Mild exercise will not only strengthen your muscles and increase your energy levels; it could also boost your mood, reduce stress and improve your ability to handle uncertainty about the future.

Try to reduce stress.

If you can find proactive ways to manage the stress caused by fears of recurrence, it could help your body as well as your mind. While exercise is one path to stress reduction, there are many others—from meditation to music to warm baths—and you might find it beneficial to try more than one.

Eat right.

You may feel that you’re not in control of a lot of things going on, but you can control what’s on your plate. Eating well might help you feel better, maintain or improve your strength and energy levels, and help equip your body and mind to deal with the unpredictable future.

Talk to a mental heath professional if you’re overwhelmed.

Some people with multiple myeloma can be so distressed about the future that they find it hard to cope with daily life. If that sounds like you, a trained mental health counselor might be extremely helpful. Health care providers who treat people with cancer often refer patients to qualified psychologists, psychiatrists, or social workers, and you shouldn’t hesitate to ask for a referral.