Diagnosis: Coping with your diagnosis

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Ruth
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Ruth Bähler, President of the Myeloma Contact Group Switzerland (MKgS):
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Once a month, we meet up with other myeloma patients and their relatives, and we exchange our experiences. We learn a great deal from each other in our groups.

 

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Living with a diagnosis of multiple myeloma

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A diagnosis of multiple myeloma will come as a huge shock to most people and many different emotions may be triggered, from shock and anxiety to anger and fear. Some people are overwhelmed and struggle to take in the news from their doctors, with many questions racing through their minds: What is myeloma? What will it mean to me and my family? Will I die from it?

There is no correct way to cope with the diagnosis of multiple myeloma – each person is different and will find different ways to come to terms with their diagnosis.

Some people find it helpful to learn as much as possible about their condition, to better understand their treatment and care. Others find it helpful to talk to others – whether that is friends and loved ones or to other people living with multiple myeloma through support groups.

You can find links to reliable sources of information and support groups throughout this site.

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Karin, 52:
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”I was worried about my little girl. I had to keep strong for her sake too. I promised her that I would do anything in my power to live on.”

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* To preserve the wish of anonymity of the people, the name and picture have been changed
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Diagnosing multiple myeloma

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Multiple myeloma can be difficult to diagnose, as there are often no symptoms present in the initial phase of the disease. In fact, diagnosis of myeloma often occurs when routine medical exams discover signs that may prompt their doctor to request specific myeloma tests.

There are generally four different tests that your doctor may run to diagnose multiple myeloma:

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The following video explains and shows the various diagnostic examinations. In addition, you will find a clarification of what parameters are used for in the classification of multiple myeloma into stages to provide a basis for selecting the best possible treatment.

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Coping with the diagnosis of a loved one

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When a loved one is diagnosed with multiple myeloma, your life may change a great deal. Although your focus may be on caring for the person diagnosed with multiple myeloma, it is important to acknowledge the effect that the diagnosis has on you – the emotional effect, the additional burden placed on your shoulders and the enormous change in your relationship.

Myeloma UK has produced an excellent and comprehensive guide for carers which can be accessed in the resources section below.

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Click here for further relevant material about diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma.