Paula Nemet, a resident of Brooksville has faced a tough opponent. She has a blood cancer called Multiple Myeloma, but that does not stop her from helping others in their fight against this disease. She is part of a program called Multiple Myeloma MVP that brings awareness to this ailment and the importance of developing an individualized treatment plan with the physician. “MVP” stands for “Most Valuable Plan.”
Multiple Myeloma is considered to be a rare condition, but even so, affects over 124,000 people in the United States alone. There are many treatment options but this requires the patient to work with the doctor to see which plan suits them best. Myeloma MVP encourages patients to think about their priorities before their next oncology visit.
Nemet has had Multiple Myeloma for eight years and says that discussing treatment options with your physician is critical for managing the condition. This is the purpose of the Myeloma MVP program. She said that when she was diagnosed, even though she had worked in the medical field, she’d never heard of this condition. “That is why education is so so important.”
She remarked that her life plan changed dramatically when she received her diagnosis. She and her husband had recently moved to Florida from Cape Cod Massachusetts. She said, “We were given this curveball of my diagnosis and we had to replan our lives. We needed to make a new plan. I am so thrilled that this plan (Multiple Myeloma MVP) is now available- because planning is so important.”
Last weekend Paula, who happens to be a Red Sox fan, delivered the Rays’ lineup card before they took on the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field during a pre-game ceremony. Then between the fifth and sixth innings, 25 Multiple Myeloma patients, their family members and caregivers were recognized.
Paula told The Hernando Sun, “I was just so honored and excited to be part of the festivities to help raise awareness for Multiple Myeloma. It was just amazing, it was an honor to be a part of this program.” She gave special thanks to Major League Baseball, Amgen Oncology and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation for developing the program and joining together to help the patients. “As patients we’re just so grateful to all of these organizations.”
On how treatment programs should be individualized, Paula noted that before meeting with the physician, a patient should make a list of questions or concerns, like if you were to go on a vacation- how would that get in the way of your treatment or how to adapt the treatment to your lifestyle.
“I am very proud of my journey with myeloma and I love to share that with other people and it’s great to have a camaraderie with other patients. Patient education is extremely important to me. That is what this program is all about – educating yourself and being able to communicate with your doctor.”
Nemet was fortunate to have a successful bone marrow transplant in 2012 at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa and is currently in remission. She runs a local support group- the Nature Coast Multiple Myeloma Support Group which meets every third Wednesday of the month from 6:00 – 7:30 PM at Florida Cancer Specialists; 7154 Medical Center Dr in Spring Hill. Patients, family and friends are welcome. Find out more about the support group at: http://naturecoast.support.myeloma.org/
The Myeloma MVP guide is available for patients at MyelomaExplained.com
Hanna Fox contributed to this report.