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19 year old HL survivor

TheMWord's picture
TheMWord
Posts: 23
Joined: Jun 2010

Hey there. My name's Melissa, and I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's (Stage IIB) last April. I've been in remission since December, when I finally finished radiation. I was in my second semester of freshman year, and still went to school during my treatments. I got through with almost no problems, with the exception of migraines, fatigue, and major weight gain. And yes, I still had a full blood count.

For any of you who are survivors, have you had severe depression post-chemo? I've been having a ton of cognitive issues, which has made school total hell, especially when I'm taking a summer math class. I struggled with depression prior to my diagnosis, but it seems to have come in massive swings. I also have been much more cranky and aggressive, and have been kind of reckless since I've had a clean bill of health. Can anyone relate? Is this just my age, or have any of you experienced this?

I still can't understand it, considering I had a great prognosis, no physical problems, or anything at all.

Newfoundcancer
Posts: 40
Joined: Jun 2010

Melissa anytime you put toxins in your body they will have long term effects.
Did you take R-Chop or just Chop? Fatique and weight gain is normal but migraines I
would check with a doctor. Having Cancer for me was mentaly devastating. From what I
learned recently is the treatments are not suposed to effect the brain. Or maybe there needs to be more study on the issue. I used to be an agressive person but since my discovery of
cancer I have been more giving and leared to take everything with a grain of salt. I would suggest a brain scan to make sure theres nothing wrong.

TheMWord's picture
TheMWord
Posts: 23
Joined: Jun 2010

I was on ABVD for my chemo, and my oncologist said the headaches were normal during my treatment. I am prone to sometimes getting dull headaches though when under stress.

She was kind of confused when I told her about the cognitive problems in school. She said it's unusual for people my age to have "chemo brain".

I'll look into the brain scans. I wanted one during treatment, but my doctor sort of blew it off when i asked, saying I didn't need it.

Newfoundcancer
Posts: 40
Joined: Jun 2010

I would suggest a second opinion. I have seen Doctors treat paitents like cattle.
This is your life and I would try to get a doctor your most comfortable with.

whatdoyousay
Posts: 15
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Melissa, my sister had NHL, then HL, followed by a bone marrow transplant, she is 33. She is totally cancer free!!! As I have watched her through this process, she has definitely suffered many cognitive issues, which are very frustrating for her. Some we are figuring out might be due to antibiotics, other meds as well as effects of chemo. So many of the meds you have to take do take a toll in so many ways. You are so young, and cancer isn't something that is easy for anyone. I know with my sister, if she so much as sneezes, we all wonder. I think it's very normal to be anxious, cranky, even depressed. I hope that your doctor will give you the scans that you need to ease your mind. Maybe meds for anxiety or depression would help too. I hope you find some peace in this. It is a hard road, I am glad you have found this website. I think it can really help too!

m-star's picture
m-star
Posts: 444
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Melissa

firstly,congrats on the remission! its a great feeling huh?!

It was a long time ago that i was ill, but i remember going through a " who gives a f*ck!" kinda attitude after i was given the all clear.Not exactly reckless,but like i didn't care what ppl thought of me or what i did as i realised life was short and all my life i had tried to please other people an not myself. I became quite selfish to a degree.

It was short lived but i still believe in doing things that please YOU and not living my life for other ppl's happiness. I got very low years AFTER my illness. I think it was when my daughter was about 2 or 3. I started with the "what ifs". This had a downward spiral effect and i had to see a psychologist in the onco department. I never got given councelling when i was ill and i should have.

My memory is going downhill and i'm not sure if that anything to do with the chemo from yrs ago. I am clumsy and just thought that was how i am! lol. Not sure if any of it is linked or not (for me) and i doubt the doc's would admit it anyway.

Hang in there anyway. See a councellor if need be.I had hynotherapy!

TheMWord's picture
TheMWord
Posts: 23
Joined: Jun 2010

I've been seeing a therapist, and am on medication for my depression and anxiety. I had blood work done that came back clear, and that really helped ease my worries.

I'm just taking it step by step, and since it really has been a recent thing, it'll probably take time for me to recover.

m-star's picture
m-star
Posts: 444
Joined: Apr 2010

if its any comfort,it toom me around 10 yrs to fully come to terms with everything and for the worst of my fears to subside.

I still get occasional blips when i go off on one! lol. i can convince myself i have cancer again from even just a head ache or a slight pain! But 98% of the time i'm fine. It does take take. Some people can 'get over' it and move on quickly. Others it takes longer. I am a natural worrier anyway so maybe this makes it worse.

Having kids brings it to the front of my mind again but as she gets older (nearly 13 now) my mind eases a bit.

Kepp seeing your therapist as i think it can really help. Not so sure about med's long term as im not one for relying on med's to sort my head out-i prefer to do it myself. They can be hard to get off or so i hear. Ok as a short term solution maybe.

If you ever want to chat just drop me a CSN email =)

m-star's picture
m-star
Posts: 444
Joined: Apr 2010

if its any comfort,it toom me around 10 yrs to fully come to terms with everything and for the worst of my fears to subside.

I still get occasional blips when i go off on one! lol. i can convince myself i have cancer again from even just a head ache or a slight pain! But 98% of the time i'm fine. It does take take. Some people can 'get over' it and move on quickly. Others it takes longer. I am a natural worrier anyway so maybe this makes it worse.

Having kids brings it to the front of my mind again but as she gets older (nearly 13 now) my mind eases a bit.

Kepp seeing your therapist as i think it can really help. Not so sure about med's long term as im not one for relying on med's to sort my head out-i prefer to do it myself. They can be hard to get off or so i hear. Ok as a short term solution maybe.

If you ever want to chat just drop me a CSN email =)

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