Living with multiple myeloma, smoldering myeloma, or a related condition may change your holidays, but you can still have enjoyable and meaningful celebrations. Although myeloma may make some holiday traditions challenging, it doesn't mean you can't enjoy connecting with friends and family during the holiday season. By communicating your limitations due to myeloma, being flexible, and adjusting your expectations, you can help make sure the holidays are happy and memorable.
Communicate Your Needs
Let your loved ones know that connecting with them over the holidays is as important as ever to you, but myeloma treatment is making it hard to plan as usual due to side effects like nausea or fatigue. You may also be immunosuppressed as a result of a stem cell transplant, making large family events during cold and flu season unwise. You need to put your health first or risk developing an infection.
Instead of saying "no," say "yes" to something else. If a family tradition no longer works for you since you were diagnosed with myeloma, it may be time to suggest an update.
If it's just not possible to get together in one place this year, consider using a video chat service such as Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime to have a special holiday call on a smartphone or laptop. During a video chat, you can:
Adjust Your Expectations
Even without cancer, holidays often come with high expectations that lead to disappointment and stress. Letting go of the illusion of a "perfect" holiday can help you keep expectations realistic and focus on what's most important about the holidays. For many people, that means connecting with loved ones, being thankful for what you have, and finding hope for the new year.
Here are some mindful tips from Johns Hopkins Medicine for adjusting holiday expectations:
During the holidays and year-round, the members of MyMyelomaTeam are here for each other. Joining MyMyelomaTeam means gaining a support group of thousands of others with myeloma who understand exactly what you're going through.
Here are some conversations from MyMyelomaTeam members about navigating the holiday season with myeloma:
Have you found ways to celebrate the holidays despite myeloma?
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