If you're facing physical challenges from B-cell lymphoma or its treatment, you have many ways to manage them. Medicine or lifestyle changes can bring relief from fatigue, stomach trouble, and other problems.
To keep your weight and energy up, add to the number of calories you eat every day. Talk to a nutritionist to find out what your calorie goals should be and also which foods pack the biggest punch.
If you're losing weight because you have no appetite or because of nausea, eating more may be trickier. If that's the case, make a note of how you feel at certain times of day or after you eat different kinds of food. Then figure out what and when you can eat to feel your best while still getting the nutrition you need. Eating light meals more frequently can be easier on your stomach than a few heavy meals during the day.
If necessary, your doctor can step in with medications or other interventions to help stop weight loss. There are options like:
Megestrol acetate. This is a progesterone hormone to help you feel hungry and improve your overall well-being.
IV nutrient therapy. It uses a tube to give your body nutrients straight into a vein instead of eating and drinking.
Treatments like chemotherapy that kill cancer cells also kill healthy cells that divide quickly, like hair follicle cells. If you find your hair falling out, remember that this loss is temporary, and will stop when your treatment ends.
In the meantime, try these tips to care for the hair you have and plan ahead for future loss:
- Wash and comb your hair regularly.
- Consider cutting your hair shorter or even shaving your head to ease into having no hair.
- Save some of the hair you cut so that if you buy a wig, you can match it to your original hair.
- Buy hats and scarves to keep your head warm and cover your scalp in the sun.
- Moisturize your scalp to keep it from feeling dry.
- Use makeup to recreate eyebrows.
Nausea and Vomiting
Your doctor may decide your nausea and vomiting are enough of a problem to need medication. The type of anti-nausea drugs you use will depend on the type of treatment you're getting.
Some ways to manage nausea without drugs are:
- Changing what you eat to go easier on your stomach
- Relaxation techniques like guided imagery or hypnosis
- Complementary treatments like acupuncture or acupressure
Your cancer treatment can make you feel very tired. To manage your fatigue, try these tips:
- Track the times of day you have the most energy and concentrate on the things you need to get done in those hours.
- Ask for help. Give your tasks to others when you can.
- Make sure you get enough sleep.
- Exercise up to three times a week to boost your energy.
- Eat enough nutritious food.
- Consider trying cognitive behavioral therapy, where a mental health professional will help you find ways to manage fatigue.
You should also check in with your doctor to see if anemia or other illnesses are causing your fatigue. You can help manage anemia, for example, by loading up on iron-rich foods like leafy greens, beans, meats and fish, prunes, raisins, and sweet potatoes. Your doctor may also prescribe a supplement, like iron, vitamin B12, or folic acid. In severe cases, you may need a blood transfusion.
Some cancer treatments affect the lining of your mouth, causing burn-like sores. It's best to try to prevent them before they start by checking in with your dentist, especially if you have a history of getting them. Don't smoke, eat plenty of fruits and veggies, and brush and floss your teeth regularly.
If you get mouth sores, your doctor may suggest these treatments:
Coating agents. These are rinses you swish in your mouth to form a film that protects the sores so you feel them less.
Topical painkillers. They're spot treatments that you put directly on sores to numb them.
Radiation treatment can cause dryness, itchiness, blistering, peeling, and color changes. You can ease these problems if you:
- Keep your skin clean with mild soap.
- Use a fragrance-free moisturizer twice a day.
- Wear loose-fitting, breathable clothes.
- Don't scrub, shave, or scratch your skin.
- Ask your doctor about prescription medication to treat itchy skin.