What quality of life can my husband expect after a multiple myeloma diagnosis?

Jkc1942 asked...

My husband was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in November of 2010. He is 73 and recovering from pneumonia. We were told, due to low immunity, that it would be best for no visitors, also he is not to be in crowds. Is this something that he will have to do the rest of his life? What quality of life can he expect to have? He is now on the pill Revlimid. The doctor says he will take this as long as it works. We have so much to understand!

Expert Answer

Harvey Gilbert, MD, is a radiation oncologist with more than 35 years of professional experience in the medical field, working with cancer patients. He has edited 14 medical textbooks and coauthored 40 papers in the field of oncology. Dr. Gilbert is the medical director of the Ben Schaffer Cancer Institute in Lodi, California.

The quality of life in patients with multiple myeloma is quite variable. Age and other related diseases all combine to affect the patient's ability to live a normal life. Patients who are on Revlimid can have blood clots and blood cell suppression as well as effects on the immune system. I believe he is on isolation due to his ongoing infection and maybe the blood counts. Most people recover from these things and can live a good remaining life. One can not give survival length unless we know much more regarding the actual disease related factors, his co-morbidity issues, his functioning prior to all this and several other specific measurements of his myeloma disease stage- where is the disease in the body, amount of disease, bone involvement, neurologic involvement, blood chemistry, kidney function, etc. These are questions you can ask your doctor. Good luck,