Leukemia is a type of cancer in a person’s bone marrow and lymphatic system, attacking the body’s blood-forming tissues and involving white blood cells. Usually, the white blood cells will work to fight infection, and as they grow, they will divide as the body needs them. But when someone is diagnosed with leukemia, their bone marrow will produce many abnormal white blood cells that do not function as they should. It is a scary type of cancer that can affect adults and children. So, knowing the signs and symptoms and how life may look before, during, and after leukemia is good.
Life Before Leukemia
There are a handful of symptoms that can be associated with leukemia. They vary based on the type, but commonly some symptoms include fever, chills, fatigue, or weakness. They may also experience weight loss, frequent infections, and easy bleeding or bruising. There may also be early stage leukemia rash, bone pain, tenderness, or excessive sweating.
These symptoms are commonly overlooked, so a person must see a doctor if any persistent symptoms are present. Because a lot of the symptoms are vague, some do not discover they have it until some blood work is done to check something else.
There are a handful of things that could also put people at risk of developing leukemia. Some of these risks are preventable. Some are not. If someone is a smoker, it can raise the risk of developing acute myelogenous leukemia. There are also chemicals such as benzene found in gasoline that can increase the chances of leukemia if exposed. If someone has gone through cancer treatment in the past, that can also increase the risk of leukemia. The other risks are things that no one has any control over, such as if there is a family history of leukemia and if there is a genetic disorder that is related to an increased risk of leukemia.
Life During Leukemia
When someone gets a leukemia diagnosis, it can bring questions and a lot of emotions. People can feel anything from fear to utter shock. They will need much support and help from their doctor and their loved ones, especially as they begin treatment.
A care team will create a detailed treatment plan to combat leukemia. This plan will most likely include a mixture of chemotherapy and radiation. In addition, immunotherapy and other treatments may also be involved. Different treatments have many upsides, and downsides, so open and honest communication between patient and doctor is of utmost importance. Discuss the side effects of different treatments as well as determine the goals for those treatments.
Different treatments will bring various side effects such as nausea, hair loss, digestion problems, skin rashes, and fatigue. There is also the risk of getting an infection, and there should be an effort to avoid germs and those sick with the flu, a cold, or other contagious illnesses.
During these treatments, it is vital to maintain physical and mental health. If there are some intense side effects, it would be a good idea to bring that up with the doctor to see if they can do anything to ease those. It is also crucial for them to not push it, make rest a priority, and possibly seek a mental health professional to aid in processing everything associated with leukemia.
Life After Leukemia
Ultimately, the goal is for the treatments to work and for leukemia to be cured; when that happens, it is beautiful. Anyone diagnosed with leukemia wants to receive the good news that it is gone and can begin to get back to their lives before cancer.
Everyone copes differently after leukemia, and there is not necessarily a right or wrong way to get back to everyday life, but there is a chance that there will be a new normal. However, some people need more time to process everything they went through and may need to seek mental health care by meeting with a therapist or by talking with a loved one. They may even reach out to someone who has gone through the same thing. There is always a fear of relapsing, so talking it through is beneficial for them.
Leukemia is complicated cancer with a variety of types. Knowing what life is like before, during, and after can help ease the fear of uncertainty and help those going through it cope.