Summer 2015 Patient Experience

At Weill Cornell Medical College we have the privilege of helping thousands of people every year. Every patient has an experience and we would like to highlight some of their advice here. For this issue Robert Azopardi answered some questions about changes in his lifestyle after his diagnosis with CLL.

1. Describe how you dealt with any other changes in your lifestyle after your CLL diagnosis?

Changes in my lifestyle after my lymphoma diagnosis proved to be challenging. It seemed all my energy was devoted towards my lymphoma issue. My normal lifestyle changed dramatically, from losing my ability to concentrate at my job, to wondering where my disease would lead me. After finally
learning how to cope with the disease through seminars dealing with cancer survival, I was able to handle and sort out a new pathway for my life.

2. What tips do you have for dealing with stress?

Stress is a mental or physical tension placed on your body. My dealing with stress includes long walks in the park, a good book to read, meeting with friends, and learning about the many success stories NewYork-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center has achieved.

3. What did you do to prevent/reduce nausea? Describe favored foods, routines.

Nausea was a big problem at first. I took the prescribed medications suggested by my physician, and tried to stay hydrated by drinking green tea and lots of water. I eliminated all spicy foods from diet and ate smaller, but more frequent meals. The aroma from some foods also caused nausea. After the nausea would subside, I would consume broths, rice, jello, and bananas to help my potassium levels.

4. How did lymphoma affect your diet?

My diet was seriously affected. Eating McDonald’s or Burger King became a thing of the past. Balanced meals were a regular dinner choice. I introduced more greens, fruits, and vegetables into my diet. I also drank more liquids.

5. How did you adjust to relapse? Alternatively: How did you cope with relapse?

My relapse was devastating. It forced me to relive my past experience fighting the disease. The Division of Hematology/Oncology at Weill Cornell Medical Center never left my side, from my first lymphoma diagnosis, through my relapse, to suggesting another trial to control my disease. Dr. Richard Furman and the whole staff were always positive, and kept my mind at ease through a life threatening situation. Dr. Furman who saved my life before, as I flirted with death 5 years ago, shined again and placed me on another medication again controlling the disease. He restored my quality of life.

6. What did/do you do to remain physically active?

I try to remain active by visiting the gym periodically. The smallest workout seems to increase my energy. During the summer, walks along the beach prove to be very tranquil and refreshing. Bike riding also helps me physically and mentally.

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