CLL Support Association
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Hi everyone! I've just loved seeing film 'Les Miserables' today. Brilliant! When I returned home, having been out 10am-5pm my nose became inflamed. I've noticed lately that I seem to be suffering from allergies (didn't used to). Fish tank in bedroom didn't seem very fresh (though recently cleaned) so I emplied it and moved it to porch. Am I paranoid thinking poisons bubbling up? Vapours? Also my old, nearly-deaf cat who doesn't groom herself is making me allergic too. She has a bedroom to herself but I feed her, comb her fur and change her litter every day. I'm feeling that my fish and cat may present real hazards for the 'new' me? What do y'all think? I have disturbed sleep (for several reasons) and this is often due to mucous/ blocked nose.


4 Replies

It is not unusual, when newly diagnosed, to have a certain amount of paranoia about all kinds of things that we fear might affect our "new status". Are these issues new, or are they things you are just thinking about more now. I can tell you that many CLL patients around the world are dealing with the fear of catching the flu, even those of us who have lived with this for a long time(10 years for me), and each of us probably has something that we worry about now, that, in the past, we never would have thought about. From the information you posted, it sounds like this is all very new and frightening, and it will take you a little while, to adjust to the news of your diagnosis, but at this time your CLL is indolent (not aggressive). It could stay that way for a very long time. It may never become aggressive. The reality for most of us is that we probably had CLL for some time before diagnosis and the thing that is new is the label, not the disease, so the "new you" may not be new at all, just the knowledge. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to start learning more about CLL

I doubt that the fish tank is a danger to you, but if you have the option of keeping it in a room that you spend less time in, and one with a good flow of fresh air, that is not a bad solution. I have had numerous fish tanks, some in my bedroom, and a few with classroom crayfish and never had a problem.

As for the cat, do you have a couple of old robes, or the like, that you could wear over your clothes, along with a mask when grooming her? Even something to cover your hair if the allergies are bad. Things that you wear only for that purpose and that can be washed frequently? Then a good hand and face wash when done. I do that when handling a sick cat who has been isolated from the rest of mine. This would also be a good idea when cleaning the room. perhaps there is someone who could clean the room for you so you are not stirring up danders. Also, damp mopping or wiping surfaces will keep the allergens more under control. Gloves when changing the litter is an option. I get trash bags that the litter box fits into and slide the box in, then dump the litter, while outside, so I am not handling the litter or breathing the dust, though I have dealt with lots of litter since my diagnosis without an issue, and I do have allergies, just not animal allergies. There are wipes sold in stores in the US to use on cats, for those with allergies. You might look for something like that.

In my last home I had a very bad time with seasonal allergies. I found that using a cold water humidifier at night was very helpful. It's hard to know from your post whether the breathing issues are just from the cat allergy or if they involve more than that. You might want to see a good ear, nose, and throat specialist. The right antihistamine or decongestant, or taking an expectorant to thin the mucus could be helpful. I ended up needing sinus surgery to open up the sinuses, and while I wouldn't recommend it if you don't need it, it has totally changed my life for the better.

My first oncologist told me that I had to get rid of all of my animals. I got rid of him. I have several dogs, cats, and some birds, and was very ill when first diagnosed. My pets were the one reason I got up many days. I know that someone going through treatment, especially someone dealing with a bone marrow transplant, might have to avoid their pets for a while, but for most of is I believe that they are important to our well being. Most of the ordinary precautions, like hand washing, not handling litter, and maintaining a clean environment for our pets, are precautions that everyone should take.


Thank you so very much pkenn! You are the perfect person to answer my query. I feel much better just having read your prompt reply. My two fish, which I inherited, are going to 'a better place' next week. Teehee! Nothing bad is going to happen to them (though one of the goldfish would make a nice fish supper!). My daughter's mum-in-law has a lovely fish pond and she is going to take my fish. As for the cat, I think I'll take your advice, ie wear a mask to avoid breathing anything in and putting on an old robe (which is called a 'dressing-gown' in the UK) and keep it exclusively for use with the cat. I agree that animals enhance and enrich our lives. I am reassured by your sharing of your experience of CLL.

Thank you again and wishing you all that's good.



We have two dogs, a Newfoundland and a Bernese. My start down the CLL road was in June 2012. At not time since had my GP or my consultant suggested getting rid of them. I did read comments on the internet about risks from animals/pets in the early days and got quite worried.

However, it is down to rsk management, i try not to "walk in front of buses" - make sure i wash my hands after handling the dogs. I've never greed with dogs licking faces. I would not give up the dogs unless absolutely necessary.

Most was covered by pkenn already.



Thank you, Rob. I am now less initimate with my cat than I used to be! I used to kiss my cat and have it under the covers in bed!! I don't do this now! Probably she was every bit as unhygienic when she was younger because she hunted and caught rabbits etc. She was groomed every time she came in. I was an expert at getting rid of flees. Every time she's been at the vet (at least twice a year) she has never had flees, and she has always had an annual injection to keep her free from illness. We are surrounded by fields, arable land, where we live (not to mention a couple of electricity pylons not too far away) and I do think about the fact that the cat needed an anti-inflammatory injection every summer because her skin was developing sores which must have been caused by something the farmer put on the fields. The cat doesn't go out of her room in the house virtually at all these days. She sits at the window and looks into the garden and sleeps a lot in her cosy, heated bed. Of course, with hindsight, I can't help but puzzle about how I got CLL. Probably it was a combination of circumstances but I expect none of us is sure how we got it. Again, I'm very grateful for this forum. I can just rattle off my thoughts / worries and it's so good to know that someone from this website will respond.

Your dogs will make sure you get plenty of exercise - and joy. Both so very important.

Kind regards



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