Health and Wellness
Living With CLL Goes Beyond Treatment
Regardless of where you are on your CLL journey, following good health guidelines such as maintaining a balanced diet, exercising, and taking care of your mental health may be helpful. Be sure to connect with your healthcare team regarding your diet, exercise, and other habits.1
Managing CLL on your own can seem overwhelming, so it may be helpful to
that can support you along the way.
Creating Your Self-Care Regimen
Staying organized and having a plan in place can help alleviate stress and anxiety that might arise while managing your CLL.
Here are 5 things you can discuss with your doctor to help you map out what’s next2:
Explaining CLL to the People in Your Life
Talking to your friends and family about CLL can be difficult. You may have a diagnosis, but have not started treatment and are not showing any symptoms. You may know others living with cancer whose experience is very different. If you feel conflicted or confused, know that your response is natural and that you are not alone.3
Here’s a step-by-step plan you can follow to help you prepare for more comfortable conversations about your CLL3:
Focusing on Overall Health
Regardless of your age or where you are on your journey with CLL, making healthy choices—big or small—may help you feel better day-to-day. Talk to your doctor about any changes in your diet or exercise program.
Here are some positive shifts to consider4:
- Eliminate tobacco use
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Reduce fat, salt, and sugar intake
- Eat a balanced diet including fruits and vegetables
- Replace sodas with seltzer or teas
Ask your healthcare team what they would recommend to help manage your CLL.
Dealing With Stress
Stress and anxiety are common with a cancer diagnosis. You should discuss these feelings with your doctor, who may recommend speaking to someone who specializes in assisting people with stress and/or anxiety. This provider may be able to recommend additional activities and methods for addressing these feelings. There are many activities that may help reduce and relieve these feelings. Remember to talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.5
Examples of Stress-Relieving Activities
1. American Cancer Society. Living as a chronic lymphocytic leukemia survivor. Revised May 10, 2018. Accessed June 4, 2020. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/chronic-lymphocytic-leukemia/after-treatment/follow-up.html 2. Leukemia – chronic lymphocytic – CLL: types of treatment. Cancer.Net. October 2017. Accessed July 2, 2020. https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/leukemia-chronic-lymphocytic-cll/types-treatment 3. American Cancer Society. Telling others about your cancer. Revised April 28, 2016. Accessed July 30, 2020. https://www.cancer.org/treatment/understanding-your-diagnosis/telling-others-about-your-cancer.html 4. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Food and nutrition. Accessed November 2, 2020. https://www.lls.org/managing-your-cancer/food-and-nutrition 5. Managing stress from cancer. Cancer Support Community. June 24, 2020. Accessed November 3, 2020. https://www.cancersupportcommunity.org/managing-stress-cancer 6. Managing stress. Cancer.Net. July 2019. Accessed June 10, 2020. https://www.cancer.net/coping-with-cancer/managing-emotions/managing-stress 7. Palliative care. ASCO Post. September 18, 2018. Accessed June 2, 2020. https://ascopost.com/issues/september-10-2018/asco-answers-palliative-care/ 8. American Cancer Society. 6 tips for managing stress. May 7, 2020. Accessed August 8, 2020. https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/6tipsformanagingstress.html 9. Healing with words: journaling and reflecting throughout treatment. CancerCare. Updated March 11, 2016. Accessed August 28, 2020. https://www.cancercare.org/publications/263-healing_with_words_ journaling_and_reflecting_throughout_treatment