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Long-Term Psychological Effects

ktrain485
Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2007

So I feel kind of petty posting this when so many people are still actually dealing with cancer, but I was hoping some of you might be able to provide me with some insight on my situation.

I was diagnosed with ALL when I was 17 just before my Senior year of high school and I reacted well to the chemo treatments, all things considered. There was probably only one instance in the 2.5 years that I had treatment where I was close to death. However, my inability to deal with what was happening to me led to a very serious viocdin addiction, where at my worst I went through 120 pills in about 48 hours.

Long story short, I'm now cancer free for 2.5 years, and its been just over 5 years sine my initial diagnosis; I'm back in school and I have my life together for the first time in while.

The thing is, now I feel like I'm going through a midlife crisis of sorts. I keep thinking about an article I read shortly after I was diagnosed that said 60% of people with my type of cancer die within 5 years. My odds where never that bad, but I keep thinking about that article and also a young man I met in the hospital who was around my age and who died, even though his odds were really good to begin with, just like mine. I've been feeling like I need to do something great with my life to justify my survival, but I wouldn't really classify my feelings as survivor guilt, because I don't feel guilty about anything, its just that these past experiences have been motivating me a lot more than they have in the past. I've been trying all these new things, some small and some big, I quit my job even though they offered me more money and promotion, i just want to get out and experience things and try to make a mark in the world.

I never felt like this in the first 2.5 years after my treatment ended, and I'm just curious if anyone else has had a similar experience.

shmurciakova's picture
shmurciakova
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

I am sorry it took you almost a whole week to get a reply! I kinda know what you feel like. I was diagnosed with colon cancer when I was 31. I ended up having mets to my liver and one lung. Fortunately for me all of this was able to be removed and now I have been cancer free for 3 years. So my treatment went on for like 2 1/2 years and it has now been 3 years since then. Anyway, all these people always say you have to be grateful for each day and how every moment is precious, etc. I guess I feel that way, most of the time, but I still find things that aren't important creeping in and bothering me way too much. For example, there is a guy at work who has made it close to unbearable for me. I have finally decided that if I have to work with him again next year (my job is seasonal), then I will quit. I don't think it is worth it to stay in a job with a jerk. Life is too short...
I also know how you feel about wanting to do something important to make surviving worthwhile. I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately, but I haven't figured out what I am supposed to do with myself. I guess all you can do is try to do fun, exciting, and worthwhile things while you are fortunate enough to be healthy and able to do them.
Take care and best of luck to you,
Susan H.

Matty
Posts: 21
Joined: Aug 2008

I was treated for a brain tumor with surgery and radiation at age 4.I am cancer free but deal with cognitive late effects from radiation. I have to work harder then most at average things and get frustrateda at times.My mother suffered with a chronic illness(chrons desease) all her life.Two years ago she was diagnosed with lung cancer. She faught so hard to hold on to life. I wanted to give her a lung but my sisters said she has cancer and they won't give a cancer patient a transplant. My mother died in April 2008. It brings tears to my eyes when I write this. Prior to my mothers diagnosis my father was treated for prostate cancer. I am
quite thankful he made it. From all my great experiences I have no guilt anymore. I think I
had my share of bad times. I say just live life for you and have fun living.

hopefulone
Posts: 1048
Joined: Jan 2007

Make your mark. You'll figure it out. Your on the right path. Post your survival often. You'll give others hope. Giving someone else hope is a great accomplishment. God Bless and keep the faith.
Diane

davidsonxx's picture
davidsonxx
Posts: 137
Joined: Mar 2007

Part of what you are going through is pretty normal for your age. You spent most of your late teens thinking about survival and not thinking about the rest of your life. It takes a while after you finish treatment for some of us to really believe we have a future. It sounds like you have turned that corner and are now really thinking about your future. Don't put pressure on yourself to be something special because you survived cancer. You don't have to justify why you survived and another did not. Just live your life and appreciate the gift you have been given. That is all the justification you need.

becca12056
Posts: 10
Joined: May 2003

An experience like that definitely changes your life. I had Hodgkins Disease when I was 20....which was 31 years ago! I lived in fear for years constantly looking over my shoulder. I would hear of someone dying from the disease and it would send me into a depression. Finally I got over it. I've been married for 31 yrs. have two beautiful daughters......teach 5th graders and live a full life. Look forward and use your experiecne to appreciate life more. Good luck to you.

blueroses's picture
blueroses
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi, I am a cancer survivor since 1989. I find that the emotional aspects of dealing with cancer come and go over the years. Sometimes you go on and hardly think of it at all for along while and then up comes something to remind you and you are off reacting to that thought. If this is really concerning you you shouldn't hesitate to seek out professional help from a psychologist who deals with cancer survivors specifically. They truly understand the process. The one thing that helped me the most when I was first diagnosed was a support group who one evening mentioned that you have to understand that even though you might have a cancer that is labelled the same type as another person has, no two cancers are ever the same in disease or in the way it proceeds or doesn't in every individual. So in your case, you should never compare your cancer and how it left you with a person who supposedly had 'good odds'. There is alot to be discovered yet about how the disease proceeds differently in each person and comparing yourself to anyone else with it is pointless. After I heard that I stopped doing that and so from there I could go on to deal with my cancer in a more positive way. Don't let having cancer at one time be a life sentence by fearing that it will come back, living in fear is a sentence all to itself. You beat it, celebrate that.

blueroses's picture
blueroses
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

Your feeling that you have to now 'give back' is a very common feeling amongst cancer survivors so I have found. I suppose being close to death or at least with a disease that has the potential of killing does profoundly change people, or can. I really believe that if you have the instinct to be of service in your life, for whatever reason, you should run with that. Obviously you are being led to service and I hope you go that route, you don't sound as if you will be truly happy til you are in that field. If you look at your background of schooling and personal interests and gifts in talent you will see a picture emerge of where you should be working in order to be of the greatest service. Everything happens for a reason, I truly believe that.

Dreamdove's picture
Dreamdove
Posts: 175
Joined: Sep 2008

Ktrain, I don't think you are alone out there to feel this way. I'm going thru this also. On labor day I took a motorcycle ride with someone I don't even know all that well! I'm 52 and you would never have caught me even sitting on a motorcycle, let alone riding one. I'm starting to think about places I'd like to travel to. I saw the movie "The Bucket List" and I can relate. I am 15+ months cancer-free and it's only recently I'm starting to do this. Being single, I'm even scouting the dating websites! I wish I could quit my job. Why spend so much time doing tedious stuff all day? I moved into a more convenient apartment so it would free me up from spending so much time doing mundane housework. Now the laundry machines are right in my bathroom! When I see a sunny, warm day I can't wait to walk or bike. I'm trying to think of new hobbies. That's not easy.

droguitar
Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2009

I am coming up on 5 years cancer free (head & neck). Part of what you're describing i think is quite common among those who have come face to face with their own mortality. It certainly changes one's perspective. Many things I took for granted or never gave a thought to have become very important. The converse is also true. Things that previously held value for me suddenly become trivial and inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. I think you're right in saying that it is NOT guilt you're feeling but perhaps a new perspective on life; seeing through a new set of eyes, so to speak. Sometimes, that can be pretty scary. Here's my case in brief;
Having never seen the inside of a hospital in my life until I was diagnosed, the events that followed, including the radiation and chemo experience apparently affected my state of mind far more than i realized. As a result of the illness and all that goes with it, I lost just about everything; my business, the love of my life, my appearance went through some distinctive changes due to the concentration of radiation on my skull and my jaw in particular. I still wind up doing a double-take when I pass a mirror, not recognizing the person staring back at me. I lost all my teeth (particularly traumatic). I am a singer and I lost my voice in many respects. Still isn't nearly as strong as it used to be. I spent 3+ years with a feeding tube attached to my stomach pouring this nasty concoction down it for nourishment. It's only been in the last 6 months that I've been able to ease back in to solid food. Even now, I don't taste much of what I put in my mouth or it's a vague sensation. The funny thing for me is that all these life-altering events and more have only now begun to come crashing down on me, realising the trauma that actually took place nearly five years ago, it's residual effects lingering still. So, I am experiencing what amounts to "Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome" manifesting in deep depressive episodes over the last 6 months. All this time I was dealing with everything that's happened by NOT dealing with it.
You sound like you have a handle on your situation now. You're young and have alot to look forward to. I'M 54. While that isn't "old", it's old enough to run into some difficulty attempting tro "start over again". Hang in there.

blueroses's picture
blueroses
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

I can totally relate to the losses you suffered through cancer. I lost my marriage, health of course, and ability to go back to my line of work. There is indeed a high price to pay for cancer survivorship for sure, in many. Have you been diagnosed with PTSD? I am a firm believer that there are more cancer survivors with PTSD than is diagnosed. Closest I got was that I have 'aspects of PTSD' what the heck that means I don't know - I don't think they do either. lol. I believe I have been dealing with cancer by NOT dealing with it in a round about way myself so I know exactly what you mean. It was a coping mechanism for me though, too many after effects to think about so I compartmentalized different aspects of the illness (side effects mainly) but sooner or later those compartments are stacked too high and they can come crashing down. I see a counsellor when I think the boxes are tilting and usually I can get back on track but it isn't easy, on a daily basis. I too have many side effects, many under different headings on this thread, so I can hear your frustration and sick and tired of being sick and tired tone to your posting. I am about your age and the 'starting over' thing, I have given up on that - relationship wise I mean. Hey if I meet someone I do but I have too much on my plate right now just to keep me going - well kinda going. lol. Know that you aren't alone, if that is any help at all, and anytime you want to talk it out there are many on this board who will always lend an ear and more importantly, understand where you are coming from. Hope today finds you having a bit of a better day. Blessings, Blueroses.

blueroses's picture
blueroses
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi KTrain, This is something that you hear of now and again from cancer survivors. They get through all the trauma of the diagnosis and the treatments and are forced through necessity to focus on that first and then when a certain period of time is over and they are back to 'normal' lives physically they start to reflect on all that happened and develope this overwhelming need to give back. It happens all the time. Call it a call from God or something else but it is seen alot. If you are feeling that tug, listen to your gut and go out there and help where you can. Cancer, or any other life threatening situation, tends to refocus many of us to what is truly important in life and that is to give of ourselves to others and to love. The best of luck with your path, remember - follow your gut and you will land in the exact right place. I also suffer from what we call chemo brain, memory issues and the like and this posting is a good example of that since I already responded to you on this thread and didn't remember doing it til I was just about to leave the site, lol. Sheeesh. Oh well I think I brought up a new point in this response so I will leave it here. Sigh, how embarassing but telling, lol. Blessings, Blueroses.

tiny one
Posts: 467
Joined: Jan 2009

I had no idea after treatment is done how hard it was going to be. Some days the depression is to much to bear. Some days I feel so good. I do know that I am angry. Some say that cancer is a gift, I sure don't feel this way. I used to call all of this a journey, it's more like a nightmare you don't wake up from. I still have physical pain, even after 2 years. The mental pain is hard sometimes and I've had to get help for this. This is very common for survivors to feel this way. I feel like the Dr's operate and then that's it for them. Sometimes I feel shattered and hurt to my core. Some of the side effects can leave you feeling so bitter at what was done to you. I want to make the Dr's aware of how outraged I am at the side effects I now have.

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

I appreciate what you are going through, tiny one, but I cannot fathom how you are directing your anger at your doctors, the very people who did their best, I must assume, to save you, to cure you.

I think you say that you are obtaining help, and I hope that this includes therapy and some discussion about the focus of your anger (anger is normal, tiny one, and I know that).

I agree with you that cancer is not a gift. However, I understand where those people who say that are coming from, too. Someone recently posted in here (on another board), in fact, that it is an opportunity to examine one's life and to decide how one wants to carry on from this point forward. Most people, I have said, myself, do not recognize their mortality, while we have it slap us in the face.

What we do with that slap, that wake-up call, is up to us.

Best wishes for a long, healthy, and happy life.

Take care,

Joe

blueroses's picture
blueroses
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

Your anger at what the 'doctors have done to you' isn't an unrealistic feeling at all. I mean obviously, and you know this, they weren't responsible for the after effects of your treatments in any malicious way for sure but I know where you are coming from. Many survivors who have had negative side effects and have a reduced quality of living from them feel that they weren't fully informed of the possible side effects by the medical profession perhaps but other than that I have no answers as to why it can play out as it did for you and many others. Most probably the docs didn't realize what side effects could come out of the life saving procedures they were about to perform on a patient and even if they did and did tell us from the get-go would we have refused the treatments to save our lives? Hard to tell now that we have lived with some pretty horrendous side effects I know but my guess is we would have gone ahead anywho - maybe naively but at that point we were in a different frame of mind - we wanted to live.

No one should judge you Tiny One, you know how difficult it is for you to live with your after effects as I do with mine, and as I have said to you before sometimes we do need to talk to someone who knows how to deal with all the phases of dealing with loss of important things in our lives like loss of our health. Anger is one phase of that loss process and totally understandable but if you get trapped in that stage then you need to talk to someone to help you out of it. I did that and it helped for sure with other stages of loss.

Take care Tiny One. Blessings, Blueroses.

terato's picture
terato
Posts: 384
Joined: Apr 2002

Do I like being a skinny, sterile, balding, middle-aged dude with bowel problems? Hell, no! Do I appreciate the fact that cancer proved the catalyst for ending a marriage that wasn't working and getting "laid off" from a job that made me miserable? An enthusiastic, YES! "Cancer" gave me the courage to "boldly go where I have not been before", to fight for the employment rights of cancer patients, to travel to other countries, to pursue more education, and to change fields. Sure, I live alone, but, truthfully, I never feel lonely because I keep my mind active.

Cancer can be the crisis that inspires us to explore opportunities along that road on which we previously left untraveled.

Love and Courage!

Rick

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

All the regulars on this discussion board could sit on a couch for the rest of their lives. We have all earned the right to wallow in pain or self pity and let it run our lives. But most of us refuse to let cancer, doctors, side effects ect ruin our lives. Spending my time being mad at anyone is time wasted on something I can't change. I am about 10% of my former self before cancer. But I am going to use every bit of that 10% to enjoy life. For Joe its a ride in his car with his son. And spring is coming Joe. Terato has been an advocate for cancer patients and employment rights and what he has done since his cancer is more than many do in their whole life. Blueroses still wants her train ride across the country. We all hope tomorrow will be a better day. There are things we can't change and we have to learn coping skills to work around them. Being mad all the time or giving up is not an option. Fix what can be fixed so life is the best it can be. Continue counseling or find a local support group to work past the mental issues. We all have them but we all deal with them in different ways. And always remember that there are people here that care about you. We would not be here if we didn't care deeply about others. Hugs and prayers Slickwilly

24242
Posts: 1417
Joined: Mar 2001

Well Joe I can say this from my own experience.
I was told I was too healthy to have cancer though I was constantly getting sick and always tired at 35. As a matter of fact though I had family history no one would even look to see if it was cancer because I was far too young and far to healthy as well as being very well built for a woman of my age and less than 10% chance of inheriting the disease.
Well thank God I had been dating my partner for more than 4 years and finally decided I could die before I moved so I moved so we could be together. 6 months after moving I was so ill and now in pain that I couldn't go to work anymore and had to find a new doctor to boot. Not fun when in a crisis situation. Well to the doctors shock not mine, I was found to have stage 3 invasive cancer with 11 out of 21 positive nodes. Maybe had someone looked earlier I might not have found myself with stage 3 cancer and loosing both my breasts.
Maybe had someone listened to me like a doctor I might not have had to go through all I have and including trying to get treated for the side effects that I encured.
Now you want me to put my trust in these same people and be nothing but grateful for all they have done for me when it was my *****ing wining and moaning that finally got someone to take me seriously. It took 5 years to have my pain treated because no one believed I was in pain though there are 7 diseases I suffer with that directly contributed to the pain once again all one had to do was look and try.
Sorry I don't have the seem feelings as you and can venture to say there are many others out there have gone through the same or similar experiences.
Tara

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

It is hard not to be angry, I agree. I went to my family doctor for a purported sore throat for probably three months before the 'sore' on the tongue finally had him convinced to send me to the ER at the local hospital.

Do I blame him? No. Of course not. I told him I had a sore throat, he looked, he saw evidence of that, and that is what he treated. Should he have known I had cancer? Heck no. How could he? He doesn't have a CAT Scan machine in his office, he doesn't have a PET Scan machine in his office, he doesn't have an MRI machine in his office, he doesn't do biopsies, he is not trained to do biopsies.

Do I think he wanted to kill me? No. Do I think he is incompetent? He is still my doctor.

Is he responsible for my cancer? No.

Is your doctor responsible for yours?

Could your doctor have done something to PREVENT the cancer? I don't know. I am just asking.

I will agree that any doctor who says you are 'too healthy for cancer', as you indicated, probably needs a refresher course in cancer. It is difficult to believe that a medical professional would say such a thing, but there are, I grant, bozos out there.

Still, he or she could not have prevented your cancer, could they?

They might have found it earlier, they might have prevented the need for the removal of breasts, I will grant you that. On the other hand, it is possible that even in the earliest moments they might have suggested removing at least one, and maybe both, if you are, for example, a possessor of the BRCA1 gene.

As for putting your trust in these same people, if you don't trust 'these same people', find other ones, ones you can trust.

Please do not apologize for differing with me, Tara. We are entitled to our opinions, and we all know I express mine. You are entitled to yours, too. As a wonderfully candid lady expressed recently on these boards, if I didn't want opinions, I wouldn't post. I feel the same way.

In any event, I am hopeful that you are doing well, that these people you are so angry with have managed to save your life and give you hope for the future, with or without your formerly 'well-built' physique.

I hope, in fact, that as fellow survivors, we can be friends who agree to disagree on occasion, if such must be the case.

Take care,

Joe

JOJO1960
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2010

I was reading your message and really can relate with you i am a survivor of SCC and thyroid cancer of neck. I went through radiation and eribtux for 40 rad. and 8 bio med. I got from the radiation rotten teeth that i had to have two pulled under my cancer doctor that i should not of had and the dentist and oral surgeron i had to. i got problems in the bones in the neck also from radiation and am in pain constantly. I already had back probably. So now i have a series of problems in which i got disability for which i went in march and still haven't received my first check. lol lawyers you have to love them. only took me three years to get. i have been cancer free for two years. i am so freaked out antime i have something not go right or i get hoasrse again . i was spared the operation to the larynx and hope that it stays away. i had a uncle that had a voice box machine and i was always so scareed of him. i decided that long ago if i needed this operation i would be mute. Some days i feel fair. i think that removing the thyroid was a nother pain in the gazoo. now i have to take synthroid for ever i had cancer (papillary there) they said not to worry that this is a very slow mover well it had spread to a parathryroid lymph node. so i had to go through radioactive iodine for this which the stupid hospital messed up the first time and i had to wait and go through the process another time. When i was first diagnosed i was alone my husband was at car with grandbaby sleeping in car seat. think he could tell right away. i felt like i was an outcast especially when they took my picture at the cancer center and put my name on a register. I didn't want anyone to know but it surely got around with in a couple of weeks everyone i didn't want to know knew. I was lucky to have the husband and best friend that i had. They took very good care of me i lost about 70 pounds since i wouldn't take the tube. So far so good. It has been 3 years and my uncle lived for many years after that cancer free and an aunt i had with breast cancer had been alive now for 35 years without a reoccurrance. well take care and keep in touch. I take paxil and lorezapam seems to help some. JOJO

angelart
Posts: 7
Joined: May 2009

I just wanted to tell you that I really know where you are coming from, and that reading your post really helped me to understand that I'm not the only one feeling that way. I was diagnosed with a rare cancer at 11 that almost always comes back, which I've had to deal with 2 other times, this last year I had to do a year of chemo for it, and I've been cancer free for 6 months. I thought I was alright, but lately I've been having alot of anger issues and anxiety attacks, and lots of depression about death. I'm just hoping that talking to others in similar situations, and about different experiances with cancer that it will help me put things in perspective a bit better.

hodgkoid2003's picture
hodgkoid2003
Posts: 96
Joined: Apr 2009

Angelart,

The most important part of dealing with pscyhe effects, whether long-term, or short term, is being able to recognize that you are. And then the next step is to realize, that it is normal to feel that way. Anger and anxiety are completely normal and understanding when facing our battles with cancer, side effects, or even ignorance of bystanders. The depression, especially with thought about death (not necessarily suicide), it may be wise to bring this up to your onc as it could be a side effect from any one or more meds that you may be taking. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but to the professionals who may be more aware of side effects, they can only correct that problem if it is brought up to them.

Yeah, anger and anxiety I can totally relate to you. Not so much the depression anymore, but as an example of how trivial and unnoticed our moods/emotions can betray us, following heart surgery, I was put on a simple cholesterol drug (and popular too). Over a period of 11 months, my memory was failing, my cognitive skills were failing, and more importantly, I began raging (and over the simplest things). When I pleaded for help on another support list as to why this was happening, I got a suggestion, that perhaps it could be the drug. The TV commercials don't really publicize the mental stuff, and they don't have to as these side effects were not common enough during trials. But you know what, there are a lot of people who have suffered these side effects. I contacted my doctor about my decision to quit that drug, she OBJECTED, but within days, all those symptoms were gone. And though she denied the symptoms as drug-related, she knows me well enough, that she can't deny it now. So, she is currently looking for other alternatives for me.

But like I said, it is important that you let your doctor know your feelings, especially the drepression.

Paul E., (Hodgkoid2003)

blueroses's picture
blueroses
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

I'm so sorry to hear that your cancer has kept recurring in the past but try and not EXPECT it to reoccur each time. It has been 6 months now and celebrate that length of time, I know it isn't easy to not think that it will come back as it has before but that state of mind is not healthy. Try and reset yourself now that it has been 6 months, you will feel much better for doing that and even it comes back later on - which it may not - you will have had quality living time inbetween. Know what I mean?

You are wise to recognize that you need to get your true feelings out, especially to others who have been where you are in the cancer experience - in stages of anger and anxiety and depression - others around you who care about you can't really totally understand because they haven't been there themselves.

I have anxiety after my cancer treatments and many issues with any invasive tests or medical issues, claustrophobia now from all the machines I have been in and isolation during my bone marrow transplant years ago and have done the anger thing too but that has faded. It's normal to go through all the stages of grieving the loss of your health, anger, why me, denial, yada yada but the important thing is not to get stuck in any one of those stages for too long. You can revisit stages in grief for sure but again don't get stuck in one of the stages.

You will find great validation on these discussion boards from others who have been or are there right now but a good grief counsellor (make sure they are reputable and board certified though), or your pastor or other psychological counsellor might be a good plan as well - just to make sure you are on the right track. I check in with a psychologist once in awhile to make sure I am firing on all pistons after all the stressful situations I have been through with my cancer journey - nothing wrong with that at all.

Depression is a serious issue and one that people slough off and shouldn't. It is very easily corrected and can make your life so much better if it is diagnosed so that's the first thing you need to do, in my opinion, check with your family doctor and see if he/she can give you a referral. You will probably need to go to a psychiatrist though for the medical prescription if they find you do have depression but many just stick with their GP's who of course can prescribe as well.

Whatever you decide don't let depression get away from you, only you know how you feel and if you are finding you have lost interest in things you used to enjoy, are staying in bed all day for no apparent reason other than you feel there is no reason to get up and other warning signs of clinical depression.

Your feelings of anxiety and anger and depression are all normal but again, don't get stuck in any one of them too long - seek help. Blessings, Blueroses.

noah
Posts: 4
Joined: May 2009

Hi Angelart,

I'm sorry you keep having recurrences--that really sucks and I truly hope you are cancer free now. I had ewings sarcoma that didn't respond well to chemo, so I always have the thoughts in the back of my mind that I'm waiting for it to come back. I follow up every six months with my oncologist and every time, I feel more and more anxious leading up to my scans.

But mostly I try to just live the life I would if I hadn't had cancer. I think that doing "normal" things in my life helps to get me out of the constant anxiety ruts, and the more energy/thought I give to everything else, the less energy/thought I have to be anxious and depressed. I know its a catch 22, but try to break that cycle by getting out there and/or getting someone else to keep you busy.

scoffey
Posts: 14
Joined: Jun 2009

My son was seeing a psycologist for depression before he was dx'd with testicular CA. Thank goodness his self-esteem was up a little before. After he was dx'd with the Ca, he's 22 years, he was ashamed, embarresed and angry. My son is very quiet, and shy, he stays with me in HI, I'm the only one he's able to talk to freely, therefore I'm his sounding board, which wears my spirit down. I'm trying to stay up for him,we're very close. He was ashamed because he had to have 1 testicle removed, he's too embarresed, thinks he's less of a man, and he's angry, why me?. He then had a 2nd surgery to have a retroperitoneal lymph node removered. `He has no girl, and has been told he may be infertile. So I've used my money, which I was going to build a house with, to store semen for him. This has upset him because he knew what the money was supposed to be for> I let him know that this was a priority above a house, we live in a bus and he sleeps on the floor. He hasn't even started the treatment yet. He will be coming home today from 2nd surgery. I'm his mom and a nurse. How do you comfort your kids? How do you explain that it's not their fault? How do you protect/prepare them?

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

The bottomline to this particular posting to me is that everyone is going to handle the cancer journey differently but there are many similarities in what we experience psychologically and they all follow the stages of loss, some of those being denial, why me, anger etc. The key is always not to get stuck in one of those stages for too long and have it affect your life. At that point if it happens then seeking professional help to move you through the stages is what should really be done.

The second part of this bottomline to me is that because all of us handle cancer differently psychologically those on this site need to practise sensitivity when responding to others who are having difficult times getting through it all. Yup, we can all certainly have our own opinions and disagree with others in a compassionate and constructive way. Being harsh or judgemental helps no one and I think that's an important point to remember. One never knows what someone posting is truly going through and many can in fact be on the edge. A kind word, support and handling everyone gently to me is the least we can do on this site - we all go through a great deal at some point in our journey with cancer - survivors and caregivers alike.

That's my 2 cents for now.

Blessings to all,

Bluerose

24242
Posts: 1417
Joined: Mar 2001

Not so angry just trying to deal,

It isn't easy sometimes to accept the reality of world and I know that better every year I live. I hope it isn't hard to imagine that things haven't truly changed that much from that 14 year old fight with my Breast Cancer.
Like others doctors are more attached to the cure than they are at sometimes dealing with that same cures fall out. Have you ever read the small print that comes with each and every drug that was given. I did so I knew exactly what my chances of getting something were. Not many do as it turns out and there for don't really know till they are in the thick of it sometimes having to fight for answers or just to be heard.
All I hope for is a day when preconceived ideas are let go and the possibilites explored.
Down playing chances and plain old ignoring should be recognised by now as a problem that is allowed to continue. 14 years ago I promised myself that I would be voice for all the woman that had to suffer in silence and raise the alarm to all sorts of possibilities for the pain and the anguish that can be felt. For years it was often put to me that depression could cause the pain when in fact it truly works the other way around Pain causes depression.
QUALITY FOR OUR LIVES is my only wish and thank God I got to tell my story to doctors and policians because I truly felt like I was making a difference. Today I am stunned how quickly I reverted back to all those feelings I thought were long gone working on myself all these years. Fear also doesn amazing things to our souls.

Tara

tammy31269
Posts: 22
Joined: Jul 2010

hey im tammy sanders here in richmond,va. im now 41 im now 9years in remission and began my journey with this monster within called cancer. at age 30 got stage t3c colonrectal cancer with 2tumors and done25treatments of high beam radiation. 9months chemo fu-5 before and after operation.took 5 operations had 2 different colostomies/stomas.1st stoma went back inside me.2nd stoma is good now.lost my teeth at age34.now my long term effects from radiation bone loss in my lumbar spine bad.half of my disc are over half thinned out.now for the things i went through in all of the journey of my sickness i been wanting to give back to other poor new comers with colon cancer warn them to know what might happen or give advice on how to and my thought is writing my story what things i went through in all my test they gave me and all the struggles that i faced and what i did to over come them. at the cancer center i want to have little pamplets for advice on first timers in colon cancer worries.what to know when to know and the what ifs. what do you think if you want to talk im on cancer site for colon cancer mycrcconnections.com. read my page and ill see you there.

JPJC
Posts: 6
Joined: Feb 2010

I have Stage IV colon cancer and was diagnosed in September 2007. I am now in remission and may get my port removed soon. My children live hours away and my wife and I live out in the country on a small farm a few miles from a small town. I am 56 years old, retired, and on SS disability. I feel very isolated and depressed often, even though I have many chores to do. There are some days that my human contacts are pretty much limited to my wife and a few contacts at a store in town. I also talk to my daughter by phone frequently as well as some out-of-state siblings, but for the most part I spend too much time alone. In a small community like mine, there are not many groups to belong to. I attend church, but my wife does not and she has always been very shy and not social. I have frequent thoughts of maybe it would be easier if I were dead. I also worry extensively about my children and obsess about many other things. I have been seeing a psychologist and that has helped somewhat. In 2011, my goal is to be as active and engaged as possible. So far, this has not worked out and even though I have been a very outgoing, gregarious person most of my life, I find myself getting nervous and uncomfortable around people and imagining all kinds of "worst-case-scenarios." Help!

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

What you are describing sounds similar to what many survivors seem to go through and especially the part where you feel as if you have to do something great with your life afterwards. I don't think I have spoken to one survivor who hasn't said that in one way or another sooner or later.

It seems to be a built in part of the whole cancer journey for many - after they recover the best they can they start to feel as if they need to help others - and the feeling is very strong. I look at it like a natural 'giving back' instinct, we have been saved and now it's our turn to pay it forward so to speak. I can't describe it any other way for myself, to make sense of that feeling but to describe it that way.

I personally feel that when a person feels that strongly about making a mark in the world in a postive way they need to go with that flow. I don't know how spiritual you are but for me it's a clear message on what way I need to go and if I don't listen to that message I usually mess up pretty badly.

Go with your heart and know that the rewards are always yours when you do things for someone else. Just seems to work out that way.

All the best.

Blessings,

Bluerose

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