ABVD Chemo Treatment Experience for Hodgkin's Lymphoma Blood Cancer

Hodgkin's Lymphoma - What is ABVD Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is done through an IV or Port in the hospital 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." Depending on the dosage, this orange/red drug causes nausea, hair loss, and potential heart problems. 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! You're flushing a little more poison out of your system every time you drink. 
  • 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.
  • Sometimes you'll wonder if you belong in an insane asylum. You're being injected with tons of medication and 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 Doctor if you're experiencing horrible side effects. 
  • There are medications for anxiety. Take as-needed or long-term solutions.
  • 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 disease and treatment. 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.