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NHL:weight loss and swollen legs.

dscaredsister
Posts: 3
Joined: Jun 2010

Hello all,
My Sister was recently diagnosed with NHL. Its been a very diffcult time for us all considering she's just in her early 20s. If thats not bad enough,she has lost a great deal of weight. She has a swollen abdomen and now her legs are swollen.She's done all the test(no chemo yet) but is waiting for the results of her biopsy.Am so scared, i've been reading all the comments but no one has said anything about the legs swelling,is this a side effect of her meds or is NHL spreading?Any advise please!!!!!
dscaredsister.

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1112
Joined: Jul 2009

I am a 22 year survivor of NHL so in that survival time frame you can find hope and indeed many survive NHL with early diagnosis and proper treatments - even 22 years ago when treatments aren't as good as they are today I am still here so take heart in that.

You mentioned her young age and unfortunately cancer knows no age. Babies get cancer all the way up to seniors, age is not a factor in this disease but that does not negate how sad it is when a young life is halted for a time with the diagnosis.

The swelling could be from alot of things. Did she have a lymph node removed for biopsy that led to her diagnosis? If she did then chances are the lymph is backing up and causing what they call an edema in that appendage - usually a leg or arm but could be almost anywhere too. Drugs can cause fluid buildup as well but you didn't mention any drugs that she is on yet so I don't know.

I would doubt that the swelling in her abodomen is from cancer spreading but I am no doctor and think it's probably due to some secondary issue but again I don't have enough details on your sister or expertise in that field.

I hope things turn out well for your sister and you need to know that she will need support from family and friends as she goes through this. Cancer touches a whole family when one is diagnosed, everyone in different ways, so please continue to be there for her through treatment and beyond that as well. Often after treatments family and friends feel that the survivor needs to just 'get on with their lives' but often there is residual emotional and physical issues they are still dealing with. Be patient and just be there for her through all of this.

You didn't mention if your family was spiritual, and your sister, if so prayer is a strong force and I would suggest you do that with ernest and spread the word too to others who will join in and pray for her full recovery.

I wish you all well. The bottomline to your question though is that she needs to see her oncologist/doctor and pass these questions by him or her as to the reasoning for the swelling, they are most equipped to give you a full answer as they know her medical issues and drugs and are expert in the field. This board is here to support you and her so don't hesitate to come back and chat about it. There is a chatroom here too for instant feedback from survivors.

Blessings, Bluerose

dscaredsister
Posts: 3
Joined: Jun 2010

you don't know how encouraging your post was to me. many thanks.she actually had a swollen tommy first and since she wasnt pregnant,she knew something was wrong.after a couple of test and medications along the way,it was finally said to be NHL.she lost weight and her legs got swollen while on medication. i don't know what to think especially when i have a feeling the doctor's still trying to figure it out too,he says wait till the biopsy comes out,but every passing day is a nightmare.

yesyes2
Posts: 592
Joined: Jul 2009

Hello Dscaresister,

I'm so sorry that you, your sister and your family have to be going through this. It is very aparent how much you love and care for your sister and we on this board will be here to answer your questions and support you.
I have been dealing with an aggressive lymphoma for 2 1/2 years now and after 6 rounds of RCHOP am in a CR. My initial lymphoma was in my lower abdomen and I was noticably swollen around my pancreus(sp)and liver. With my recurrance my first sign was a very swollen upper tummy indigestion and weight loss. This was caused by the lymphnodes around my stomach which were very enlarged. Both times my nodes could not be felt but did show up on CT and PET scans. As soon as chemo started the nodes went down and after my 2nd round I was in remission.
I agree with BlueRose that the swollen legs could be caused by medication or groin nodes which may be swollen with lymphoma causing the lymph to back up in her legs, or if a lymphnode was removed from her groin. I know it's hard but I've learned that with lymphoma you need patience. Ever test seems to take forever to get answers and waiting is pretty much the name of the game. But her Onc sound like he/she is on it.
Blessings to you and your sister,
Leslie

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