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Ever wonder what your Trigger was?

CountryGal7557
Posts: 165
Joined: Feb 2011

The experts say Non-Hodgkins is triggered by a series of stressful events.

Has anyone ever figured out which events triggered it? Have you ever wondered if one stressful event per year over three years could have caused it? Does anyone know if the stressful events that cause NHL are a series of events within one week? or a day?

Is the 'type' of personality a factor also? I have been classified as "Type A" from a personality study, but depending on my job I've also been categorized as complacent - the "C" Group.

Job Performance reviews have stated "needs to be in control" or "needs to be her way or the highway". So if my personality type indicates that I need to be in control and if events (loosing a job while building a house) occur that I cannot wrap my arms around, or cannot handle; or control the fact that I lost my job and my house is being framed and cannot be stopped, then NHL is triggered.

I think I may have just answered my own question by writing this.

What are your thoughts on why you got NHL and your sister or brother did not?

Janelle
Dx Mar 2010 Indolent Follicular NHL Stage 4A

allmost60's picture
allmost60
Posts: 3175
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi Janelle,
I "think"(?) my trigger might have been caused from falling down the stairs in Aug of 2009. I bounced down 11 stairs that lead to our family room. I ended up getting rotator cuff surgery in Nov and it was really traumatic for me. Had physical therapy..(4 mo's) , but for some reason my shoulder froze up and I was left with only 40% use of my left arm. I was scheduled to have a forced manipulation done to repair my shoulder in June 2010, but after my May physical and subsequent diagnosis of cancer, I cancelled it. My Onc won't speculate one way or the other to why I have cancer, but I've read alot about stress or bodily trauma possibly causing cancer to activate in our bodies. I was also exposed to some pretty nasty chemicals back in the 80's and 90's when I worked on the grounds crew for the Yakima school district,(all cancer causing)so..."who knows"???...it's kind of a toss up for me...physical body trauma, or long term chemical exposure. Good question to the group Janelle...don't forget the pod-cast tomorrow. Love...Sue (FNHL-2-3A-6/10)

Tracie1981's picture
Tracie1981
Posts: 125
Joined: Mar 2010

If Hodgkins could be triggered by one. I had a stillbirth in Oct 08, delivered on me and my husbands first anniversary. 2 months later I had a lump in my throat drs diagnosed me with hyperthyroidism and in May 09 got pregnant with my daughter, delivered her 3 weeks early Jan 23, started chemo on Feb 6 for a 19cm tumor, it didnt make breathing easy being pregnant... Fun times. I believe that the stillbirth of our son pushed me overboard, I truly believe and have ALWAYS believed that stress plays a major factor in it. God Bless, Tracie

She514's picture
She514
Posts: 47
Joined: Mar 2011

I believe it's very possible that stress can and does trigger cancer. September 2009 Mom was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease. I retired (early) May 2010 to help care for her. October I knew she was nearing the end and was totally stressed until her passing October 20th. The day after her services a lady ran a red light and broadsided my car. She had no insurance, car in shop for over a month and I had numbing shoulder/arm/hand pain. January 2011 I had appendicitis, CT scan showed enlarged lymph nodes in my abdomen that Doctors felt wasn't related to appendicitis. After months of tests/imaging diagnosed with B cell, low grade CLL/SLL. I'm on a "watch n wait" approach with appointment end of May with Medical Oncologist. Just finished physical therapy from accident, not 100% but about 90% and happy with that! Returned to work 20 hrs a week in March as retired annuitant in my old job. Starting to feel like I've captured my old "norm" back...minus Mom of course:o(

onlytoday's picture
onlytoday
Posts: 596
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi,
What an interesting thought. My personality tests are all over the place too. Although I have pretty much been a "type A" for awhile because with my job you have to be to survive.

Anyway, I think my trigger could have been watching the decline of my mother-in law. She was slipping during 2009. I started not feeling well in December 09 and Mom passed in April 2010 after two hospital and nursing home visits. I got dx in May of 2010. My mother-in-law was like a mom to me as I lost my mom when we were newlyweds. I miss both of them everyday.

Yeah, stress does it - I feel confident of that. I always think I've got my stress in control but the truth is that I'm like a duck. Calm and together in my little business suit acting all together and underneath the surface I'm peddling away like mad. I work on trying stress relief everyday (yoga and meditation when I can) but I think I need to retire and do it right and start relaxing more. Haven't kayaked in two years - it's just not right!!

Love,
Donna

cookingirl's picture
cookingirl
Posts: 183
Joined: May 2010

Hi - very interesting reading and I have no idea what caused mine! Lots of stress the past 5 years from various sources, but also thinking the 12 years I lived on a dairy and cattle farm in VA with my first husband and pesticides in fields surrounding our house didn't help matters either. BUT to this day he nor any of his family have cancer, so why me if that's what caused it? My Oncologist says there will never be an answer - many things contributed to it happening.

Donna - can't believe you have't kayaked in two years - with your picture, I imagine you on a calm lake every day! You must find time for that, girl! Fran

onlytoday's picture
onlytoday
Posts: 596
Joined: Jun 2010

Fran,

I know - I really, really miss my lake. I've decided that in the event that I do need more tx I will do it different this time. Last time I stopped working and immediately started treatment. This time I will take 2 weeks for ME before treatment. Kayaking included! But hopefully that won't happen and I can just kayak on vacation in July!

Also, when I thought more about triggers and things...

My late sister had Hodgkins at the age of 16, many years ago. Then at 58 I come down with non-Hodgkins. My dad worked in plastics all his life. I remember as a kid watching him come home from the plant covered in resin ( the powered form of plastic - chemicals in a dried form). So when I first got sick I felt that the two diagnoses were related because prior to my sister we had no cancer in my family - it kind of came out of no-where. Just another thought...

Love,
Donna

CountryGal7557
Posts: 165
Joined: Feb 2011

Fran...I too lived on a farm along with 4 brothers & 4 sisters. none of my siblings or my Mom & Dad have cancer. only me. 3 times! After my 2nd baby was one year old I was Dx with uterine cancer May 87, then Fall 09 basil cell cancer on my chest and then March 10 FNHL.

Just watch-n-wait, I will outlive my siblings! LOL
Janelle =)

skuttlebug
Posts: 45
Joined: May 2011

i have never heard of trigger but i do know that i have had a lot of stress. mabey if i get rid of the stress it wont come back. denise.

COBRA666's picture
COBRA666
Posts: 2418
Joined: May 2010

Denise,
I don't know if it would work,but believe me it is worth a try. John

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

For me I am pretty sure I know what triggered my NHL, have always known really. First of all my Grandmother had NHL too and I do think that there is a genetic componant to it, for many if not all. Just a personal opinion. Also when I developed NHL I was under tremendous stress and for a long time too. I don't think that a short burst of a couple of stressors over a couple of days would do it but if there are more stresses and nothing gets better over a long period of time like months or even a few years then the risks become greater. I think it's a long term stress situation - the body is constantly in a fight or flight mode which isn't a good thing. There has to be rest for the body to perform to it's peak. Like an automobile that has been driven too hard, parts start failing.

This of course is my opinion based on my own personal experiences that make sense to me.

If you watch cats you will notice that they are very upset by things like even moving an object in the room to a new location and I believe that there is an energy flow that cats are very sensitive too and by moving an object it changes the energy flows within their space and upsets them. I am mentioning this because I think there is too much change in our lives too, we move too much, we change partners too much we are far too busy and don't take the time just to 'be'. I think our bodies are always trying to balance themselves and with so much change what chance do they have of reaching that balance that is the secret to heatlh, or at least a great componant of a healthy body.

I think that any excess in our lives that plays out too long can trigger cancers as well plus no doubt other diseases and afflictions. The key is balance, makes sense to me.

Again, just a personal belief and observation.

Blessings,

Bluerose

CountryGal7557
Posts: 165
Joined: Feb 2011

Bluerose, I like your thought process. I was under continuous stress at a job until I got 'fired' or "laid off" while my house was being framed. Got another job and immediately that company was put on a hiring freeze. new co-workers let me know instantly that I would be the first let go....job was stressful to learn, plus the worry of being let go....made it through the 1st round of layoffs after only being there 3 months, then I was let go on the 2nd round. I immediately found another job, but the constant stress and worry over those 3 years is what probably triggered the cancer. I got no break from the uncontrollable stress to balance out my life. there is a healthy stress that professionals talk about, so it's this out-of-control stress that does it.

Genetically I believe my biological make-up (type A, can't let things go, the need to control) along with the above unbalanced stress = my cancer.

If I knew I could spare my daughters from ever getting cancer I would. But how can you tell your daughters w/o scarying them to worry every day. they worry enough about us.

Hugs to all!
Janelle

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

Do you have anyone in your family who has had NHL? They say that everyone has cancer cells in their body but it's as you suggest, triggers that can activate it. Sounds about right to me. Not just for NHL either.

I think that there are things people can do to eleviate stress in their lives, everyone should try to. In years to come I know that the medical profession will find that stress if far worse for people than ever thought and more will be done to educate on that fact.

In the meantime I think that things like daily meditation is a great help with stress. I mean really serious meditation like Transcendental Meditation - meditating on a mantra. Some people are able to meditate on prayer and things but I have to go for the 'clear your mind type' and try not to think of anything to make it really work for me. Having chemo brain as I do from treatments it's hard for me to meditate - make the time I mean - but when I do I really notice a big difference. You can maybe try to get your daughters interested in something like that instead of talking about the negative possibilities of cancer in the family maybe focus on a more balanced lifestyle and the idea of excess as being a general problem for people.

Also keeping active and taking up a sport or regular excercising burns off stress too. I have so many side effects from treatments the excercising is hard for me to do but I do what I can.

Counselling is a good thing too. I have a psychologist that deals with post traumatic stress disorder and anxiety issues and I check in with him once in awhile to make sure I am keeping things under control, don't see him that often anymore but I think it's a good idea to have someone professional to talk over things with now and again as well.

Have your kids seen a counsellor about your cancer? That helps kids deal too I have heard. But in general I think just stearing them towards a balanced way of thinking about life in general, keeping excess in anything to a minimum and things like that will do more to help them than to warn them about the possibilities of cancer in their lives down the road. Just my own take on it.

All the best.

Bluerose

Michele23
Posts: 167
Joined: Mar 2011

I believe stress is it in a nutshell.Was in the best shape of my life,active thin,and ate well.Always was malty tasking life,and my days never ended till the job was complete.Can't even get the jobs started today really takes so much effort,push push push.No energy.Healing wishes,Michele DX95 FNHL3

jam7
Posts: 8
Joined: May 2011

Who knows why or how people get it. my husband is in the military and as iv been going to chemo with him and getting to know the others, i have notticed there are A LOT of military with this. So im starting to ask if maybe it can be triggered by all the crap theese men and woman are given befor they are deployed, things that are sapose to prevent bad stuff. Or maybe just the stress of going to a war zone. Befor my husband got in the military he was so healthy hardly ever had a cold of flue, now this. i guess im still in the WTF mind frame right now. Sorry i babaled hope you got somthing from this

KC13167's picture
KC13167
Posts: 215
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi jam,

Does the place where your husband gets his chemo have support groups or social workers? I read your other post. You certainly have a lot on your plate. I think it was Janelle who said to make sure you take care of yourself first, she's right. There is a young military wife on this board who has lymphoma and a few wee children. Gosh, I can't remember her name. If her name comes to me, in my chemo-brain, i will let you know She seems very sweet. I'm sure that when she checks the board that she will respond to you. I hope she has some helpful tips to pass along.

Kellie

Jam.....the person I was referring to is tracie1981, she has posted in this thread. Good luck!

JoanieP's picture
JoanieP
Posts: 573
Joined: Mar 2010

Oh yes I could count at least 8 serious family matters in the last 10 years!!!! Thank God I have my faith.

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