Reviewed by Laura Martin on March 23, 2017
Quincy Washington<br>Multiple Myeloma Patient<br>Latrenda Washington<br>Quincy’s Wife<br>Wendy Baer, MD<br>Medical Director, Psychiatric Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute<br>Sagar Lonial, MD<br>Oncologist and Chief Medical Officer, Winship Cancer Institute
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Quincy Washington (MM Patient): The toughest part about receiving a diagnosis like this is… I guess, not knowing.
Nobody knows what the future holds…
but then it’s different when you know that there’s something out there that could potentially end your life."
Latrenda Washington (Quincy’s Wife): My first concern was him not being here…
just thinking about what that would look like for me and my children… and it was scary."
There were times when he did need emotional support, not from the standpoint of oh, doom and gloom,
or I’m scared or whatever but, just to have me be - just to be there and to know that I love you and that,
ya know, when I said in sickness and health, I really meant that."
Dr. Wendy Baer (Psychiatric Oncologist): A loved one or a spouse or a partner can be really helpful if they able to listen a bit…
not trying to fix it… not trying to change everything right away… but just give the person who’s been diagnosed
and who’s being treated for cancer, a little bit of time to express themselves."
Latrenda Washington (Quincy’s Wife): Just being there was a really big thing. Just being there.
His body wasn’t the same. His muscle tone, wasn’t the same. Ya know he was, it was gone.
And so, just seeing his physical body, breaking down like that… that was hard for me because he’s like this…
I don’t know for me he’s just like this knight. Ya know? He’s just so strong and so to see that… it was very humbling."
Dr. Wendy Baer (Psychiatric Oncologist): The Oncologists and the Dieticians and the Nurses
and the Physical Therapists that are involved in patients care talk about how to manage fatigue."
Quincy Washington (MM Patient): I don’t know if that’s the medicine, the disease itself… a combination…
maybe some subliminal stress that I don’t recognize… but yeah - you do have a tendency to be tired."
Dr. Wendy Baer (Psychiatric Oncologist): Obviously getting enough sleep – 7-9 hours of sleep.
Eating well – fruits and vegetables – foods that really fuel your energy as opposed to deplete your energy."
Latrenda Washington (Quincy’s Wife): I had to make sure he got nutrition somehow. I need you to sip this broth, I need you… ya know, something.
And I had to be really diligent about that because you need your strength – you need your weight.
Ya know? So things like that… that you wouldn’t even think about,
okay well, he doesn’t feel like eating, okay well he doesn’t have to eat… well, he does."
It’s mommy mode. Ya know… I am responsible for you."
Quincy Washington (MM Patient): I call her my CCO… my Chief Communication Officer.
She handles all of the communications in terms of talking to my clinical coordinator
and talking to my medical team. She makes sure all the emails are responded to.
and she’s the… she actually asks more questions than I do."
Dr. Wendy Baer (Psychiatric Oncologist): One of the early things to think about is, how can you be present?"
So – are you able to take a little time maybe to go to an appointment,
to take some notes from the doctor, maybe to help sort through the medications, or the scheduling."
Dr. Sagar Lonial (Oncologist): One of the things that we often struggle with on the Physician side is that patients may not tell us everything.
Latrenda Washington (Quincy’s Wife): Whatever question I had about side effects… sometimes I would see things that he wouldn’t see.
Quincy Washington (MM Patient): She makes sure that, that the information I need to know, I know… because she asks those questions.
So, she’s – she does all the heavy lifting."
Dr. Sagar Lonial (Oncologist): Having a family member there when you’re visiting with the medical team is really important
because the patient may minimize symptoms, especially with the doctor."
Latrenda Washington (Quincy’s Wife): And so they would come in and say, How are you doing?" and he’d say, "I’m fine."
I would always jump in… "No, he’s not fine… he has a rash… and he had a slight fever…"
Dr. Sagar Lonial (Oncologist): We need to know what some of those symptoms are, especially if they’re treatment related,
because they will cause us to adjust doses… or to change focus."
Latrenda Washington (Quincy’s Wife): You have to be a micro-manager. Ya know? You have to be really focused on this person.
Dr. Sagar Lonial (Oncologist): I actually don’t like seeing a patient when they’re by themselves.
You just need family there from the outset… to provide that support structure….
the ‘crutch’ if you will, to help you get through those first few visits.
And to get through the whole treatment experience."
Latrenda Washington (Quincy’s Wife): But we kind of in these trenches… together. And so, it’s like, okay,
well you have to lean on me and I have to lean on you and on days when you’re not strong enough,
I have to carry you. And vice versa. And so, it just kinda becomes this – okay – I got you."