Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a slow-growing type of blood cancer and the most common form of leukemia in adults. If you or a loved one is affected by CLL, the book “Fast Facts for Patients: Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia” by Kathryn Huntley, Professor Anna Schuh, and Dr Alessandra Tedeschi is your go-to resource.

September 1 is World CLL Day. In 2023 the focus lies on mental health. To learn more about the condition, the awareness day and its theme, visit the CLL Advocates Network.

We asked Leanne Kennedy, who contributed to the booklet, about the impact of CLL on mental health. These are her thoughts:

Leanne Kennedy

“Silence the mind to hear the heart.”

These words resonated with me as I find I need to silence my mind from negative self-defeating thoughts to find peace and quiet. I know it is natural and healthy to allow yourself to feel sad and worried whilst coming to terms with all the twists and turns of the CLL journey, from being diagnosed to watch and wait, treatment and then fear around remission. For me, though, I realised that if I stay in that sad and worried state of mind for too long, I go into a ‘why bother’ state of mind which is a miserable and sometimes harmful place to be. After experiencing this throughout my journey I am aware that if I try to look after my mental, physical and spiritual well-being – whether that be going for a walk and enjoying nature, eating well, doing activities that I enjoy or simply reaching out to a friend or family – that any positive and kind thing I can do for myself propels me into a happier, healthier me. My brother shared a beautiful quote with me the other day:

We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.” (Confucius)

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