Don't Give Up: Advice from a Caregiver

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Don’t give up. Never give up. You are not going to die. My doctor said “Don’t go out and buy a Ferrari. You are going to be around for a while and you are going to need your money”. It was one of the nicest things someone said to me in the moment, it was up lifting.

Michael was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in April 2019. Symptoms included back and rib pain, highly common for an extremely physical man who had just turned 60 and active in extreme sports such as kiteboarding, snowboarding, off shore fishing. His diagnosis was confirmed with blood work and MRI.

When initially diagnosed Michael’s first thoughts were, as are most patients, how long do I have to live? Am I going to die? Now what? How do I prepare for this? And what the heck is multiple myeloma? Multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer in the U.S. It is a cancer of plasma cells. Recently some specialists say that multiple myeloma is a highly treatable cancer, considered to be a chronic disease, rather than a death sentence. Following the diagnosis we both became hesitant to discuss with others, mostly because we really didn’t know enough about multiple myeloma. At one point I felt it was easier for me to be in hospital with the nurses and doctors than it was to be at home. No one knew what I was talking about and it became a strain on me to keep repeating the same thing. We are not in the medical field and it is overwhelming trying to grasp exactly what blood cancer is. As time went by, the exact opposite happened. We want to talk about multiple myeloma and want to share our journey with others.

Both cancer patient and caregiver should ask questions, talk to your doctors and nurses, find good resources, such as CURE®, and for us, the MMRF. Some of the best information we have received is from patient navigators and case workers. Watch webinars, listen to podcasts, talk to other people with cancer. Get involved. When someone tells you they have cancer give them a hug, be present, offer to give them a ride to treatment, pick up medicine, sit with them, listen. Don’t give up! Never give up! And in my case, write it down.

I, Jodi, am Michael’s wife, caregiver, and narrator. Caregivers aren’t necessarily nurses who tend to the dying. I manage doctor appointments, medicines, insurance and whatever else is it that becomes overwhelming. Fighting cancer is a hard job, any person fighting should have someone to assist them with the battle, a cheerleader, so to speak. Don’t give up! Never give up!

This post was written and submitted by a CURE reader. The article reflects the views the author and not of CURE®. This is also not supposed to be intended as medical advice.

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