Coping With Anxiety and Depression After a CLL Diagnosis

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Topics include: Understanding and Patient Stories

Feelings of anxiety and depression after a chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) diagnosis are natural responses to this life-changing experience, but how can patients cope?  CLL patient advocate, Chris, shares where she drew strength from to persevere and fight for her health, and how she feels today with those pillars of support. Expert Nora Larson, from Compass Oncology, also discusses what professional resources are available to cope with psychological and emotional challenges.

 

Provided by CLL Global Research Foundation, which received support from AbbVie Inc., Gilead Sciences, TG Therapeutics, Pharmacyclics LLC and Janssen Biotech, Inc., and Genentech. Produced by Patient Power in collaboration with The US Oncology Network, Compass Oncology, and Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Research Center.

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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.

Andrew Schorr:

Chris, when you were diagnosed, I take it you were really down. Did you feel that it verged at all on depression? 

Chris:    

I wasn’t really down. I’m a very positive person. It took me a while to be able to understand what was happening to me. I was not depressed. However, it took me a while just to get to the point to say, “Okay. I’m a fighter. I believe in God. I have a wonderful family, and I’m not going to let this take my life.”

Andrew Schorr:

Did you feel out of control at first?

Chris:    

Yeah. A tad bit. 

Andrew Schorr:

Did you feel betrayed by your body?

Chris:    

A tad bit, but I think as I became more educated, and that’s one of the keys, I think, is to be educated about CLL. That’s why these forums are so very important. I felt more in control as I learned more. I felt stronger, more confident, and I knew that this was not gonna take me down anytime soon. I’m 70, and I’m doing great.

Andrew Schorr:                  

Nora, anxiety and depression are not at all uncommon to be triggered by a cancer diagnosis—not just for the patient, but for the loved one. I know, and some of you have heard my wife Esther talk about it too. We started seeing a counselor when I was diagnosed in ’96. Esther tends to be a little anxious, and finally this triggered dealing with it, big time. It’s made a huge difference for us. It could be you, the patient, it could be you the family member. Again, you need to face it, right?

Nora Larson:      

Absolutely. Yeah. We definitely would wanna know what's going on so that we can help you. Like I said, there's oftentimes a social worker where you're working who can offer some counseling there for you. We can certainly make referrals into the community. I am oftentimes, I take into account people’s insurance. I make phone calls to see if who they wanna see will work with them. It’s very important. I think we also wanna help folks discern between depression and their fatigue and grief, and all those things become very, very—can become very complicated and connected in some way. 

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 February 15, 2018