How might joining a support group benefit you when coping with a myeloma diagnosis? Yu Mee Song, an oncology social worker, discusses the value in peer-to-peer connection and shares tips and resources for finding a support group.
Yu Mee Song, LCSW, OSW-C is a Social Work Program Coordinator at the Center of Excellence for Multiple Myeloma Program at Mount Sinai Hospital. Learn more about Yu Mee Song.
Yu Mee, what is the value of myeloma support groups? And how would you encourage someone to join if they’re hesitant?
Yu Mee Song:
So, it’s – it’s – it’s not for everyone. And you may need to try more than one support group to find the one that’s a good fit for you. But it does provide a sense of belonging and the decreased feeling of isolation, like you’re going through this alone, to be in a group with others who – who kind of – who get you. And I’ve had a lot of people say, you know, it’s really , really hard to talk about this – what I’m going through – with my friends or family they just don’t get it. And it’s so good to see – and we facilitate some groups here for newcomers to join. And as soon as they, you know, speak about something and the whole group chimes in and, yes, we know what you’re going through and give their – share their story and their experience. And it’s so inspiring and encouraging for them.
Yeah. It’s incredibly valuable.
Yu Mee Song:
They share all sorts of tips on things like side effects and – or how to – how to talk to your doctor about something if you’re uncomfortable bringing it up or, um, even asking for help about, um, you know, for counseling or more emotional support that you may be embarrassed to ask about.
How would a newly diagnosed myeloma patient find out about something like a peer-group session or peer support?
Yu Mee Song:
There may be some local. But now there are many national organizations that you can tap into. I would start, again, like, ask – speaking with your oncology social worker. But I would start with some of the national organizations like Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, International Myeloma Foundation, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, platforms like this the Patient Empowerment Network, or HealthTree.
So, if you start with any of the big myeloma organizations, they can help guide you. There are patient navigators that can kind of guide to your – provide guidance to what you’re looking for, whether it’s peer-to-peer support, support group, or other resources.