Skip to Navigation Skip to Search Skip to Content
Search All Centers

An Expert’s Take on Reducing CLL-Related Stress

Read Transcript
View next

Published on December 27, 2019

Key Takeaways

  • Mindfulness and physical relaxation can help reduce stress.
  • Social support is an important part of dealing with a cancer diagnosis. 
  • Talk to your doctor about mental and physical feelings and ways you can learn to cope.

Dr. Barbara Andersen, from Ohio State University, discusses the importance of identifying stressors and finding mental, physical and social support for people diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Some of Dr. Anderson’s methods include evaluating a patient’s stressful thoughts, feelings and cues from bodily sensations, and finding an approach for relaxing and processing the experience.  Watch now to learn more about strategies for coping and managing stress.

This program is sponsored by Pharmacyclics. This organization has no editorial control. It is produced solely by Patient Power.

Featuring

You share your lives, your thoughts, your time. I am overwhelmed by all the help I have received to help me understand this disease. I can't thank you enough!

— Mary Ellen, CLL Survivor

Transcript | An Expert’s Take on Reducing CLL-Related Stress

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.

Andrew Schorr:         

So, Barbara, there you are at Ohio State. It has one of the largest leukemia clinics in the world. People come from all over, and you get people—among the patients who come—who are freaked out, and I get calls like that, and I know you have patients like that. How do you help people get grounded?

Dr. Andersen:            

There’s no, simple answer to that question, but on our end in terms of what we do, we help them process this current experience. We also teach them, help them understand that while stress is really buffeting them right now, in many respects, that’s a normal response. They have gotten very bad news, just like you would have for other kind of traumas in one’s life.

But, we can also get ourselves back to our baseline, and we can do that by discovering how stress is—their stressful thoughts, their actions in terms of what are they doing when they are feeling at their worse, what are they not doing, and really, what are those bodily sensations that are just kind of firing off, like stress-related headaches, muscle tension and so on.

So, part of it is dissecting, if you will, what stress is like for them because then, we can use that information as a cue to work on how I might respond differently. So, we teach them strategies for relaxation. You all have embraced mindfulness. In our work, we’ve used other strategies, like progressive muscle relaxation, to physically relax the body and do that in a way that’s portable for people to use. We’ve also—oftentimes, people are at a loss for—“I don’t know anything about this disease,” and so, oftentimes, as you all have found, I am sure, that information is helpful.

But, another big piece that is important not only for CLL patients, but all cancer patients, is this thing we call social support, and a big focus of our work has been helping people to not only receive support from others, because that’s oftentimes very difficult to do, but also, what can they do to ask for support, because people are reluctant to ask as well.

But, it’s looking at their social relationships and helping them to understand how might I enlist the help of significant people in my life, how do I cope with the fact that people’s responses to my request for social support sometimes aren’t optimal, and how to cope with that. But, social support is a huge part of what we try to do.

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.

View next