The best advocate for a patient with cancer is someone who knows exactly what they're going through, noted a multiple myeloma survivor.
Bryon Daily considers himself fortunate because he did not have many financial issues during his treatment journey and he made an excellent recovery. But, he knows many people don’t have the same experience, which is why he has become an advocate for patients with cancer.
Daily received a diagnosis of multiple myeloma in 2018 after he fractured his finger during a basketball game and it didn’t heal for weeks. Daily underwent several months of chemotherapy that led to an autologous bone marrow transplant. Today he still takes some therapeutic medications, which are covered by insurance.
“I consider myself to be very fortunate because it wasn’t a catastrophe financially for me,” he said.
Additionally, he healed well in remission thanks to taking care of his body and staying active, which he encourages patients and survivors to do.
“I think that was a testament to just making sure that as you get older, you stay active,” he added. “Be aware of your body. (When it’s) in pain, don’t hesitate to go to the doctor and get it checked out. I’m a big believer in self-advocating.”
Daily uses his belief in self-advocacy in his current role as the Community Outreach Manager for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In his role, he advises other patients to advocate for themselves — especially those who may not be as fortunate.
He helps guide patients through financial hardships and leads them to resources through his organization and others. He realizes his journey may have been different because he had his wife, along with his three grown children supporting him.
“For me, the personal journey was sort of an existential experience. As you get older and start reflecting back on things you’ve done, on what could have led up to this, you start thinking about mortality and look around at other people and start comparing it. ... You look at life through a different lens — (we) all have our own experience,” he explained.
Daily feels his experience can help others and believesthat sometimes the best advocate for a patient is someone who knows exactly what they’re going through.
“It can be scary for some people; they don’t know what to expect, they don’t understand how they respond to various drugs. I mean they might not have the kind of support that I had. ... I feel that I can contribute my story, my experience, to help other people,” he said.
A cancer survivor may feel healthy and ready to move on with their life, but they often remember what they have gone through and how hard it was. Daily said survivors can help others who are in the middle of their cancer journey by providing hope or just being a friend who understands.
“I would recommend (that cancer survivors) find an organization where they can volunteer,” Daily concluded. “It doesn’t even have to be related to your disease, it just has to be somewhere you can give back. It’s really kind of a selfish activity because it makes you feel good that you were able to do this, but it also helps other people.”
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