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experiencing anxiety and depression

yazmene
Posts: 6
Joined: Oct 2002

I finished treatment in the middle of Feb 2002. I couldn't wait to get back to my life. However it was not as easy as I thought. I began to have anxiety attacks everytime I would pain the area where my cancer had been. I would panic thinking the cancer was coming back. I thought I was going crazy because sometimes I would start freaking out for no reason. Simple tasks felt like a ton of bricks. It got so bad I didn't even want to leave my apt. I told my family what was going on; they suggested that I quit my job until I was a little more stable. I quit my job and began seeking treatment with counseling and Zoloft. Two days after the Zoloft, I started to feel better. WOW, that is an amazing drug. My local doctor thinks the chemo may have caused a chemical imbalance that is causing the depression/anxiety. Is anyone else experiencing this? I want to know that I'm not alone. Help me and explain your situation!

cooter1952
Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2002

No,you are definitely not alone.After lung surgery in 1992,I also began having anxiety attacks and depression.I have taken numerous meds and now take serax and effexor.I have no explanation but just wanted you to know you are not the only one.hang in there and good luck!

dickl
Posts: 39
Joined: Jan 2002

yazmene,
My son had a bone marrow transplant in 1996 at age 8. He's cured but has many long term neurological problems. His temper proved to be the most dangerous. His mom and I feared his violent explosions would land him in trouble that would ruin his life. The docs in hem.-onc. and neurology offered no help. I found a psychiatrist that had pediatric training and we started to see him about a year ago. He first tried Paxil,it did not help. We then switched to Zoloft
which has helped a lot. He still has many issues but his temper is not as intense and explodes less frequently. There are many cancer survivors that are out there that share common problems and many need to seek their own ansewers,because the medical community often cures the patients then feels their job is complete. It often is not.
Please write back if you wish.

dickl

Jaye
Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2003

this is so true dickl, that the medical community just treats the disease and once it's over and done with, thinks that it should be over for the patient. I think that a lot of survivors experience anger because they have experience losses, just like people who have lost loved ones have. Except that their loss could be the loss of an idealised body image, the loss of independence, the loss of goals, etc. It's normal to experience all sorts of feelings after undergoing such a traumatic experience. I'm a cancer survivor myself and about 1-2 years after the experience, felt really sad and all... it took me a while to come to terms with it, looking back at it many years after now. Getting in touch with a support group and seeing a qualified therapist/counsellor might help.

I hope things will get better for you. God bless you.

Jaye

aminmi
Posts: 8
Joined: Oct 2003

Jaye, what you wrote is very much like what I have a experienced. I was diagnosed 15 months ago and have had surgery, radiation and chemo since then. I have a friend who is a psychologist who helped me alot, especially at the begining. I had to deal with anger then and thought I was pretty much through that until it recently came back in a big way. It was like reliving the emotions of everything that had happened, much like post-traumatic stress syndrome. I have felt and continue to deal with the sense of loss, also. I have twice attended a Coping with Loss seminar that my psychologist friend has presented. It was designed for dealing with other kinds of loss, obviously, but has helped me. I'm still dealing with many emotions and am considering entering into counseling. This is the part the medical community has failed on in my opinion. They seem to have no idea how cancer, the treatments and effects change you and how hard that is to deal with. I had known many people myself who had gone through cancer and yet I was stunned by the emotional trauma of it. I have friends urging me to write a book for oncologists,so they can get a clue.

Thanks for your insights.

jyoung
Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2003

I finished my chemo and was getting along fine..had a mamo at my 6 month apt. They found unsual spots on my other breast and had it removed .....I then sank into a depression. My Dr gave me meds .Gosh that helped. My looks I felt were not great.....everyone kept saying how good I looked I had felt like they were not telling me the truth. I am feeling some what better.

aminmi
Posts: 8
Joined: Oct 2003

I can identify with you! You said you couldn't wait to get back to your life and that's exactly what I thought. I finished treatment in April 2003. I had gone through surgery, radiation and chemo-most of which didn't go well. I just wanted to be done and get back to normal. Little did I know that I would never be "normal" again. I have had anxiety attacks when I was sure I was dying. I planned my funeral. Going back to the oncologist's for my 1st post-treatment appt. was harder than going the very first time. Sometimes my worry and anxiety had a cause, but sometimes it would just hit me out of the blue. One minute I'd be fine and the next WHAM! I didn't get to the point where I didn't want to leave home, but I was close. I knew that the possibility was just around the corner. I'm single and live alone. I would be fine when I was working, but then I'd come home. . . I got to the point where I dreaded to come home. I would try to make myself get out among people when it started to get bad because I knew that would help. I'm currently doing OK, but I know it's not over. Every once in awhile emotions that I thought I'd dealt with show up again. I find myself overreacting to certain types of things. Being aware of what's happening to me helps somewhat, but I'm considering counseling. Everyone I know who has lived very long with cancer has ended up in counseling and now I know why.

beecher
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2004

Aminmi, your words hit home. My nine year old daughter completed treatment for Acute Myloid Leukemia in May of 2003. We looked forward to life getting back to normal, and have been disappointed by the reality that we have been forever changed by our experience with cancer. We were in the hospital for five straight months where my daughter befriended many other children with cancer. Over the past year, eight of our friends have passed away. I live in a world where most of my close friends have lost a child to cancer. My daughter is deeply depressed, and suffers from anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. She is seeing a wonderful therapist and takes Luvox for the depression. I have been stunned by the lack of concern shown by our doctors about her emotional well-being. They seem to think we are odd for having such pesky troubles after all the hard work they did! My girl is struggling in school, and I feel like I am on my own, trying to figure out whether or not the chemo has affected her learning. We will do neuro-psych testing in the near future. I do feel frustrated at the medical community for their apparent denial of the reality so many cancer survivors face. This is the first time I have participated in a chat group. It does help to feel that we are not alone. How do we get treatment centers to take part in the healing that must follow the devastation of life with cancer? My heart goes out to all of you brave people who have fought cancer. I have not experienced it myself, but watched the nightmare that my daughter experienced.

paulazane
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2004

My Mother is in remission with Acute Myloid Leukemia. She completed her Chemo 16 months ago. At that time the doctors gave her a year, we are all thrilled that she is doing so well, However, she panics over the simplest thing. We all try to reassure her that she is doing well, but she's just scared. I think I should do more to help her but I am at a loss. I feel for each and everyone one. How do we help our loved ones?

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