I am Mark Pouley. I am a husband, father and grandfather. I’m also a multiple myeloma patient. I started writing about my experience with multiple myeloma about a year after I was diagnosed and well into my treatment. When I was first diagnosed I got a lot of help from patients that came before me. It’s my turn to pay it forward and by sharing my story I may answer questions others have about being a myeloma patient or caring for someone with myeloma.

For me, the one lesson that stands above them all is that myeloma is part of my life and accepting that reality is the key to continuing to live a full and happy life.  

What is Multiple Myeloma?

What does Lens on Myeloma Mean?

My current column

  • Walk with me

    If we’re gonna make it
    Cross this river alive
    You need to think like a boat
    And go with the tide
    And I know where you’ve been
    Has really left you in doubt
    Of ever finding a harbour
    Of figuring this out

    And you’re gonna need, all the help you can get
    So lift up your arms now, and reach for it
    And reach for it

    And take your time babe
    It’s not as bad as it seemed
    You’ll be fine babe
    It’s just some rivers and streams
    In between, you and where you want to be

    Watch the signs now
    You’ll know what they mean
    You’ll be fine now
    Just stay close to me
    And may good hope, walk with you through everything

    ~”Song of Good Hope”, Glen Hansard

    Glen Hansard wrote the “Song of Good Hope” for a dear friend battling cancer. The song references the rough waters sailors endured to reach the Cape of Good Hope and their feelings of relief when they made it. The message of needing help, and reaching out for friends to walk with through troubled times is comforting.

    When I was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma the thought of joining a “support group” was not appealing. I hadn’t come to grips with my own diagnosis and the thought of being with people describing the extent of their illness, and the loss of members from the group, was frightening. In time, I came to understand the value of sharing stories with other patients, and talking to people ahead of me on the journey was some of the best medicine I could get. While I’ve not joined a traditional in-person support group, I’ve found other ways to reach out and lend a hand.

    I started documenting my time with myeloma just before my stem cell transplant in 2015. While I write these columns first for myself, a form a journaling, I always hope someone is inspired after reading my story. For those that know me, but don’t know about myeloma, I hope they learn something about this disease. For those that don’t know me, but are themselves touched by myeloma, I want my writing to answer questions, alleviate fear, and offer hope. I’ve heard from many people, friends and strangers, and I believe I’m achieving these goals.

    Today the internet offers cancer patients endless alternatives too in-person support groups to seek information about myeloma and it’s treatment. Patients must exercise extreme caution when reading on-line information because much of it is outdated, inaccurate and frightening. There are, however, many great resources. Some of the reliable organizations on line include the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, All4Cure,The International Myeloma Foundation, International Myeloma Society. Each organization has its own identity, but they all have education of patients and advancing research for a cure as common goals.

    The Health Tree Foundation is another great resource. I’ve joined the Myeloma Coach program sponsored by Healthtree. The foundation experts and doctors train the coaches and provide them tools to help patients. Patients can connect with coaches with a similar disease profile, undergoing specific treatments, living in certain geographic areas or offering advice on particular subjects. I’ve met with several patients and the experience is always positive. If you are looking to connect with a fellow patient or caregiver give the Myeloma Coach program a try.

    A cancer diagnosis is challenging. There are rough waters to navigate, but there are people that have gone before ready to provide comfort and guidance.

    Watch the signs now
    You’ll know what they mean
    You’ll be fine now
    Just stay close to me
    And may good hope, walk with you through everything

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