Balancing RRMM Treatment and Everyday Life

Medically Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on August 25, 2023
4 min read

If you have relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM), you may be wondering how to balance treatment with your daily life. Here are some tips on what you can expect.

When recommending a new treatment for RRMM, your doctor considers your overall health, RRMM symptoms, treatments you may have tried already, and the risk of the cancer coming back.

With RRMM, you might feel pain and fatigue. Common RRMM symptoms include:

  • Anemia
  • Bone pain and weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Infections
  • Kidney problems
  • Pain
  • Overall weakness

You might also have side effects from treatment. Common RRMM treatment side effects include:

  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea

Other side effects depend on the type of medicines you take. These side effects may include:

  • Blood clots
  • Bruising or bleeding
  • Changes in memory or thinking
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Hair loss
  • Hives or itching
  • Low blood pressure
  • Mouth sores
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet
  • Skin changes
  • Swelling

RRMM raises your risk of infection because your white blood cell count may be low. You can take steps to avoid infection and other complications, including:

  • Washing your hands often
  • Making sure you’re vaccinated
  • Having good food hygiene

RRMM and certain RRMM treatments can affect your mood. For example, you might feel worried about your health and your treatment. But some treatments, like steroids, can also affect mood. If you notice changes in your mood that aren’t going away after a few days, talk to your doctor.

There’s a lot you can do to manage symptoms, side effects, and mood changes.

Empower yourself. Take good care of yourself. Get enough rest, eat well, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking. Make a plan that puts you in the driver’s seat. Consider making changes to your treatments or ask if you’re eligible for a clinical study. Keep your records in order and talk openly with your health care team. Think of yourself as an important member of the team.

Eat well. Find a diet that works for you. Eating small, frequent meals may work best. Multiple myeloma can raise your risk of bone damage. Foods high in calcium and vitamin D can help with bone density. Try dairy products, spinach, kale, tuna, and salmon.

Be active. Exercise helps you feel good. It can help keep you strong and at a healthy weight. It can also improve your mood, sleep, and quality of life. Try flexibility, endurance, cardio, and strengthening exercises. Do tai chi or take a walk every day.

Join a support group. Try a multiple myeloma support group online or in person. Connecting with others who are living with multiple myeloma can give you comfort and strength and help you cope with any ups and downs. Support groups can also be a good source of information, tips, and strategies.

Get professional help. Ask your doctor to recommend a therapist or counselor who can help you work through any feelings of anxiety or symptoms of depression.

Learn relaxation techniques. It’s normal to feel stress, especially leading up to your medical appointments. Tai chi, deep breathing, and meditation may help. Try a mindfulness, meditation, or hypnosis app on your smartphone.

Express yourself. Find a healthy outlet to let your feelings out. Try journaling. Start a creative project. Talk with others.

Set your priorities. It may be a good time to recognize what’s most important to you so you can organize things in an order that makes sense for you. Spend time with people you love. Pay attention to what feels meaningful and do more of it.

Find a reason to smile. Do the things that bring you joy. Find humor in your day. Enjoy the little things. Remind yourself about the good things in your life.

Be open with family and friends. Accept help from family and friends who want to support you. Be open about what you need.

Use your support network. A lot of people are here to help you if you need it. Reach out to family and friends. Talk to doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals on your medical team about what you can do to manage life with RRMM. A social worker can help you find resources such as financial help, transportation, and home care. Contact organizations such as the Multiple Myeloma Resource Foundation ( and the International Myeloma Society ( for ideas, tips, and information.

Keeping infection at bay can help you stay healthy and balance life better.

Wash your hands well. Wash your hands before you eat, after you sneeze or cough, and after you use the bathroom. It should take about 15 seconds or as long as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song.

Keep hand sanitizer with you. Hand sanitizer can keep your hands clean when you don’t have access to soap and water.

Keep your mouth healthy. Brush your teeth and use mouthwash regularly to keep your mouth clean.

Stay away from uncooked foods. Avoid foods that raise your risk of infection, such as uncooked chicken, eggs, meat, and seafood.

Avoid others who are sick. Stay away from people who may have a cold or any illnesses you might catch.

Prevent and care for cuts. Avoid cutting yourself and, if you do, use an antiseptic and cover the cut with a bandage.

Talk to your doctor about vaccines, medicines, and signs of infection. Ask which vaccinations you need, such as flu, pneumonia, and COVID-19, and make sure you’re up to date. Ask about medicines that may raise your white blood cell count. Ask your doctor about signs of infection so you know what to look out for.