Multiple myeloma: Making a plan after your diagnosis

College football analyst Rod Gilmore talks to Holly Chilsen about the Myeloma MVP initiative (WZAW photo)

(WZAW) -- Amgen announced the expansion of Myeloma MVP, a national initiative to help myeloma patients and their care teams create their Most Valuable Plan. In its second year, Myeloma MVP now includes an updated tool on MyelomaExplained.com to help patients communicate with their doctors and develop a personal strategy for managing their disease.

College football analyst Rod Gilmore is ready to go anytime. But, the words “multiple myeloma” left the veteran broadcaster stunned. He realized, however, that managing a cancer diagnosis like multiple myeloma takes a team effort. And just like on the field, it’s important to always have a game plan.
Gilmore was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in July 2016. He had a conversation with Holly Chilsen via satellite on Tuesday.
“It was shocking an overwhelming, and like most people I didn’t know much, if anything, about multiple myeloma.”
This year, he’s teaming up with Amgen Oncology , as part of its Myeloma MVP team. The initiative helps patients better prepare for conversations with their doctors and work with their healthcare team to create a personal strategy for managing their multiple myeloma. He said having a personal plan can make all the difference in helping patients and their families cope.

“You have to figure out what you want to do going forward. Set your priorities. Set your goals. For me, one of my goals was to continue broadcasting at a high level. One of the other goals was to remain very physically active with exercise,” Gilmore said. “The Myelmoa MVP helps you think through and actually figure this stuff out and put a plan in place, your own personal plan.”

Multiple myeloma is a rare blood cancer that typically affects people 65 and older and is slightly more common in men than women. It’s also affects African American men twice as much as Caucasian men. Approximately 125,000 people in the U.S. are living with the disease, and more than 30,000 people will be diagnosed this year. Gilmore said the disease is characterized by cycles of remission and relapse over several years.

“It was kind of like riding a rollercoaster,” Gilmore said. “And quite honestly, I was kind of drinking from a fire hose to try to learn the information.”

As part of the program, Amgen Oncology continues to work with the multiple myeloma patient research and advocacy community, including the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, the International Myeloma Foundation and Myeloma Crowd, to raise awareness with patients and caregivers.
The Myeloma MVP guide is available at MyelomaExplained.com and includes a tool that helps patients:

- Map out their goals and preferences for managing the disease

- Identify important questions to ask their doctor

- Create a personal plan for managing their multiple myeloma.

On the website, patients can also find educational information on multiple myeloma.