Treatment Advice for Hodgkin's Lymphoma ABVD Chemo

Hodgkin's Lymphoma - What is ABVD Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is done through an IV or Port in the hospital once every two weeks and can take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours. It is the necessary evil that kills off cancerous cells.

ABVD is an abbreviation of four drugs: Adriamycin, Bleomycin, Vinblastine, and Dacarbazine

ADRIAMYCIN - or "The Red Devil." This orange/red drug causes nausea, hair loss, and potential heart problems - depending on the dosage. It also turns your urine orange/red.

BLEOMYCIN - Comes out in a syringe, is transparent, and is known to cause pulmonary side effects. Some get fevers from this.

VINBLASTINE - Effective against cancers of the white blood cells such as lymphoma.

DACARBAZINE - A drip that takes around an hour. Most likely to make you feel sick. It also causes infertility, immune suppression, headaches, fatigue, etc.

Advice to get you through ABVD Chemo

  • Drink water! Every time you drink, you're flushing a little more poison out of your system. 
  • Ask about Prochlorperazine, a take as a needed pill for nausea and vomiting.
  • The best thing you can do for your body is to try to eat a well-balanced diet.
  • There will be times you'll wonder if you belong in an insane asylum. You're being injected with tons of medication along with steroids, so it's normal for this to take a mental toll. 
  • You don't need to put a definition to your mental condition; just remind you're loved ones about chemo brain.
  • Speak up to the Doc. if you're experiencing horrible side effects. 
  • There are medications for anxiety. Take as needed or long-term solution.
  • When you have energy, use it and try to exercise.
  • Don't feel bad if you just have to sleep. You don't need to justify why you're in bed. This was one thing I struggled with as a mother.
  • You are going to want to give up. Don't.
  • Mentally & realistically prepare yourself for hair loss. I suggest cutting your hair short in preparation. Then you might feel more in control of the hair loss by shaving. Embrace your baldness.
  • Take the help. People want to understand and be there to support you.
  • Document your story. I'm noticing a lift in silence and more people sharing what they endure through this illness. It helps the process of accepting your diagnosis, but more importantly, you're becoming a part of a movement to spread awareness. 
  • Finally, try to have a sense of humor about things. By no means is Cancer funny, but laughter cures the soul. You HAVE to take treatment. You have to go through this. Humor will not only allow people around you to feel more open to discussing the awkward C-word, but it will get you through this bitch. So, ha your way to remission.