One bad day you'd sooner forget: Being diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).
One good day that made a big difference: Finding out your kind of leukemia could be treated with pills.
Once you're on treatment, good days and bad days, ups and downs, tend to go with the territory.
You don't need anyone to tell you what a good day looks like. But if you're regularly dealing with bad days, you'll want to get help.
Symptom? Side effect? Why does it matter?
If your CML was recognized in the chronic phase, you may have had hardly any actual symptoms—maybe none at all. If so, one of your treatment goals is to get rid of any CML symptoms that you may have had and to keep you free of them as long as possible. Symptoms like these could mean your chronic phase CML is moving to the next, more serious "accelerated" phase.
Some symptoms of CML
- Bleeding and bruising
- Excessive night sweats
- Pain in your bones
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling or discomfort in your abdomen from an enlarged spleen
- Unexplained weight loss
Looking out for side effects
If you're being treated for CML, your bad days may be the result of side effects of your treatment. Not everyone has side effects but they can happen any time, even if you've been on the same treatment for a while. Certain side effects are more likely to happen when you first start treatment and sometimes they may ease up as the body gets used to a particular medication. Some side effects may not go away, or may even get worse
Here's a list of some common side effects of CML treatments. Do you notice something about the 2 lists? They overlap. Luckily, it's not up to you to decide whether the cause of your bad day is a symptom of your disease or a treatment side effect. If you have any of these you'll need to talk to your doctor. Your doctor will evaluate what you are experiencing and look for options to manage your symptoms or side effects. If severe side effects from a particular drug are giving you too many bad days, your doctor may alter your current medication or may even change treatments.
Some side effects of the most common type of CML treatment
- Bleeding or bruising
- Bone or joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Swelling (edema)
- Weight gain
Here's to the good days.
An important part of CML is partnering with your oncologist to get the most out of your treatment. If side effects are getting in the way of your everyday routine—talk to your oncologist.