• Life With Multiple Myeloma
    • Myeloma Coach
    • Sep 12, 2019

    How Service Helps Me Deal with Multiple Myeloma and Why I’m a Myeloma Coach


Another myeloma patient I connected with on Facebook reached out to me and said:

I have been suffering from depression/anxiety. It seems that I get depressed and anxious about everything lately.  I don’t know what to do about it anymore. I have been in bed practically all day and I just hate that. I also worry about you and all other MM warriors here.

Here was my response:

My dear friend, I am glad you reached out to me. Please don’t feel you are burdening me. Last week when I found out that my numbers had made such a jump, I sat in my doctor’s office and I cried and cried. I was sitting in his office shaking so badly because of the reality that this could really be the end of the road. I decided I wanted to take a chemo that had previously given me a horrible reaction one more chance. The reason I mention this is because at the end of the appointment, I gave him a stack of cards that have my name, picture and info on it because I am a Myeloma Coach (www.myelomacoach.org). I showed it to him, he was impressed and gave it back to me.

I said: “No, these are for you to give to people that are having an emotionally tough time and need a Myeloma Coach!” As I said this eyes still red from the tears, I started to laugh as did he and my friend. The irony of me offering my emotional support to others while I am falling apart was not lost on any of us. We continued laughing and I said:

“You know; I am really just a very selfish person because I like to help others so I don’t have to think about my own issues.”

I know people are inspired by me and I appreciate it, but for me, I get as much benefit from helping others as they do from me. You may think you are not at that point yet, but I encourage you to do something where you are helping others, and I promise you will find bit by bit that it is helping you too. I think if you wait until all your problems are gone, that time will never come.

There was a time that I was at least in as bad a shape as you. I write about it in my book A Pilgrimage Without End, How Cancer Healed my Broken Heart. I was so scared, anxious and depressed that I literally fantasized about ways to end my life. There was not a day that my husband did not come home to find me crying. I could not be around people because I cried all the time. I could not be on the phone because all I did was cry. If I had to go to the hospital for treatment, I would have to say the things I saw out loud; the clouds in the sky, trees, people, other cars. As soon as I would stop saying these things out loud, my mind would go back to how I could end my misery. 

This was in 2013, I am still here and I am glad that I am. Yes, I went through way more than I would ever wish on anyone, and yes I carry some deep scars, but still, even with the pain I am living with today, I am content, at peace and I feel I live a life of purpose. And you know what, I am in no way better or more special than you. I honestly, from the bottom of my heart believe you can get out of this place you are in now. How? Through determination, by reaching out for help, with medicine maybe, therapy, friends… AND … Service!

Reach out to others and help them, however small. If you are too sick to go out to do this, do it from you home, from your couch, from your bed. The internet is amazing. the Myeloma Crowd needs more coaches! You can do it! Learn about Health Tree and how it can help other patients!

I love doing puzzles. I invite friends and neighbors to come over, make coffee, we work on puzzles and just start talking. Your problems are real and I am so sorry you have to deal with them, but as you notice I make those secondary to trying to help you feel better. I am not a very religious person. I think I am mostly a spiritual Omnist (someone who sees good parts in all religions and kinda meshes them together). For me that religion is LOVE. The reason I mention this is to show that even if you don’t believe, you can still have FAITH … in Life! You can surrender yourself to Life … just as it is! You can learn to accept it, not passively, but actively, take control over what you are in control of, and let go of the rest.

I love you and I hope this helps. Call me tomorrow if you like. I can become your coach LOL.

Editor’s note: Some of the Myeloma Coaches like Cherie focus on the emotional aspects of having multiple myeloma. Myeloma Coaches have different expertise, such as stem cell transplant, financial services, MGUS or smoldering myeloma, using HealthTree, or dealing with newly diagnosed patient issues. If you’d like to find a Myeloma Coach or become a Myeloma Coach, click here:

Find or Become a Myeloma Coach


About Author

Cherie Rineker, author of "A Pilgrimage Without End, How Cancer Healed my Broken Heart", was diagnosed with cancer in 2012. After six months of every possible test, horrific bone pain, and anemia so severe that she could barely make it up the stairs to her apartment, this former triathlete and health nut found out she was in the last stage of Multiple Myeloma, an incurable, yet treatable cancer. Today, she is still battling the cancer, but that has not stopped her from bringing awareness to doctors and people all around the world. www.cherierineker.com


  1. Richard rubin sr September 12, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    Did she take yr advice?

  2. Courtenay Thompson September 12, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    Cherie, I love this column! You inspire, as always, and I totally agree that service is an amazing way to help others and feel better yourself. I’m a beginning Myeloma Coach, too, and I hope to help others, even in some small way. Best Wishes, Courtenay

  3. Louise Naczek September 12, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    Thank You for your great advice. I have had myeloma since August 2012. No SCT. I have decided not to because of high-risk infections. My cancer team has advised me to have one either because of the infections.
    Every surgery that I have needed I caught an infection😞.

  4. Kathie Becklinger September 12, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    I think the reason you make such a great coach and inspiration us because the road has been bumpy for you. Not everyone gets a long remission with their first, second, or eighth treatment. I’ve been thru many treatments that have failed since my diagnosis with high risk MM and MDS. All I can do is brush myself off and try something else! I ended up having an Allo in March. So far I’m still not in remission, but I’m the closest I’ve ever been. A positive attitude and spreading a positive message makes dealing with this disease easier! Best wishes to you!

  5. Candace Pfau September 13, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    Grief at losing someone is sort of like what you went through also. In the beginning I cried everywhere I went, At songs on the radio, at couples holding hands, then I started sharing my loss with them. I would stop old couples holding hands and tell of my loss, crying as I told them, I said, cherish every moment. You never know when tragedy will strike. I wish we could all realize every day what a gift we have to use. Instead of wasting it. I wish it didn’t take cancer to make me aware.

  6. Mira September 15, 2019 at 1:39 am

    Big hug Cherie from a carer in Croatia. All you write about is so so true and touches into everything living with or around MM feels like. And It feels like a waiting game and the outcome we do not know. We do not know when and how. Waiting is no fun, we imagine this and that and still we will not know. Living for today is much better plan. Helping and loughing helps us all. I hope they come up with something simple and easy as a pill soon!

    • Mira September 15, 2019 at 1:40 am

      Thanks , great . Would love to contribute to hope for all.
      Mira Armour

  7. Elise Martin October 5, 2019 at 9:28 am

    Cherie, thanks for this achingly honest story that “lets us in” to your experience and your vulnerability. I think that it may be that combination – sharing our experience with the disease and the “low places” we have been to and climbed back from – that is our most effective coaching tool.

    My husband and I coach together as patient (him) and partner (me). I also agree with Candace above – the sadness that you describe having felt in your experience with MM is a form of grief – of loss. My husband has and continues to experience waves of that – I think it is a natural part of facing our own mortality. Last December, we attended the annual Dana Farber MM Symposium for patients and medical professionals. A longtime MM survivor, James (Jim) Bond, and his wife spoke at that symposium. One takeaway from their inspiring story was this (paraphrased) – “We try not to get too high at the good news – the good reports – in order to not go too low when we get the inevitable bad report. It’s not easy, but we try to stay on an even keel with the knowledge that this is a longterm, chronic disease full of ups and downs.”

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