Hairy cell leukemia is uncommon, and personal stories are limited. My intent is to help guide you or your loved ones through this process as a first-person account, and is not meant to replace the advice of your medical professional team.

What do I say to someone recently diagnosed with ANY cancer?

  • "I'm sorry"
    • You truly cannot understand everything that goes through the mind of someone diagnosed. They did nothing wrong and are stuck with this life changing diagnosis. Sorry is an all encompassing word that sums up so many emotions.
  • "I'm here for you"
    • Knowing you have someone to count on, even if they already have a large support network, is invaluable
  • "I'm at the grocery store, what can I get you?"
    • Rather than asking if they need anything (because we'd feel it to be an inconvenience to make you stop if you weren't already somewhere), tell them you're at the store already and can get them whatever they need.

What prescriptions could be prescribed?

  • Allopurinol - uric acid
  • Ranitidine - antacid
  • Ondansetron - nausea
  • Acyclovir - antiviral
  • Sulfamethoxazole - antibiodic

This list is not meant to be all inclusive or mirror any other patients treatment or prescriptions other than her own. This list is simply provided for reference for medications that could be prescribed and what they are for.

What other conditions are associated with HCL?

  • Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly) due to the spleen "hoarding" white blood cells since the body isn't producing enough good ones. The previous treatment for HCL was a splenectomy (spleen removal) before the chemotherapy was developed.
  • Enlarged liver (hepatomology), which goes hand in hand with the spleen.
  • Tumor lysis syndrome, where the concern is that as the cells are destroyed during the chemotherapy process, the destruction of said cells could wreak havoc on your bloodstream.