Strategies When Living with Classical Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Strategies to help you cope with the physical, mental, and emotional demands of living with classical Hodgkin lymphoma.

A young woman living with classical Hodgkin lymphoma mediates to reduce stress.

Receiving a diagnosis of classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cHL) can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are a variety of strategies that can help you cope with the emotional and physical challenges, and help you stay as healthy as possibly during treatment. Get started with the ideas below.

Work with your healthcare team

One of the most important things you can do when you’re living with cHL is work with your healthcare team to develop a treatment plan that meets your needs. Take time to learn about and discuss your treatment options and what to expect during treatment.

Reduce your risk of infection

Having lymphoma, as well as some treatments used for lymphoma, can affect your body’s ability to fight off infections and put you at a greater risk for more severe infections. Take steps to avoid infections: Wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face, disinfect frequently used objects and surfaces, stay on top of your immunizations, and follow COVID-19 prevention precautions.

Eat a healthy diet

Proper nutrition can help give you the energy and strength you need during treatment. It can also promote wellness during recovery. Generally speaking, a healthy, balanced diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, carbohydrates, lean meats and fish, and some dairy. That said, certain treatment side effects—like nausea, lack of appetite, or changes in taste—can make it difficult to eat a well-balanced diet. If you’re having trouble eating well and staying hydrated, work with a dietitian to develop an eating plan that’s tailored to your individual needs.

Get moving

Staying active can help reduce side effects during treatment. Regular exercise can also help reduce stress, boost energy levels, and promote overall wellness. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous or complicated—it can be as simple as taking a walk or mowing the lawn. Before increasing your activity level or starting an exercise routine, talk to your healthcare providers, who can offer advice on precautions you should take. Some activities may be too strenuous while living with lymphoma.

Manage stress

Receiving a cancer diagnosis and undergoing treatment can be stressful. Taking steps to manage stress can help you cope and prioritize your overall health and wellbeing. Meditation and breathing exercises are popular stress-reducing activities. Exercise is also a great way to reduce stress.

Get a good night’s sleep

Symptoms, treatment side effects, and the stress of having cancer can all negatively affect your sleep. To promote restful sleep, try going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, incorporating relaxation into your nighttime routine, and keeping a dark (and electronic-free) sleep environment.

Seek support

Living with lymphoma can affect your mental health. You may go through a range of emotions, from shock and helplessness, to fear and anxiety and anger. These emotions may change during different points in treatment. It is important to have a support system in place to help you cope. Sources of support may include your friends and family, who can help with practical tasks when you need someone to lend a hand. It may also include an oncology social worker or counselor, or a support group where you can connect with other people who are also living with lymphoma.

Make time for things that matter

Taking time for yourself can help you relax and de-stress, putting you in the right mental state to get the most out of treatment. Make the things you enjoy a priority.

Article sources open article sources

American Cancer Society. "Living As a Hodgkin Lymphoma Survivor."
Cancer.Net. "Lymphoma - Hodgkin: Types of Treatment."
Winchester Hospital. "Lifestyle Changes to Manage Hodgkin Lymphoma."
Lymphoma Action. "Diet and nutrition."
Lymphoma Action. "Exercise and physical activity."
Lymphoma Action. "Managing Stress."
American Cancer Society. "What is a Cancer Caregiver?"
CancerCare. Find Assistance from Organizations Providing Financial or Practical Help."

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