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Caring for Someone with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

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Select Justice
October 13, 2021

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer that affects the lymphatic system. It typically starts in the white blood cells and often manifests in the lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, thymus, adenoids, tonsils, and digestive tract. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, common symptoms may include swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or groin; abdominal pain or swelling; chest pain; coughing or trouble breathing; persistent fatigue; fever; night sweats; and unexplained weight loss. 

For the person with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, life turns upside down from the second the word cancer is mentioned. Life changes in an instant and as the caregiver, your job is both important and difficult. You shift from simply being a friend or loved one to having the responsibility of caring for that person and their health. 

What it’s Like to Have Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Before you can care for somebody with cancer, it’s important to understand what they may be going through. Depending on the severity and stage of disease, people with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma may be suddenly thrust into a seemingly endless number of treatments and doctor’s appointments. 

Types of therapy for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma may include: 

  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted drug therapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Stem cell transplant
  • Surgery
  • Plasmapheresis
  • Antibiotic therapy

Those with less aggressive cancer or for those who deny treatment options may opt for watchful waiting. 

Non Hodgkins Lymphoma-11
Non Hodgkins Lymphoma

Regardless of their treatment path, the person with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma will likely often be scared, anxious, and tired. Like you, they will probably cycle through a range of emotions as they navigate this new change in their life. 

How to Care for Someone with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 

Caring for someone with this disease can be emotionally and physically taxing. As a caregiver, these are just some of the things you may find yourself needing to do: 

  • Provide emotional support 
  • Drive your loved one to and from appointments
  • Accompany and advocate for your loved one at appointments 
  • Accompany your loved one at chemo sessions 
  • Take care of pets or other family members
  • Complete household chores
  • Plan and cook meals
  • Organize and dispense medications
  • Call doctor offices and pharmacies
  • Organize and pay medical bills 
  • Bathe, feed, and clothe your loved one
  • Look for signs of infection or illness and regularly check temperature 

Your loved one’s daily routine will probably change as they suddenly have new health needs to care for and appointments to attend. However, keeping their routine and day-to-day life as normal as possible can be very helpful. For their quality of life. 

To the extent possible, try to help them keep up with their hobbies, attend religious services, go out for coffee, or whatever is normal to them. 

How to Take Care of Yourself as a Caregiver

A huge part of caring for a loved one with cancer is caring for yourself as well. You can’t be a good caregiver if your basic needs aren’t met first. By practicing self-care, you can keep up your own morale and energy. 

Caregiver Group

Some ways to care for yourself include taking time off from caregiving, finding a support group for caregivers, and seeking help when you can. Help may come in the form of a housekeeper, a home health nurse, delivered meals, or transportation to and from appointments. If possible, it’s also good for your mental health to have a day or two off from caregiving. Consider asking another trusted loved one to help or even hire out care if that is feasible. 

As a caregiver, it is also extremely important to recognize everything you are doing and to think of yourself as an actual caregiver. It can be easy to become burnt out when you feel like you’re doing it all but not getting any recognition or when you yourself don’t recognize just how much you are doing to care for somebody else. Although you undoubtedly deeply care for your loved one, this is a stressful job you are taking on.  

Depending on how much care your loved one needs, you may also need to take time off work. You may be eligible to take time off work via the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). 

Advocating for Your Loved One with Cancer

A huge part of caring for a loved one with cancer is advocating for them. Often, this looks like attending medical appointments, asking questions, taking notes during appointments, and seeking second opinions. 

Being an advocate can also look like helping your loved one seek justice if that’s what they want to do. In the case of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, it’s possible that your loved one’s cancer was caused by the weedkiller Roundup. You can advocate for your loved one by helping them find a Roundup lawyer who can help you fight for them.  

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We are here to help you and loved ones advocate for justice. Feel free to send us any questions you might have, either about an injury or the process for pursuing justice so we can help you exercise your rights.

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