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New to this site. Questions on Anger, etc.

npl8261
Posts: 33
Joined: Jun 2009

I was diagnosed in Feb.09 with Stage 3C Endometrial Cancer at age 42 and underwent a Radical Hysterectomy. I have undergone 5 rounds of Chemo with one left and will start Radiation sometime in August. I was also underwent Genetic Testing and tested positive for the Lynch Syndrome. For a while now I have been very angry. I tend to take it out most on my immediate family (husband and children). I really can't get to a point where I can be positive about anything. Between the surgery, the chemo, the weight gain, side effects, I feel gross and look gross and am avoiding going places that I may run into people that I know. I want to change my attitude and be more positive but I don't know how to do it. Can anyone give me some advice of what worked for them and if what I am going through is normal.
Thank you

nursey420's picture
nursey420
Posts: 53
Joined: Mar 2009

Cancer is hard to deal with. Having surgery can cause the baby blues just like having a baby your homones are changing. Side effects and being tired all the time do not help. Just talk to your husband i am sure he will undertand and maybe he can help a bit more for awhile. Good Luck to does get better. I am stage 2b had radical hysterecomy in Feb 09 and went thru 25 IMRT external radiation and 4 HDR internal. Just starting to get back to my new "normal" cause nothing is like it was. This site is very helpful and feel free to vent to us. We Understand
Lisa

pjba
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2008

So very sorry to hear you are on this site joining us sisters for the fight of your life for your life........Is there a normal for 'us'? We all deal with cancer a different way, and we all deal with cancer many ways the same. Don't 'beat yourself up' by the way you are reacting to the new challenges your facing. You don't deserve adding guilt to what you have going on. Be your own best friend. Let your family know that sometimes it feels like you are on the 'outside looking in' and are having a hard time with these new changes. Ask them for support and ask them to try to think of new ideas that can help all of you. They more than likely are feeling very unsettled also. It may not seem like it now, but this does get easier. Just look at how far you have come with 5 of the treatments behind you. FIVE is A LOT. You have been through most of what I considered the worst part... chemo. The radiation seemed much easier and less of a turmoil physically and emotionally. I remember looking in the mirror seeing my hair, eyebrows, and lashes GONE....the round steroid face....... and thinking that I looked like a FAT reptile. Where was my 108 pound figure... Now 173 pounds!!?? Then I realized I was ALIVE!! I had to stop and think.... Many women my age did'nt look any better (other than they had real hair!) and guess what... they hadn't even had to deal with cancer. So please try to take smaller steps and know that time will help get you calmer and more in control of your life again. Your family loves you. Come to this site and vent as often as you need to....we really do understand. Who knows, right now some of us may understand you more than you understand yourself .... so many of us have been there!! My prayers are for you.

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

You are in the hardest part of the chemo, when it really begins to take its toll on your bone marrow and every day you just never feel 'right', and the face in the mirror LOOKS sick and screams 'cancer' back at you. (((BIG HUGS))). Hang in there; you're almost done with the worst of this. I remember how many days I stayed in my pajamas and robe all day, not because I was terrible sick, but because I had no reason to get dressed.

What made me feel better, shallow as this makes me sounds, was when I made the effort (which I admit wasn't often during that period) and drew on eyebrows and put smokey shadow in a fine line all around my lashless eyes, brightened my cheeks with blush and popped on my wig. I could see how relieved my husband and children were to see me looking better, and somehow that lifted the whole mood of the house. I couldn't make myself do it all the time, but that did help. The worst is over now. You can do this last stretch. After you get the last chemo in, then you have the excitement of your brows and lashes and hair coming back, and believe me, THAT will give you a tremendous lift!! And if you're like me, you'll drop quite a few pounds over radiation and that is uplifting also. You're almost there. Just hang in.

I also lost myself in some good books during those couple of rough months, and spent many hours curled up reading. As precious as every hour is when you have cancer, by my 5th round of chemo I wanted this treatment ordeal to be OVER, and wanted to escape my real world awhile, and reading helped me do that.

npl8261
Posts: 33
Joined: Jun 2009

Thank you very much for your words of support. Only those going through it can truly appreciate the mixture of emotions. I find it difficult to speak with anyone about all my feelings because I know they don't understand them completely. I do hope that once my chemo ends and my hair starts coming back I will have a better outlook. I also worry a lot about an upcoming Colonoscopy that I need to have before my radiation starts. I need this because of the Lynch Syndrome and the high risk I am at developing Colon Cancer, my risk is about 82%.
As for reading books, I am having a very hard time focusing and concentrating. I believe it is because of the effects of Chemo, known as "Chemo Brain". And yes, you are right, at this point in my treatment I just don't feel all that good. Some days I have aches and that makes me want to do nothing. If someone asked me before getting diagnosed with cancer how I would handle it I would have said that I would be strong, make it a point to exercise daily, have acupuncture, and most important, be mentally fit and strong. However, I am barely doing any of these things.

Again, thank you. It means a lot more to me to hear from others with cancer than it does from someone with very little knowledge.

Npl8261

livenow09's picture
livenow09
Posts: 63
Joined: Apr 2009

Aloha npl8261

I'm very familiar with anger....after 8 cycles of Carbo/Taxol, I was tired, wrung out and in pain (neuropathy) I was really scared that this was all that was left of my life; I was angry that despite asking all the right questions...no one was really willing to tell me the truth...they don't really know how an individual will react to this devastating treatment; I recognized after lots of wasted effort that the real issue was GRIEF; I was grieving the loss of my "innocence", my cloak of invincibility had been torn to shreds; I was alive but my life as I knew it was gone; 7 month post chemo I can tell you that I'm finally turning a corner; it's not my old life but in some respects it's a better one; Anger is a stage of the grieving process; stop beating yourself up because you lack the stamina to be a good trouper; rest, be at peace; the world will just have to wait until you can pull your own weight; THIS TIME IS ABOUT YOU AND ONLY YOU; ANY DAY YOU GET OUT OF BED AND WASH YOUR FACE IS A RESOUNDING SUCCESS...

Marie

write some affirmations on your bathroom mirror; across the top of my mirror I wrote "the cancer is gone" after my surgery; when my CA 125 hit 37 after three cycles of chemo I added the word REALLY above "the gone"

deanna14
Posts: 738
Joined: Oct 2008

I would like to echo everything that Peggy said. Starting with... you vent here all you need to, that is what we are here for. Who else could understand your feelings better than other ladies who have been in your shoes.
I would like to add that you are not weak if you talk to your doctor about this and get some medicine for anxiety. Maybe just for a while, to get the this bump you are going over. At the cancer center that I go to, there are counselors that you can go and talk to. It is a free service and that is what they are there for. Maybe you could check into that where you go. And this board has helped me through some really tough days... just being able to vent and get my negative thoughts out in the open without burdening my family with them. Besides, everyone here has had the same feelings at some time or another on this journey.
I know it is difficult, but try not to take your anger out on your kids. Remember they are kids and no doubt, they are probably already having some emotional trauma from their mom being sick. Now, your husband is your partner and I am sure he will travel this road with you through thick and thin. Trying to help you through whatever emotions you are feeling. Remember that he is dealing with the fear of losing his wife and the mother of his children. Let him in... share your feelings of anger with him and let him share his feelings with you. In sickness and in health.... you would do the same for him.
I also relate the feelings you have about your body. When my journey all started, I have recently lost about 40 pounds, I had been working out and I was fitting in some cool clothes. I had a new haircut that my husband told me made me look 10 years younger. I was feeling very good about my appearance for the first time in a long time. Then bam... all of this started and about a year later, I have gained the weight back. My hair and eyelashes are coming out for the second time, due to a long delay before I could get my 6th and final chemo. Not feeling great about my appearance either! But Jesus loves me, my husband loves me, all of my family and friends love me AND... I am alive! Oh and btw, I also tested positive for Lynch Syndrome. I may look gross, but I am still the same person that all of these people love! You have one more treatment and all of that superficial stuff will start to improve. And you will no doubt come out a stronger, more compassionate person on the other side.
So... yes, you are sooooo normal. Everything you are feeling is normal and expected. I have to make myself get out of bed everyday and make a conscious decision to not be angry, scared and paralyzed by this monster. I intentionally get up and decide to have a good day, or try to. It doesn't always work and that is okay. We all have our bad days. Just don't let them outweigh the good ones. Your kids need you to teach them to deal with adversity with grace and determination. And that it is okay to be sad and cry sometimes. You can do this! You are so strong... you already made it through 5 chemo treatments. You are almost done with the hard treatment. You will breezed through radiation! Be strong! My thoughts and prayers are with you. Big hugs of strength headed your way from Missouri...
Love in Christ,
Deanna

kkstef's picture
kkstef
Posts: 706
Joined: May 2008

I am so sorry to hear about your journey with Cancer.....that is not a road any of us chose, but it is what it is! I well remember being angry, hated not having hair and felt that my entire being had been assaulted. However, anger can take a lot of energy and drive our loved ones away, so I tried very hard to get up each day and try to make the best of it. I was sooo happy that I was alive! It will get better and in fact, you have the worst of it behind you! You CAN do this!

It is true that others who have not walked in your shoes don't really understand what you are experiencing. This is a safe place to vent. I also think it would be very helpful if you let your physician know how you are feeling and also ask to see the social worker where you are getting your treatments. An outside professional can be very helpful in helping you deal with all of your emotions....

Please know we are all here for you! Hang in there....this will get better!

Karen

Songflower's picture
Songflower
Posts: 632
Joined: Apr 2009

You are coping with so much and It is all overwhelming. Your feelings are your feelings. I went to a therapist when I had breast cancer ten years ago and she really helped me. I agree ativan or a similar tranquilizer may be helpful. they can take the edge off the terrible anxiety and ativan is very safe while in treatment. Taxol has been known to make women depressed and I think we can all verify that! We can't be strong every day; even Randy Pausch cried in the shower.

Right after chemo I feel like I turn into a couch potatoe. WE ordered netflicks and watch calming documentaries in the evening: Wild China, Galpagos, nature shows and get great relief from the stress of cancer. When I feel better I try to fix up; the blush, some eye color and my comfy wig (believe me I did find one and after last time I went for it). I thought I would be braver every day if it came back but now I have a new cancer and I too get discourged with my attitude. I don't like to be around some people with their perfect lives; I try to surround myself with caring, positive people. Unfortunately not every one is kind or supportive. None of us know when our lives are going to change suddenly. I've learned to become part of the cancer community. With a wink in our eye we know the hardships we share. And yet I have learned to take breaks from cancer and give my family breaks from cancer too.

I'd start with a good therapist. You have already come a long way. I remember a friend of mine use to stare in the mirror and think, "my god, there's a little old bald man staring back at me." Sometimes I take it as a challenge just to see how good I can make myself look. If I gained weight I get something cute in a bigger size. It's OK. It can be taken in later. When I was alone in the hot summer I would take a shower and dry my bald wet head under the ceiling fan. It sizzled and was my own private pleasure. I know it sounds ridiculous but on a hot day it worked for me. Plan something special for the kids, something easy. Get a tea cup and write down something happy or that you are thank ful for. Write something funny down. Share your tea cups. But most of all, don't be so hard on yourself.

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

I'll give my two cents. I have UPSC - stage 3a - sudden onset, no symptoms. I was a healthy vibrant 61 year old before 9/11/08 when I was hospitalized with intractable pain - I had surgery and chemo and now I'm NED - still wondering about my future. I can relate to all the emotions - shock, fear, anger, worry, frustration, etc.

On the days I stayed home from work, I was very anxious and cried alot about the uncertainty of my situation.

I recommend staying busy and distracted from being a "cancer patient". We are much more than cancer patients. We can't allow ourselves to be swallowed up by this. I even reject the "cancer survivor" moniker. I chose to be a cancer "thriver".

From the beginning, I stayed active in my choral group (sang concerts days after getting my port and having chemo). I returned to work part time as soon as I could. I worked throughout my chemo and didn't know any better that most people DON'T do this.

I'm not sharing this to get any badge of courage or anything. But that it really helped me to get back to normal activities which distracted me from all the cancer stuff.

It's OK to be angry and process that anger, but we can also chose not to be angry and to get busy doing other things. I hope this doesn't sound too harsh.

Mary Ann

Deblittleton's picture
Deblittleton
Posts: 56
Joined: Feb 2009

When I was diagnosed in Jan. I could not believe it. Being a nurse, I was blindsided. I am the strongest, most active, never sick, 56 yr old I know. The hardest part in the beginning, was telling my daughter (she's in her 30's) I put this off for awhile. Once I told her, she was so calm and soothing. I couldn't believe it. I wonder who she takes after!
What I found helpful was a book I gave to my husband. (I read it first.) They think they are doing the right thing, but they just don't get it. It's titled "How Can I Help" written by Monique Doyle Spencer. She gives suggestions to others about what to do, how to do it, etc. It is written for caregivers, family, best friends, friends that you never even thought would be there for you.
I gave this book to my husband and he was a new more understanding man. Which made my life easier. It made me feel less depressed. Granted I gave it to him to read it again when I felt he needed it.
We all feel and act so differently. You can get throught this! You are strong to have gone through 5 chemo treatments. The worst is over. Radiation will be a breeze. At least that is what I am finding out.
Now that the children are out of school or daycare and it must be difficult to carry on at times. Take advantage of others offerings ie. taking the kids, offering to cook for your family, or just a shoulder to cry on.
Like the others said, talking to an oncologist therapist is a wonderful idea. I made my husband come with me. She pointed out things to him that I never would have thought of.
If all else fails...better living throught chemistry...antidepressants can help, alot. I find it helps me focus on the important things in life and not dwell on things I can not change. Others tell me, I am the old happy Debbie.

Good Luck, you are in my prayers.

bonniesue
Posts: 126
Joined: Apr 2009

thanks for the book recommendation and sharing as I am heading out to get this for my father who needs lots of help in this department for my mother. she has always been the most thoughtful positive person who also had no symptoms and was working when this dx blindsighted us all(she did have lots of fatigue for a year prior to the diagnosis). My father has been dissappointingly nonsupportive so I am hoping this book(rather than a swift kick in the behind) will give him some compassion. she also has tolerated radiation and brachytherapy wonderfully. Has complained of some one sided groin pain recently so they recommended a MRI if it does not go away. thanks again.

deanna14
Posts: 738
Joined: Oct 2008

Now I am wondering if I should insist on an MRI for the groin pain?!

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

If it's lasted 2 weeks probably YES. But wouldn't your PET/CT have picked this up?

Mary Ann

DorothyA
Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2009

Thank you to ever one of you who have written an entry here. I feel less alone reading about all of you. I'm just going to have the second of 8 chemo treatments spaced 2 weeks apart. I really screwed up on my nausea meds.. stopped taking them too soon and suffered nausea for days on end, and was just completely miserable. It is finally gone but I go back in 2 days for treatment 2. I'm so afraid the same things will happen..

The other problem I 'm having is port catherter tube discomfort. I feel strangled by the tube going up me neck. I'm sorry to sound negative but I guess I am just sinking here spiritwise.

Ro10's picture
Ro10
Posts: 1484
Joined: Jan 2009

Let your doctor know before you get your next chemo that you were so nauseated. They may want you to do different pre-medication before you go for you chemo. My onocologist in Illinois pre-treated me differently than the onocologist did in Florida. I took pills at home the night before chemo and the morning of chemo. I fortunatly never had any nausea from the chemo, but did from the radiation.
Maybe your catheter tube could be taped differently. The nurses can experiment with different ways to tape it to make you feel more comfortable. Tomorrow I am having a port implanted under the skin so I won't have the catheter connected except when I get treatment. Hang in there, but communicate your concerns to your healthcare providers, so they can help you find solutions that are comfortable for you. HUGS to you.

deanna14
Posts: 738
Joined: Oct 2008

I have had the groin discomfort off and on since the hysteroscope, D&C that I had last July. That of course was prior to my hyst. I've mentioned it to the doctor, he tells me to walk and build up my muscles! I think, yes the PET/CT would have picked up if something was wrong. I'm just curious why they recommended MRI for this other lady with groin pain. You know how this all makes you paranoid, like the docs not doing the right tests or telling you everything you need to know.

bonniesue
Posts: 126
Joined: Apr 2009

I am not sure why they recommended an MRI with gadolinium as she had a Pet-CT done post surgically. She has an appt with the gyne onc in a couple of weeks so going to ask him about it. It does seem like there are lots of differring opinions which makes it sooo confusing. I wonder if a lot of patients have this kind of pain after surgery? Her gyne onc also recommended nothing other than pap tests and chest xrays unless symptomatic initially.

bonniesue
Posts: 126
Joined: Apr 2009

Thanks for the book referral. I went straight to Borders and they ordered it. I found this book so helpful in so many ways.

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