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After the operations and treatments... what about...

AncientTiger's picture
AncientTiger
Posts: 130
Joined: Mar 2011

Without going into a big story, suffice it to say that I've spent 5 weeks in the hospital, have had 8 or 9 (I loose count) operations and "procedures" since January of last year, took chemo every other week for 6 months, and am now working on FINALLY getting over my (hopefully) LAST operation, which was hernia repair back in the middle of January of this year. It's been a HELLUVA long road for this hillbilly, but not as long as others have survived.

Now I'm sitting here, back to work and fairly active again, dealing with some minor pain from the residuals of my hernia and still a little fatigued, but otherwise fully "back in the saddle again". Except..... Now I'm a little concerned about some POST-cancer aspects.

Like most, I had my "wild oats" period after high school and during college. Drinking on weekends was one of my favorite past times, but after I started working in law enforcement, and after I got married, I practically "dried up" to nearly a tea totler. I would have the occasional beer, or glass of wine, but could count on one hand how many times in the past 15 years I had a genuine "happy thought" while drinking.

I find now, however, that more and more, when I have time off and nothing to do and nowhere to go, I enjoy cracking the top on a bottle of whiskey and getting a good "happy thought" going. I don't drink every day, and I don't "crave" it as if I'm thirsty for it, so I don't really think I'm on the path to anything so drastic as alcoholism, but looking back on my lifestyle PRE-cancer and my new "near-normal" lifestyle, I'm seeing this "new me" and it's making me a little nervous. I know that there's nothing wrong with the occasional drink, but is this going to develop into a problem?

And, knowing that I'm talking to a WEALTH of experience here in this sanctuary on the web, I'm wondering if anyone else has faced this, and what YOUR experience is. Is this normal for folks who have "walked through the valley of the shadow of death"? Should I be worried about myself?

Just curious if anyone out there has already walked down this path and has any wisdom to share....

Buzzard's picture
Buzzard
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

with another right behind you............no, put it down, and leave it down.....the first sign of a problem arising...is self recognition, or it may be that you are trying to rationalize the occasional sip....if you feel it will become an issue then most likely it will.......I say nip it in the bud, right now...... :) .....find another "happytime", they are standing all around you....... peace bud.........buzz

ron50's picture
ron50
Posts: 1267
Joined: Nov 2001

I can honestly say that I have not been on the right side of life for close to twenty five years. I quite freely admit that the probable reason that I survived ca is that I did not give two hoots if I did or not. At any time in those 25 years it would not have surprised friends or family if I had crawled inside a bottle and pulled the cork in after me. But I didn't,wanted to ,but I didn't. Got too much pride. Have this moral hang up about doing the right thing,being a good example ,all that sort of stuff. Doesn't make me happy,rich or famous but at least I can look at myself in the mirror. I am a survivor and a sober one any other way and I probably wouldn't be.Ron.

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4665
Joined: May 2005

Did you have surgery on your liver? If so, then it's functionality has been compromised. I'd certainly take it easy on that. Also, if you ask yourself if there's a problem (like Buzz mentioned), potentially there's a problem.
Smoke pot instead!
;-)

janie1
Posts: 753
Joined: Apr 2011

I've talked with people who said about their "habits".....it's easier to stop a habit by replacing it with something else. There's healthy pleasures all around. You've come so far. (I enjoyed a little bourbon, but now I look at it as poisen. Same with sugar, it just isn't worth the few seconds of pleasure in my mouth.) Not to say a little of this will undo the treatment, but certainly if there is a chance of the alcohol use becoming routine, you'd be far better off enjoying something else. Dwell on thoughts about having a healthy long future. You really are in a good place. Stay on the path.

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
pete43lost_at_sea
Posts: 3915
Joined: Nov 2010

i loved getting smashed on the right occaisions, and not every friday either.
maybe replace drinking with another pastime like stamp collecting or sex.

we are all trying to beat the metastasis monster and from my research a healthy liver is the top of the list. the implications were the alcohol causes scarring on the liver tissues and you need the liver cells functioning optimally to detox the blood.

i hope a super healthy liver is able to resist liver mets. this is only a hope, but i have
formed that hope from reading a few papers on liver cells.

not planning to drink grog anytime soon. the pot sounds like a good option. i might start
planting the herb garden.

hugs,
pete

AncientTiger's picture
AncientTiger
Posts: 130
Joined: Mar 2011

Guess y'all missed the part of my post about my career being in law enforcement... and in the U.S pot's illegal. LMAO!!!!

I see your point about the liver. I guess I'm forgetting that once a cancer patient, ALWAYS a cancer patient.. my cards are just biologically STACKED that way, hence... the beast will always be lurking somewhere inside.

And to answer your question Philleg, my cancer was in the colon... as far as I know, my liver is in pristine shape. I've NEVER been one to put chemicals, other than tobacco smoke, into my system, and I've even quit THAT now (5 weeks in the hospital without a smoke is one HELL of a way to quit, but it WORKS!! lol)

PGLGreg's picture
PGLGreg
Posts: 741
Joined: Jul 2006

"(5 weeks in the hospital without a smoke is one HELL of a way to quit, but it WORKS!! lol)"

That's how I quit smoking, too. It does work.

The fact that you're asking about alcohol intake is ... interesting. If you stop that now, there are potential problems down the road you won't have. Think of it as money in the bank.

Phillieg has a good idea, IMO. If you must substitute vices, pot is much kinder to your constitution than alcohol.

--Greg

AncientTiger's picture
AncientTiger
Posts: 130
Joined: Mar 2011

Everyone... I appreciate your opinions. I guess I'm just a little confused at the moment. I know I USED to have a good time with the occasional drink, but after a virtual 20 year "dry spell", I now find myself again enjoying the occasional drink and maybe I'm just over-analyzing things.

Buzz, you're absolutely CORRECT... my MAIN sources of joy and healing are standing around me in my profile pic, and of course the lovely Angel behind the camera. I treasure them each and every day :D

I guess the best way to sum up my fear at this point is to use analogy... a man drives a car for several years, then goes for many years without driving. Then one day, finds himself behind the wheel of a car again. He knows it's safe if used properly, MANY people drive them every day, but it's been awhile for him and he's a little unsteady.

I know that folks get enjoyment and find stress relief each and every day with alcohol and don't go overboard with it. Like anything else, used in moderation, it's not a big deal. I guess I was just curious if anyone had heard or experienced any sort of post-cancer stress/alcohol correlations, and if it was as bump in the road I should be concerned about..

Hope I'm making sense, just finished a string of midnight shifts followed by a string of day shifts and my brain is shriveled and smoking a little.. lol

tootsie1's picture
tootsie1
Posts: 5001
Joined: Feb 2008

First of all, thanks for the work you do. I appreciate any who are involved in law enforcement. That career alone is enoough to drive some to drink.

My advice would be to give up the drinking, though. Sounds like it's getting to be more frequent, and has already been pointed out, if you're questioning yourself, you probably already know you should quit.

Hope you can find a great hobby or exercise or some other form of enjoyment that will take the place of drinking. You are healthy now, and you want to stay that way!

*hugs*

Gail

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3390
Joined: Apr 2010

I enjoy your stories, do tell them, they are enjoyable.

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3390
Joined: Apr 2010

I have one every night, well almost every night, my mother who just passed away this morning had one every night, she lived to 90 years old. I don't think the drink killed her. But I think what everyone is saying is certainly sound advice. Now mind you, there are some nights I don't and I don't miss it, but it's just a bit traditional in my family. I had 15 years I didn't drink at all, don't know why that was, suppose I wasn't in the mood then.
Just don't over kill the liver with alcohol, eh?
Winter Marie

AncientTiger's picture
AncientTiger
Posts: 130
Joined: Mar 2011

took a shot of whiskey every evening since he got back from the south pacific (WWII)... he's STILL kicking. We celebrated his 94th birthday a few months ago.

I don't take a shot, or even a sip, every day. In fact, if I DO drink, it's one evening a week, and even then not every week.

I've seen folks I work with, both behind the radio/phone, and on the road go overboard, and it's a horrible thing to witness. Good friend of mine went down that path and never came back. Guess that's why I'm a bit nervous about this new development in MY life... and again, I may just be over-analyzing myself too. I suspect that might be fairly common with someone who has had the ground knocked out from under them when they hear the words, "It was cancer, but we're going to....."

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3390
Joined: Apr 2010

You just reminded me of my favorite father-in-law, he's in his 80's and he too takes a shot of whiskey each night and has since the war as well. Brings found memories of the man back, he's still alive and kicking. Thanks for the memories. :)
Winter Marie

SisterSledge's picture
SisterSledge
Posts: 342
Joined: Feb 2011

You can have anything you want, as long as you don't over-do it...and I don't think you're in danger yet either. However, I will point out that I've seen friends who drink regularly and they have built up a higher tolerance to alcohol as a result of daily use. So, every-day drinking is gonna strain the liver over time because you'll need more and more alcohol to feel good and I think daily goes beyond moderation...but that's just my opinion :)
Janine

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3390
Joined: Apr 2010

I'm still at one a day, for years, same was for my mother (she lived to be 90), egads, we must be and have been miracles.

ellamenno's picture
ellamenno
Posts: 142
Joined: Aug 2010

Tiger, I wrote quite a long reply the other day and poof...it was gone!

Here goes again. This is just MY story but wonder how common it may be. I am not or have I ever been a "heavy drinker" except for a period of a year and a half shortly after finishing tx for stage ivb Hodgkins.

I had been out of tx for about 4 months when one evening I just really fancied a glass of wine. Went to the store and bought a bottle of the really good stuff. Had one glass each night till it was gone. Bought another bottle of the good stuff and finished it in 2 days. You can see where I'm going with this. Before I knew it, I was buying the giant cartons (ya know, the really cheap stuff) with the spout on them. Kept one in the fridge and one in the pantry just in case.

I knew I was having a problem when I started counting the minutes till 5 o'clock, then 4 o'clock and so on.

Needless to say this was so out of character for me. My hubby (and I) had been through so much and I guess this was the proverbial straw. We ended up divorcing. Not that I was a mean or aggressive drunk (ouch) quite the opposite. I was a very happy drunk (ouch).

One and a half years later I stopped. Just like that. No deciding, no dt's, no cravings, nada.

Reading your story made me wonder if perhaps we can suffer a delayed reaction to the shock of diagnosis and treatment? PTSD? I really think that is what happened to me.

BTW, I do come from a family of alcoholics (ouch). All six of my brothers and my father drank heavily. My mom and I were the only ones in my family who didn't drink...till my episode. That craving came out of NOWHERE in the sense that I was never bothered to drink till that period. I have not drunk since and don't miss it but sometimes I do wonder if I will wake up again one day and "need" to start drinking again. It has been about ten yrs. now but I still do think about it.

Tiger, I am NOT saying that my story will be your story. The fact that you brought your concern to our attention worries me though cause you are questioning yourself.

Keep coming here and if it does become an issue maybe one of us can help you sort through stuff. I think I will ask my doctor about it.

Peace, Love, Sparks (R.I.P. Roger) and Hugs.

Laurie

AncientTiger's picture
AncientTiger
Posts: 130
Joined: Mar 2011

Laurie... lovely post,and I appreciate you sharing your story.

I have no idea what sorts of traits run in my background, as I'm adopted and have no knowledge of my biological history. I'm not even sure if genetics has as much to do with the trait as environment (which I'm sure is another topic, for another day. LOL)

I know there are detrimental health issues that come with alcohol use. There are issues with just about ANYTHING you put into yourself, no matter what it is (even WATER can be deadly if overdone), so I guess it comes down to moderation. Is a shot a day too much? Nah, don't think so... a glass? Yeah, probably too much. A pint every other week or so? Probably not a problem, if it stays at that. Does this all apply to ME? That's where I'm at right now... what might work FINE for someone else, might be a step too far down the path for me. I just don't know...

BUT, hearing your opinions and stories HELPS TREMENDOUSLY, and I truly appreciate y'all's input!!!! :D

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
pete43lost_at_sea
Posts: 3915
Joined: Nov 2010

i am adopted as well.

hugs,
pete

plh4gail's picture
plh4gail
Posts: 1232
Joined: Oct 2010

have a glass of something just about everynight. And I don't know if its out of boredom, enjoyment, or where the want of it comes from. But I do know I pour something. And sometimes I have 2....others I don't want to finish the first. It's not always every night...then sometimes it is. Through chemo fog treatment I have ended up with quite an array of different bottles and flavors. Most never opened and all full or mostly full. If I do have a drink of anything it's usually a glass of wine. I'd like to know what I was thinking of when I bought all that different stuff. I could have one heck of a party because I will never use it all. Hmmm...Maybe I was thinking I wanted to be someone else and a completely different life. Maybe just buying it made me think of something fun at the moment? I dunno....but I know I have quite the alcohol collection. I should have collected stamps huh Pete? lol

Cheers to us all, Gail

scouty's picture
scouty
Posts: 1973
Joined: Apr 2004

for quitting smoking!!! I see nothing wrong with your level of drinking.

I think many people would be surprised to know that drinking 2 cans of soda especially on an empty stomach is just as bad if not worse on the liver than light alcohol use.

Trust your gut, it will tell you what you need to know. Some just won't listen to theirs.........

Lisa P.

maglets's picture
maglets
Posts: 2401
Joined: Jun 2006

hello Miss Lisa-lou ....always happy to see your rational calm intelligent warm and loyal face here.....

if a glass of wine were going to kill people half of Europe including those pesky Spaniards...(pepe :) oh and all the Italians would be goners by now

eating out of my garden now Lis....greens and greens and more greens....can you grow mustard greens.....? I love them!

have a hug my friend.....mags

Buzzard's picture
Buzzard
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

The thing that worries me the most is the fact that you are already quoting the amounts that you might can drink and be ok or not ok...If its in the thought process, then how bout just saying no and start fishing or something instead. To go through all that you have just to start something that can be very detrimental if misused is not using your head...There are lots of other things that make us "happy"...I have seen what that type of "happy" does to a family...I am a child of a father that stayed "happy" 24/7 .......wasn't very "happy" for us .....something to really think about....If it was never brought up then I would certainly think nothing about it, But since you did raise the question and you are asking others about it, then its already become an issue to you. When it becomes an issue to you then it effects everyone around you as well........be careful bud, I would hate to see someone survive cancer only to succumb to alcohol..............buzz

ellamenno's picture
ellamenno
Posts: 142
Joined: Aug 2010

"Is a shot a day too much? Nah, don't think so... a glass? Yeah, probably too much. A pint every other week or so? Probably not a problem, if it stays at that. Does this all apply to ME? That's where I'm at right now... what might work FINE for someone else, might be a step too far down the path for me. I just don't know..."

Tiger, sounds like you are quite concerned about how much is too much and how much is okay. Sometimes it is odd how much is okay becomes too much.

I cannot agree with congratulating you on quitting smoking (though I truly do) and then turn around and say "I see nothing wrong with your level of drinking." or
"Trust your gut, it will tell you what you need to know. Some just won't listen to theirs........." If it happens to me again I will try REAL HARD to listen to my gut if that is truly what would stop me.

Even if you have had no liver surgery I know alcohol is bad for the liver. And also, you don't have to drink when you're thirsty to develop a problem. Mine was not about thirst but an inexplicable craving for something...something I'm not sure of.

A big part of your life went down the rabbit hole for a bit. Come on back bud and let's find some other happytimes:)

Love, Laurie

plh4gail's picture
plh4gail
Posts: 1232
Joined: Oct 2010

If there was a "like" button I would like so many posts!

Gail

plh4gail's picture
plh4gail
Posts: 1232
Joined: Oct 2010

You make so much sense Buzz. Wondering if you also read what I wrote.

Gail

Buzzard's picture
Buzzard
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

but sometimes the "outs" we choose are worse than the situation we are in.....I enjoy the occasional drink...but when I do I am on a fishing trip and do not drive, and I know that my kids are with Mom and safe and I know that I can walk to my lodging when I finish my trek....I do engage in that once a year...no harm no foul...then Im done for the year...unless I go to CP-9 then it might be twice in a year... :)
The Utopia it puts us in is a get away for us, but just like our dreams we have hoping we wake up and its all a bad dream, its the same with our vices, we wake up, and its still there...controlled moderate drinking, or a sip every now and then is fine with me, but it may not be fine to someone else...it wasn't fine with my father, a sip meant 13 half gallons of Early Times when he had an 11 day vacation.......and that was every 9 weeks, not to mention what was done in between the off days...
If its not an issue you'll know it so if not have a drink, if it is which it seems in this case so, then absolute teetotaler would be my opinion.......but, its only my opinion....to each their own........buzz

plh4gail's picture
plh4gail
Posts: 1232
Joined: Oct 2010

Well I gotta admit Buzz....you're kinda sorta right on the outs thing. So...if I can do what I did (we all have done) this past year...just maybe I'll play a game with the kids or take my little dog for a walk instead of a sip and see if I can tell anything....hmmm always open for opinions and options :))

Gail

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 2777
Joined: May 2009

don't do it!

Alcohol is NOT a good idea when dealing with cancer, no, no, no! Just my input!

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
pete43lost_at_sea
Posts: 3915
Joined: Nov 2010

been dry for the year except for one glass of red wine at my wifes birthday last year and last night at father in laws 84th birthday.

all i have been told by countless doctors and naturopaths is give it up.

some have the recurrance monkey to watchout for.

i figure i abused the body for 44 years , i'll look after it for the next 44.

so no grog, tea, coffee, soft drinks etc etc.

hugs,
pete

taraHK
Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

There have been a lot of good responses to your post. May I throw in my "two bits"? Alcohol/drinking is an interesting -- and important -- topic for many of us. But may I pick up on what I perceived to be an important part of what you might be going through now. You have been through so very much over the past year (or so) and now that the surgery/treatment/'crisis' is over you are going through what has been a very interesting and challenging period for many of us. I know I am not alone in that, once that time period was over for me, the emotional stuff really hit. I had been in "fight-flight" mode since the day I was diagnosed. And, once all the initial phase (diagnosis, testing, decision, surgery, chemo, etc etc) ended, the "oh sh*t" phase really began. I ended up seeing a therapist for a while. I realize that is not everybody's cup of tea. For me, it was helpful. But, most significantly, the therapist (counsellor, whatever) actually said to me "what you are experiencing is post-traumatic stress syndrome". Those words alone (let alone what she did to help me through) were SO valuable to me. So, aside from the drinking issue (which I don't mean to dismiss) -- may I gently suggest that you find some way of acknowledging what you have been through this past year -- in a serious way. Whether a counsellor, religious leader, reading some relevant materials, or finding a personal way to acknowledge and 'work through' -- I think (and pardon me if I am totally misinterpreting) this might be relevant....

Warmly,
Tara
(who is still trying to process! every day....)

maglets's picture
maglets
Posts: 2401
Joined: Jun 2006

tara I personally think you are the one who has hit the nail on the head.

I am a couple of years out after six years of cancer struggle and I really believe i still suffer from some sort of post trauma distress. Right after surgeries and on chemo I could hardly drive into a big city without a bag over my head....complete panic.

this weekend my hubby and i were having a little tiff over money...the pensions just are not stretching far enough....my point....once my stress button get pushed it turns on and it does not shut off easily. I start to see threat and negativity everywhere....I feel panicky .....I know this is not a normal response ....so

I find walking helps, talking it out with someone....doing yoga and listening quietly to calm guided imagery tapes. It really is there Tara and Tiger....it really is....

I think addressing it in some way is a good idea....just sayin....

maggie

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 2777
Joined: May 2009

Like

AncientTiger's picture
AncientTiger
Posts: 130
Joined: Mar 2011

Tara, your insight has helped me a LOT!!!!!

I guess this is the "calm after the storm", when I'm sitting around, NOT in surgery, NOT having things shoved in places I would have NEVER thought to shove things, NOT having poison pumped into my veins, NOT recovering from being split open like a over-ripe watermelon.. just SITTING, trying NOT to think about everything I've been through, NOT thinking about post traumatic stress syndrome...

Hmmmmmmmm..... I wonder.......

You've given me something to chew on Tara.. thank you!!!!!!!!

maglets's picture
maglets
Posts: 2401
Joined: Jun 2006

I love Eureka moments.....good for you try some different things Tiger and you know what else helps....time....does not completely heal but it does help

you want to know another thing that super stresses me????

the endless bickering on this board.....going to take a little break now

who needs a churning tummy when one comes here for help, fun, support knowledge love

maggie

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