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cancer survival and panic disorder

Kid_A
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2006

Hello,

My name's Joel. I am a 21 year old Cancer survivor. I was diagnosed at the age of 19 with Ewing's Sarcoma (bone cancer) and treated for eleven months of chemo at Mass General Hospital in Boston, MA.

Soonly after I was treated and put into remission I developed a pretty severe social anxiety disorder that I still struggle with today. Although I've worked through the better part of it I was curious if anyone else had any similar results from treatment.

Anyway, I'd appreciate any advice you might offer on breaking through this. :)

- Joel

TereB
Posts: 288
Joined: May 2003

Hi Joel,
I think emotional problems happen to all of us that have to deal with cancer. My problem was mainly depression and I saw a psychiatrist who helped me a lot. At times I had panic disorder, not social, but since I was seeing the psychiatrist, she helped me fight it; I learned to recognize it and fight it right away and it worked. Last time I had a panic attack, many years ago, I thought I was suffocating but it took me only 2-3 minutes to recognize what it was and I told myself I could breathe that it was only a panic attack and once you are able to recognize it, you can take care of it right away.

Even though these mental/emotional problems are in your mind, the symptoms are very real. Psychotherapy worked very well for me and that is why I recommend it.

All the best,
TereB

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Joel, panic attacks and anxiety disorder, these things suck. Fortunately for me, I suffered from these even before I was diagnosed with neck and tongue cancer. :) As TereB advises, the best solution is to seek professional help for this additional burden. You will truly be amazed by the lightness you feel after a number of sessions with a qualified psychologist/psychiatrist. Medication, of course, can help, but it is vitally important that you not decide on the medication yourself. Self-medication, whether it is alcohol or whatever, will be counterproductive for sure.

Depression is a known factor for cancer survivors, and panic attack/anxiety disorder are typical types of effects of depression. I know this much personally. You are by no means alone. Seek professional advice wherever you can find it, knowing that you are decidedly not alone. (By the way, someone should do a study on why at least some cancer victims feel GUILTY for some reason...I have talked to others who feel the same way).

Take care, my friend...and get the help. You will be amazed. Besides, no use surviving cancer just so that the rest of your life can suck! Get it done.

lgnicoll
Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2006

Joel, I share your frustration and the frustrations of others who fight the fight, win and then feel as if they have lost. I have been through treatment for Lung Surgery. A couple of weeks after the Dr.s told me I was now cancer free and should expect to live another 20 or 30 years, I started crying at any time for no reason or any reason. Nothing I read or shared prepared me for this. I have been treated for depression and anxiety for over 20 years and this did not feel like the same thing. Guess what? It is, just from a different cause. I have not had the problem of panic attacks like I did before, but that may be that I had already learned how to tell them to get lost. I don't know what the cause is, I am hoping that my new psychiatrist can help me with that, meanwhile I would settle for less tears. Cancer sufferers should be aware that sadness and/or depression will follow treatment and be prepared to seek and accept help. I wish you the best of all things. You have a condition so much more severe than mine and I admire you for what you have sought out and been through.

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