Multiple myeloma survivor: 5 ways I improved my stem cell transplant experience

When I was recovering from a stem cell transplant after my multiple myeloma diagnosis, the nights were always the hardest. Visitors and caregivers had left MD Anderson until daybreak, and I was alone. After everyone was gone and the room was quiet, I found five things to be helpful in keeping myself comfortable: making a nest, establishing a routine, staying connected to other people, praying, and visualization. Here’s more about these strategies — and how they helped me through my stem cell transplant. Make a nest While nothing can ever replace home, having framed photos of loved ones around can help. Bring these and other reminders with you and set them up on the first day where you can see them. They’ll make a big difference in how warm and welcoming your hospital room feels. Artwork from children is also great to hang on your closet or bathroom door. When kids know what’s going on with you, they can express themselves in a fun way you might not imagine. Posting their art will be a pleasant surprise to them and bring a smile to everyone’s face when they come visit. Establish a routine From the blood pressure reading at 4:30 a.m. to the 10 p.m. lights out, I kept going. My high-dose chemotherapy infusion started at 6 a.m. and continued for three hours. I kept two computers going during that time: one for work and one for home. This gave me the opportunity to keep up with my job and my writing. I wrote and wrote. Paragraphs became pages, and pages became daily blog posts. I wrote about everything...