Quick Facts About Multiple Myeloma That You Should Be Aware Of

Source: wikimedia.org

During the months I spent in the chemotherapy center when I still had blood cancer, I got to speak and exchange stories with various patients and their loved ones every session. Sometimes, it would be young kids who seemed so lively when they arrive. Other times, I would meet folks around my age who merely wanted to beat the C word and live the rest of their lives cancer-free like me.

In rare occasions, though, there would be people beyond 40 years old with multiple myeloma. This kind of blood disease is considerably incurable, so one tends to wonder why these individuals would still subject themselves to a treatment that could never guarantee to heal. Nevertheless, a standard answer I heard was, “I want to live longer. If chemotherapy can slow down cancer’s progression, I’ll take it.”

Other than feeling inspired by the strength that multiple myeloma patients show, I also got interested to know more about this unique blood cancer. Let me share some things I found out about the disease.

It Is Not Interchangeable With Leukemia

Having multiple myeloma entails that your B cells inside the bone transform into plasma cells when an infection occurs. As for leukemia, the bone marrow produces an excessive amount of white blood cells, to the point that the platelet and red blood cell counts become imbalanced. With this apparent difference in mind, the two blood cancers should not ever get interchanged.

Source: wikimedia.org

The Abnormalities Occur At Chromosomal Level

What scientists have learned about myeloma is that it can affect the chromosomes, a part of a cell that houses the DNA. These usually get numbered from one to 46, given that a human being has 13 male and female chromosomes each. With the infection going on, some of the chromosomes may change positions. In other cases, deletion may take place, so one of the chromosomes may end up missing. Either occurrence can impede the growth of healthy cells.

It Can Be Hereditary

Quite interestingly, multiple myeloma is a condition that your ancestors can pass down on you and other descendants. Once it develops in one family member, it seems impossible for another person from the same brood to show symptoms of the disease as well.

Bone Damage May Be Inevitable

Considering the illness starts within the bone, it is not surprising to know that 80 percent of the individuals living with multiple myeloma acquire different types of bone diseases. Many are in pain 24/7 because of the destructive lesions or fractures that form on the problematic areas. Others may not be able to walk or move and come down with more health conditions since their bodies hardly generate cells that boost immunity.

Source: wikimedia.org

High Blood Calcium Causes More Symptoms To Appear

When you have myeloma, it is also not impossible for an excessive amount of calcium to enter your bloodstream. Once this issue does not get contained instantly, you may deal with constipation, confusion, and frequent urination, which can only increase the weakness you already feel.

In Conclusion

Multiple myeloma remains as a mysterious form of blood cancer. It baffles the medical world due to how the cells change within its core and the fact that African-American men are more prone to the disease than women or others from various races. Doctors say that it is incurable up to this day too.

If it serves as any consolation, though, you should also be aware of the fact that research is ongoing for multiple myeloma. Although there’s no guarantee that there will be a cure in the coming years, the scientists are investigating other ways to treat the illness more efficiently.

How To Avoid Negativity Once Diagnosed With Lymphoma

Source: wikimedia.org

Among all the blood cancers out there, lymphoma may be on top of everyone’s list when it comes to the diseases that they do not ever wish to contract. Yes, the specialists can recognize it faster than leukemia because the tumor in the lymph nodes may be determined through physical examination. The symptoms of the illness are easier to detect than multiple myeloma as well, considering the latter only shows indications once it hits a later stage. However, the problem is that most lymphoma patients have to participate in the waiting game before their doctors decide that it’s time for them to receive medical treatment.

The logic behind it is that lymphoma is a highly unpredictable blood cancer. You do not know how long it can take to progress – or if it ever will – so you cannot treat it at once. Some people wait for months; others need to spend the next few years of their life with the thought that they can die anytime at the back of their mind. Hence, it is not surprising that patients feel so much negativity at this sad point of their lives.

Nonetheless, you do know that pessimism won’t help your case, right? That’s one thing you should avoid once diagnosed with lymphoma. If you want assistance on this matter, remember the following ideas.

Source: defense.gov
  1. Go Through The Tests Calmly

Having lymphoma practically entails that you will need to undergo a series of tests almost every month. The doctors have to monitor the progression of tumors, after all, and find out whether you are ready for treatment or not. In case you are starting to feel antsy about it, though, since it’s as if you are not getting anywhere, you should keep in mind that these examinations are for your own good. It is better to receive a regular update on what’s going on with your disease instead of staying blind-sided by it.

  1. Don’t Blame Your Doctors

As much as you probably want to get angry at the specialists looking after your well-being for making you wait for so long, you ought to rein in your temper whenever you see them. For one, it is not their fault that your cancer cells bide their time before progressing. They come up with the decision to ‘watch and wait’ because they hope that the tumors will go away and not become triggered by drugs or radiation. Standing by is difficult, yes, but you may benefit from it too.

  1. Avoid Hating Yourself

When you already know about your lymphoma for a while, but you still cannot get a treatment, it is common to develop hate towards yourself over time. You despise feeling weak. It is normal.  As Ryan Parks, M.Ed, LPCC explains, “Our society tells us that if you talk about your issues, express your feelings, or even verbalize you have a mental health disorder, you must be “weak.”.” It seems hard to accept that you did not do anything in the past that made tumors grow in the lymph nodes. However, you should avoid thinking like that since you can only rely on yourself to get rid of the disease.

  1. Stay Surrounded With Loved Ones

After getting diagnosed with lymphoma, it is best to accept the support that your family and friends are offering to you. Talk to them about what your fears may be and how you feel in general. Let them hug you and accompany you during appointments with your doctors. This way, depression cannot creep in your system. Remember, “We only have control of ourselves and our own desire for growth and change. Part of that growth and change is deciding the type of person we allow in our lives, and the positive impact they can have on us.” says Nikki Martinez, Psy.D. LCPC.

  1. Live Your Life

Moreover, you should not allow the disease to keep you from feeling alive. It is not advisable to stress over the matter and remain in the darkest corner of your mind at this time. Continue doing the things you love; pick up a new hobby if you must. That can help you not overthink about your pesky illness.

Source: defense.gov

A licensed clinical psychologist John Mayer, Ph.D. once said, “Negative thoughts are just a part of life, but they don’t have to consume you. Instead of trying to ignore those thoughts altogether, try countering them with positive statements.” Negative thoughts may come so fast when you have an illness that is easy to identify but too tricky to treat. You have no idea who to ask for help; even the doctors stay on the sidelines and wait until the cancer cells progress. Despite that, you should feel not stop feeling hope, love, and everlasting belief in life as they can always increase your chances of beating any problem, be it lymphoma or not.