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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells. Plasma cells are a type of white blood cell. Plasma cells make antibodies to help your body fight infection. You may have high amounts of plasma cells that do not work correctly. Your body may make so many plasma cells or antibodies that they damage your bones and other healthy tissue.
Call 911 for any of the following:
- You have sudden chest pain, pounding or racing heartbeat, or shortness of breath.
Seek care immediately if:
- You had a bad fall and you may have broken a bone.
- You feel dizzy or faint.
- You cannot think clearly.
- You feel weak or numb on one side of your body.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You are vomiting repeatedly and cannot keep food down.
- You have a fever.
- You have chills, cough, or feel weak and achy.
- Your pain is worse or does not go away after you take pain medicine.
- You cannot control your urine or bowel movements.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- Medicines may be given to stop myeloid cells from growing and to kill new cancer cells. You may also be given medicine to decrease pain.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider or oncologist as directed:
You may need to return for more tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Wash your hands often. Wash especially after you change a diaper or go to the bathroom. Wash your hands before you eat.
- Avoid people who are sick. Stay away from people who have a cold or the flu. Also try to stay away from large groups of people to decrease your risk of getting a cold or flu.
- Clean your humidifiers. Change the water in your humidifier or other respiratory equipment daily.
Prevent bleeding and bruising:
- Do not use sharp objects. Use an electric razor to shave. Use a nail file to keep your nails short and smooth.
- Care for your mouth. Use a soft toothbrush. Do not floss your teeth while your platelet count is low. Do not use toothpicks.
- Choose light activities. Avoid any activity that may cause chest pain or trouble breathing. Do not play contact sports, such as football or soccer.
- Blow your nose gently. Do not pick your nose. Your nose may bleed if you pick it.
Do not smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol:
Alcohol can thin your blood and make it easier to bleed. Nicotine can damage blood vessels and make it more difficult to manage your multiple myeloma. Smoking also increases your risk for new or returning cancer and delays healing after treatment. Do not use e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco in place of cigarettes or to help you quit. They still contain nicotine. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke or drink and need help quitting.
Drink liquids as directed:
Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Liquids can help prevent dehydration and kidney damage from multiple myeloma.
Exercise and stay active:
Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you. Exercise may help keep your bones strong and prevent a fracture.
Eat healthy foods:
Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Good nutrition can help you feel better, have more energy, and decrease the risk for infection. A dietitian may help you plan meals with healthy foods.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.