Advice for Dealing With the Stress of CLL Treatment

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Topics include: Patient Stories and Understanding

Life with CLL can be stressful, and treatment is often a source of anxiety for patients. Understanding where stress comes from can bring us one step closer to controlling it.  CLL patient advocates, Andy and Tammy, explore triggers for stress and share coping strategies to manage emotions.

This program was made possible by Pharmacyclics LLC and Janssen Biotech, Inc. Produced in partnership with Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers.

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Transcript

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Jeff Folloder:

Andy? What did you do to cope with the stress of CLL treatment? Who did you lean on? How did you lean on them? What did you do to get through it? 

Andy:    

Great question. That, for me, is in the people that are around me. And I learned that lesson when I was sitting in the chairs getting my favorite cocktail. 

Across from me is a lady probably all of 90 pounds dripping wet, and she’s in her 15th of 18 and she’s going to go on to radiation later. And I’m unleashing my burdens on her, and saying all these people are coming to me and saying what can I do for you, what can I do for you? And she’s like, literally gets up out of the chair, comes over to me, and says, “Just take it. Just take it, whatever they’re willing to give you.” 

And that, for me, was kind of let all of that flow off my shoulders as to I needed to be the one that was ultimately responsible for it, even though I’m the patient. It really gave me the opportunity to say okay, I’m good with that. And for me, that was give people a chance to give.

Let them in your life and help you, no matter what it is. And I was speaking about this earlier. Whether they’re thinking about you for five seconds during any one day, or all the way to coming over and visiting and providing meals, or whatever it is. Let them give. I turn that over and also look at myself and say give myself a chance to give. And that’s why I’m here today, and that’s why I talk to others about everything that’s going on in my life that will listen.

I bend the ear of a lot of people. And you know what? There are a lot of people that want to hear that story because every once in a while, there will be somebody that gets something out of it and it’s an aha moment. If it’s just one person, I’ve hit the target right in the bullseye.

That’s how I deal with it, because I’ve got all those people—people that are in my neighborhood, friends, family, church, work, people in the company that I work for. All those people are very, very close to me, in that they want to give, they want to help in any one form. Just let them in and allow them to do that, and that helps set that bar to relieve some of that stress. Because for me, yeah, I’m going through it, I’m living it because I’m the patient.

But I also have, again referring to my family, they don’t know what’s going on in my life unless I’m telling them what’s going on in my life. So they need to know. And that, again, in and of itself will allow them to understand what’sgoing on, and I can relieve some of that stress.

Jeff Folloder:     

I’m going to ask you one more hard question. How hard was it for you to let people help you?

Andy:    

Well, at the beginning it was very difficult because I didn’t know what I was up against. Even though I had the person of Dr. Burke taking care of me, who again by the way, accolades to him because he’s one of the finest. It’s a fine line to walk sometimes but we all have to. We’re all human. We’re all gonna be affected differently. And again, give people the chance to give because that is going to take that burden off of you and take some of that stress away. It’s gonna allow you to relax.

Jeff Folloder:     

Tammy, who did you lean on?

Tammy:

My husband, number one, and my two sons, and I have kind of a crazy, dear friend who’s also a nurse who Dr. Burke got to meet. I’m a little bit different than Andy in that I didn’t want anybody to know. I didn’t have that gloom and doom like oh my gosh, I have cancer kind of thing. I thought oh, something’s wrong; how do we fix it? Let’s get going. My stress came from when can I be finished with the treatment. 

Jeff Folloder:     

Very goal oriented.

Tammy:

Let’s get this over with, yeah. 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

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Page last updated on October 26, 2017