Living well with myeloma

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Wellness: Taking care of yourself

Eating well, getting exercise, taking care of your emotional health, learning to relax, and coping with the effects and the stress associated with illness are important to maintaining wellness. In order to help you maintain a healthy overall picture of your lifestyle habits, we’ve created a “Wellness” program that we’ll continue updating with new resources to support you in your wellness journey.

Myeloma and diet

Although there is no specific diet that is recommended for people with myeloma, healthy eating habits are important for all of us. That may mean eating a little more of some foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and a little less of others, like fatty, processed, or fried foods.

While there is no evidence that a change of diet can alter the outlook for people with myeloma, maintaining a balance between different healthy and nutritious foods is important for your overall health.

What does a healthy diet look like? It includes a variety of foods, including:

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lots of fruits and vegetables

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high-fibre foods, such as whole-wheat bread and cereal

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plenty of fish and chicken, and not too much red meat

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fewer fatty or fried foods

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less sugar and salt

Sauté santé avec œufs et edamames

Eating healthy can help give you more energy, build up your strength, and aid in post-treatment recovery. There’s no need for you to avoid foods that contain calcium, since they have no effect on blood calcium. Likewise, foods containing protein do not have an impact on paraprotein levels.

You should, however, avoid drinking too many beverages that contain caffeine, like tea, coffee, and soft drinks. As for alcohol consumption, that’s something you should discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, because alcohol should be avoided with certain medications. Caffeine and alcohol are also known to increase urination, which may lead to dehydration and fatigue.

Be sure to drink plenty of water — up to two litres per day — to help flush toxins out of your body.

An older couple smiling at each other, preparing a smoothie in their kitchen
As part of our new Wellness program, we are offering recipes developed exclusively for us by Gill Compton, certified naturopathic nutrition/natural chef.
Mint leaves, pills and apothecary supplies

Dietary supplements

Some people take a multivitamin supplement when they feel they may not be getting all the vitamins and nutrients they need from their diet. Because vitamins and/or supplements can have an impact on your myeloma and/or its treatment, be sure to always consult your healthcare team beforehand.

Staying hydrated is important for your overall well-being and to support the health of your kidneys, which may be particularly vulnerable as a result of your myeloma and/or your myeloma treatment.

Myeloma and exercise

Exercise helps keep your body fit and strong. It can help boost physical and mental well-being. And it can be fun!

The most important thing to consider when planning any sort of exercise is the impact of the activity on your bones. Myeloma weakens the bones, making them more vulnerable to fractures. That’s why it’s wise for you to avoid contact or more adventurous sports that place you at higher risk of injury.

A very good way to reduce pressure on your bones is by strengthening your muscles. If you attend a gym, be sure to explain your situation to your instructor, and to ask for advice about exercises that can help you improve muscle strength. Warm-up and cool-down exercises before and after each session are important to help prevent muscle strain.

Due to the specific problems associated with myeloma, be sure to always seek the advice of your doctor, a physiotherapist, or a qualified sports trainer before starting any exercise program.

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Gentle aqua-aerobics
  • Gentle gym work
  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Light, non-contact
  • Good for overall health
  • Help strengthen muscles and bones

If you haven’t exercised in a while, take it slow at first and give yourself time to build up your stamina. Pace yourself. See how you feel immediately after exercising and a day or so later, and only do what feels comfortable.

If you have less energy during and after treatments and can’t do as much as you could before, don’t get too discouraged or frustrated. It’s normal to feel more tired.

Always remember that it’s important to listen to what your body is trying to tell you. If you feel any pain, stop what you’re doing immediately.

Yoga class in a park

Exercise is a good way to help you combat myeloma-related fatigue, and it may also help you sleep. But if you need to take a break, there are other ways to manage fatigue.