What can I expect at my first visit?
At your first visit to the myeloma center, you will meet with a myeloma attending physician who will review your case with you, may recommend bloodwork and radiology testing, and may develop a plan of treatment with you. Expect to spend about two hours, part of which will be spent registering with the center and filling out some intake forms. In general, no treatment is given until a full review of your particular case has been completed and you are fully informed about the treatment plan.
What do I bring to my first visit?
It is very helpful if you have arranged to have your prior medical records, especially those from an oncologist if you have already received treatment at another institution, sent to the myeloma center beforehand for review if possible. If not possible, please bring things records to the first visit. It is also helpful to come with a relative or friend who can help ask questions and remember the conversation details.
Why do I need to repeat a bone marrow biopsy?
Sometimes, your bone marrow biopsy confirming myeloma or other plasma cell disorder may need to be repeated at the myeloma center. Reasons for this include participation in a new clinical research trial (where special research-related testing is done on the bone marrow sample) or if certain testing (like cytogenetic testing or immunohistochemistry, which are sometimes not performed at non-academic institutions) is necessary in order to provide you with the most accurate prognostic and diagnostic information for your disease. A bone marrow biopsy is not always repeated however, if your pathology slides from the prior biopsy can be brought over for review by our pathology department.
Will I need to do a stem cell transplant?
Not everyone with myeloma will be referred for a stem cell transplant. The choice of whether to do a stem cell transplant is part of the treatment plan which will be developed by you and your myeloma physician.
Will I be able to reach someone during the night if I have a problem?
Yes. We have physician coverage for the myeloma center at all hours and you will always be able to get your questions answered, any time of day.
Will I be able to continue working at my job?
The answer is most likely yes. Many people live and work successfully with myeloma every day. You and your treating physician may be able to work out a plan of care when you can work and function normally, with minimal side effects, so that you can make living, not myeloma, the focus of your life.
If you have any other questions that are not addressed in this website, please call or contact the team at the Myeloma Center and we will be happy to speak with you, even if you are not a patient here.