What to Expect
If you or someone you know has recently been diagnosed with myeloma, here are a few points to consider:
- First, all cases of myeloma are not the same. The treatment that a friend or relative received may not be the best treatment for you. You may not even need treatment initially. You may want to read about common treatment options to learn more. Your health-care team can explain the options. They can talk with you about which combination is most likely to help you.
- Take some time to make a decision about treatment. In most cases, you have time to consider your options and get a second opinion—even a third opinion—to help you decide what kind of treatment is right for you.
- A diagnosis of a serious illness can feel overwhelming. We have an experienced, compassionate team ready to help you adjust to what’s happening. You may want to join a support group, or talk to a social worker or chaplain.
- You may have many questions about your condition, treatment, and what the future holds. Start writing down your questions. Each time you see your doctor, bring your current list of questions with you.
- Ask someone you trust to go with you to doctors' appointments and tests. This person can provide emotional support. A friend or family member can also help by keeping track of questions you want to ask, taking notes and doing research on your disease and treatment options.
Where You Will Be Seen
If you have been referred to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance with a diagnosis of myeloma, or multiple myeloma, you may be seen at the Myeloma Clinic on the 4th floor of the SCCA clinic.
Your First Visit
Every patient with myeloma at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance has a personal team that includes a hematologist/oncologist, a nurse case manager and a radiation oncologist, if needed.
Before your first visit, the team will have reviewed your pathology slides (tissue samples from any biopsies) and any scans or tests you have already had. If you do not live in or near Seattle, we may ask your referring doctor to arrange for additional tests or scans so that these results are available before your appointment at SCCA.
On your first visit to SCCA, you will first meet with your doctor, who will ask you questions about your medical history and your current problem. This will be followed by a physical exam. Then you will sit down for a conference with your doctor and other members of your team to discuss a treatment plan.
This visit usually lasts an hour. For transplant patients, this consultation is two hours. We recommend that you bring a friend or family member with you to your appointment for emotional support and to help you keep track of the information your team will be giving you.
Close follow-up with your doctor is very important to monitor your health during treatment and to prevent possible complications of your disease. Depending on your condition, you may need follow-up visits as frequently as every week or only every six months. Your doctor can tell you how often you need to visit and why this schedule is important for you.