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Confused and Lost ...in my celebration of life.

LilTexLady's picture
LilTexLady
Posts: 16
Joined: Mar 2011

I'm new to the discussion board, but not to cancer. First diagnosed in Dec. 2009 and had surgery on the base of the tongue. Then a reoccurance in May 2010, which resulted in another surgery and radiation for 7 1/2 weeks. Both lesions (also HPV-16 positive) were luckily Stage I.

The reason for my post is that I am celebrating life, but not a healthy way, and can't seem to snap out of it. I was a hermit for 4 years after my divorce, rarely went out and packed on a lot of weight. Now, with 80 pounds down, and 10 sizes smaller, I am acting like a 20 yr. old again (currently 44) for the past three months. I'm out every weekend, drinking and smoking, while enjoying the night life. I'm truly having fun, but I know this isn't healthy for me.

The doctors have asked and stress the importance for me to quit smoking. I feel like I have a two images on each shoulder, one saying what I should do and the other saying what I shouldn't do. I don't know what results I will get from this post, but I'm truely lost to what I am feeling right now, and not many can relate to my situation in life and would like to hear responses from people that have actually been through what I have been through.

I can take brutal honesty, too!

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5881
Joined: Apr 2009

I can’t say the night life is a good thing but I am glad to see you are pulling out of you depression which is a worse thing.

What every way you choice to go the choice is up to you, I just hope and pray that you stay here on CSN and become part of the family here on helping other survivors through there cancer as I am sure you have a lot to offer.

God bless and be with you
Hondo

LilTexLady's picture
LilTexLady
Posts: 16
Joined: Mar 2011

My psychiatrist is happy that I'm finally out and about, socializing again, but she also emphasizes on the quit smoking issue. I concurred cancer with a positive attitude all the way through it and held an optimistic view. I know it's possible to go out and enjoy life, without smoking and drinking, but I seem to be going through some phase in my life as a rebel.

fisrpotpe's picture
fisrpotpe
Posts: 1343
Joined: Aug 2010

your making the wrong choice, but it is your choice. you will not like where you will end up

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

Why are you in self destruct mode? Maybe you need to take a good long look at this question. Maybe you need to channel your anger? loss? grief? I don't know what it is, in a healthier way. It sounds to me like you are still depressed.

I too divorced my ex almost 3.5 yrs ago after I found out he cheated on me. I did start smoking cigarettes again a few 3-4 a day, which was stupid. I didn't go out and drink in excess though. I did have a fling with a 29 year old. (I was almost 41) People were saying that was my mid life crises. I don't think I was though. I didn't look my age, (people often thought I was 5-8 years younger) and he looked older.

I sometimes go out and dance, have one or two drinks about 2-3 times a year, but I won't smoke. I have channeled my energy into putting foods in my body that are healthier. Heavy on fruit, veg, and whole grains. I'm not going to drink a lot of alcohol and I'm certainly not going to smoke.

I enjoy belly dancing, yoga and dancing to blow off steam. I try hard to make better decisions than in the past. When I feel myself getting depressed, I try and focus on others rather than myself. Trying to help others that are fighting cancer, making donations of time, money, or myself to people who need it. Doing those things make me realize I should count my blessings every day because I could always have it worse. I am not back to normal yet, or where I should be. I'm still fighting some demons, but I am doing better, a little at a time.

I hope you will make better decisions and choose not to smoke and drink. We know for sure these things are not good for you.

Be well.

Blessings,

Sweetblood

LilTexLady's picture
LilTexLady
Posts: 16
Joined: Mar 2011

Your first sentance is exactly what I am doing, and I don't understand it either. I did quit smoking during radiation treatment, but started back up after losing my job (a month after radiation). I realized at that time of quitting that I can jump a lot of hurdles that prevented me being a quitter earlier. I'm having a hard time finding that motivation again. I'm an intelligent person, but I admit I'm stupid when it comes to smoking. I guess I need a harsh dose of reality.

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8099
Joined: Sep 2009

You have had a harsh dose of reality when you were first diagnosed and treated for cancer. This gave you the opportunity for a new dose of reality. The new reality of having added years to your life.

If you chose not to use that knowledge, experience and opportunity to continue your success with the best possible outcome and longevity. You are not only depriving yourself, you are depriving others that love and care about you.

Strive to make better choices for you and the ones in your life.

Thoughts and Prayers,
John

rozaroo
Posts: 667
Joined: Apr 2010

I truly believe you answered your own question! You recognize what you are doing is not a healthy choice so that in itself is a big first step. Focus on your new body that you worked
so hard for. Working out is a great way to channel energy & to meet people. The big plus is you have so many option's & you can have more fun doing it the healthy way. I love beer found a great alcohol free one! Smoking is a tough habit to quit & I never did smoke so I hate to preach on something I know nothing about. My hubby quit three times & now finally kicked it! I never allowed it in my house but I still never complained about it. I just think of the smell it leaves on hair & clothing. better to spend it on a nice bottle of perfume lol! You can do it & I believe you are ready. Find a better alternative that is fun & healthy.
God Bless
Roz

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

I guess beyond the tongue/neck chop (and the insistence by docs that they would not operate if I did not quit both of the activities you describe) was the notion that the people who made it easy for me to smoke, in particular, and also, to some extent, to drink, were not smokers, not drinkers. They were on their yachts enjoying the sun and the sea while someone was cutting on various parts of my body (eventually twice and really three times).

I decided I could no longer support THEIR habits.

More to the point, you seem to be clearly in a state of depression, as some others have suggested. Even MORE to the point, I recognize from what you describe the same sort of entitlement I felt after my second dx: You can't take my birthday.

That sort of thing.

I drove, for example, so fast and so dangerously that even my own son tried to dodge rides with me. Entitlement and depression are dangerous, to be sure.

I would, personally, advise that you sit back and ask yourself what it is, exactly, that you want from this new lease on life, which it is, to some great degree. If they told you that you could die or live, what would you want to do with the life given back to you?

I am not condemning your behavior by the way: as I said, I went through a period where I had this enormous sense of entitlement. I am not judging.

For your own well-being, please step back and consider: after all that I have been through, was it for this?

Take care,

Joe

Scambuster's picture
Scambuster
Posts: 975
Joined: Nov 2009

While we are not shrinks here, we have all mostly had to deal with various very difficult times and situations - including severe depression, which can manifest in many ways. This may be one of the ways it is affecting you.

Self esteem can play a big part in this also. I would suggest you start some affirmations and work them hard. Working on self love, forgiveness, and health and happiness. They can really help 're-wire' some of the thought processes and havce a profound effect on your life.

The bad things you are doing like smoking and drink are stacking the deck against you big time. As someone already said, you have your loved ones who care about you and whom you are letting down by not trying to look after yourself. I am not sure how you would react if your had another recurrence, but I dread the prospect and as such I am doing everything possible to make sure that doesn't happen.

Hope you start a new phase and look after yourself. It's worth it and you are worth it.

Scambuster

pascotty's picture
pascotty
Posts: 166
Joined: Aug 2010

Hi lady. I too gave up during treatment for stage lll tonsil cancer and started smoking again. I had so much guilt that my stomach churned every time I smoked. How could I go through all that barbaric treatment and continue to smoke. It was doing my head in. I was juicing doing vitamins eating healthy and then sucking in nicotine. What a joke I am. My family would say nothing but they were greiving for me. I used the excuse that it could be hpv ( not tested to confirm) but it gave me an excuse. Then I wanted to find people who were diagnosed that didn't smoke cause that convinced me more that it wasn't smoking that caused it. I am now angry at myself because I gave myself cancer and i was in denial of that. Whether it was a sexually transmitted hpv cancer or smoking or drinking cancer. I did all three and I regret that. I've been married 23 years faithfully and my husband would be lost without me. Of course life would go on for him but I want to give it my best shot. I HAVE given up smoking and I will never smoke again. It did it's damage. I serious don't want to lose my tongue. I would never judge you and I admire your honesty. I send you strength and hope that you grab on to the desire to live life the way YOU want to xxxxx

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8099
Joined: Sep 2009

You don't need to feel guilt, it is what it is. There is absolutley 100% no certainty that your prediagnosed behavior was the cause of your cancer.

It could have been very easily something that you had absolutely no control of or over.

Yes, what you now do and how you now live can play a part in possible prevention, or at minimal exposure. But even that offers no guarantees....

Best,
John

Greg53's picture
Greg53
Posts: 830
Joined: Apr 2010

Hey Texlady,

No judgement from me, but I will have to side with two of my favorite ladies on this site, Roz and Sweet. As Roz said you did the hardest part - you identified that there is an issue. Now it's just taking those steps to fix it if you think it's not the right thing to be doing. And I'd definitely have to agree with Sweet that this sure sounds like a self-destructive mode you're in. Another good thing - again, you're asking for opinions, so that's a step in the right direction. Having said that, you gotta do what is right for you, but if you are questioning this lifestyle......are you really happy with it???

Just my 2 cents worth.

No matter, hope you continue posting and everything becomes clearer to you on how you want to live the rest of your life.

Positive thoughts!

Greg

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

Lots of good advice here from people who have been in some dark places. There was a point that I was so sick that I just gave up. I just didn't care anymore and I felt like I had nothing to live for anymore. I wasn't doing anything, I wasn't trying. I wasn't fighting. I may not have been partying, drinking and smoking but not trying to eat or fight at 87 lbs, I wouldn't have lasted very long.

I snapped out of it when my dog crawled up on me and pressed his face to mine until I gave him kisses. My visiting friend took a picture and when I saw my dogs face and how he looks at me and that he needed me, and that no one was going to spoil him the way I do, I snapped out of it.

Getting through treatment is pretty grueling. You made it through and you have another opportunity and another shot at life. Make the best of it. Don't waste the opportunity. I hope you will talk to your psychiatrist and get real and get honest and talk to him or her about why you are doing this.

I have to say, I thought about your post all night and it bothered me. Just hope you be well, and live better. No judgement here either. I have been there too.

LilTexLady's picture
LilTexLady
Posts: 16
Joined: Mar 2011

Thank you all for the wonderful words and advice. I feel this is a phase I'm going through. I need to figure out what the underlying issue(s)is/are and get back in control. As mentioned earlier, I am working out and eating healthy, as it does seem foolish of me to be counter-productive by smoking and drinking. I'm going to work on it, since I have a follow up appointment with the oncologist in May and would like to tell her that I finally quit. Thank you all again, I really wish I found this forum earlier during my dx and recovery.

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8099
Joined: Sep 2009

I'm sure that everyone here is pulling for you and wish nothing but the very best for you.

Myself and like the others mentioned, in no way am I (or we) judging you, your habits or decisions....those are yours like ours. We all make them, some good, some not, we all live with them.

None of us here are without some vice or pleasure that we indulge in. That's what makes us all different and individual.

Learning from mistakes and growing from them....admitting that you have them, and working toward controlling them...that's what it's all about (in my opinion)....

Best,
John

fisrpotpe's picture
fisrpotpe
Posts: 1343
Joined: Aug 2010

Ditto with what John posted today, he could not have said it any better. We will continue to support you with your daily battles with survivorship. Congrats on being a survivor!

John

LilTexLady's picture
LilTexLady
Posts: 16
Joined: Mar 2011

Just an update, I have taken the reins and getting control of my emotional and negative reaction to the cancer stuff. I am offically off my depression medications, which while I wrote this was coming off the dosages week by week, and that alone can cause a flooding of emotions. I feel I am in a good place right now, emotionally and physically, and seeing things in a new light. Thank you all again, for helping me to wake up!

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

I was looking for another thread the other day and came across yours, and wondered how you were doing. Glad that you are getting back on track.

Be good to yourself,

Sweet

Irishgypsie's picture
Irishgypsie
Posts: 331
Joined: May 2010

So happy to hear you are doing better! :)

Charles

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8099
Joined: Sep 2009

We have faith, that you will find the strength that you need and when you need it....strive to overcome, with realizations that sometimes it's two steps forward and one back...eventually, you'll be running forward.

Best,
John

Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1747
Joined: Nov 2009

I got a hunch just about every one us is is saying "Ditto" to John's post for you, TexLady.

Believe

kcass

rozaroo
Posts: 667
Joined: Apr 2010

John said it correctly! I am happy to hear you are doing well. It just takes time to absorb & get over the shock of it all!
All my best
Roz

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