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Depression after cancer

mssa58
Posts: 21
Joined: May 2010

I have been clean from prostate cancer for 9 months now but I find that I still suffer from depression. Most days I hate life even though I have some good things going on in my life. The purpose of this post is two-fold--I want to see if others have the same problem and what the have done to get over it, and the second reason is just to have a chance to whine about the depression and get it off my chest.

I resent the cancer for robbing me of so many things like my self confidence, my ability to work, I have trouble concentrating and memory problems so I have had to quit going to school. I also have lost my motivation to do anything. All I want to do is sit around and do nothing.

What have others done to get over their depression? That is my question. I have been seeing a counselor for the past two years but that doesn't do a lot of good so I figure the best people to ask are the one who have had the same issues that I have.

Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.

BOBfromNJ
Posts: 32
Joined: Feb 2011

First off I will tell you that I think every one who has or has had prostate cancer at some point has felt exactly the way you have. I have only been cancer free for 6 months after a radical prostatectimy. Matter of fact my 6 month checkup and PSA is Thursday. I am not an expert but it is very easy to feel sorry for yourself and to have the attitude "why me". I don't know all your lifes particulars but I think my wife and her positive attitude has helped me get through most of this.

But you know what there are days when I feel as you do but try and get through them. I guess I some times look at it that it could have been a lot worse and just thank God that it was caught early enough to be treated. Don't forget there is a lot worse things that you could have.

You mentioned that you have been seeing someone for help. I am suprised that this is not REALLY helping you. You might need to find somebody else or maybe some kind of mild medication to get you through the difficult times. I know with me, I need to keep busy so I don't think about it.

One of the great things about this web site is that there are plenty of very knowledgable men that I hope will pick up from were I left off and maybe offer you some additional advise.

I wish you good luck and please continue to keep in touch on this forum to let us know how you are doing.

Bob

mssa58
Posts: 21
Joined: May 2010

Looks like we have something else in common, I also have a PSA test this thursday at the VA hospital in Milwaukee, WI. Since I am a veteran, I am locked into going to the VA for all my care, including counseling. Cancer has left me totally disabled and unable to work so I cant afford to get counseling in the private sector. Since I am a VA patient, I rarely see a psychiatrist, only a counselor, since they are cheaper and that is what the VA is all about. Most of my doctor visits are with a nurse practiioner instead of a doctor, another cost saving idea the VA has come up with.

Thank you for your concern and your advise. I will post here tomorrow after my PSA test and list the results. I hope you do also.

Terry

BOBfromNJ
Posts: 32
Joined: Feb 2011

Hi Terry,

Good luck with your PSA test tomorrow. Unlike tests you take for your college courses this is one test you want to get a zero on. Yes, I will also post my results.

I think the guys here have given you some good advise and things to think about. I think califvader is also right on with the exercise. I walk 2 miles everyday and I can tell you it does help. It also seems to help to say some prayers while I am walking.

I know you said that you more or less have to use the VA counselors. One other option might me a local hospital or a mens prostate cancer group that would not cost you any money. Of course all of us here are listening to you now on this forum and will help in any way we can. Its one of the many great things about this site. We are all "brothers" in trying to cope with this monster.

Good luck tomorrow.
Bob

mssa58
Posts: 21
Joined: May 2010

Had my PSA test today and it came back that I am CANCER FREE again. That is a huge relief to me and my family.

Terry

lewvino's picture
lewvino
Posts: 1007
Joined: May 2009

Congrats on being cancer free for the 9 months! You are almost at one year! I'm curious of your age since you stated you had to quit going to school...I assume you were working on an advanced degree or perhaps finishing up something started in the past.

I believe I would suggest finding a prostate cancer support group near where you live. I found these to be very helpful to me in my early months of dealing with the cancer. I also had a very close friend that I would frequently dump my fears on! He was great to just listen to me. Of course my wife was a great support also.

Look for the positives everyday, if you are a religious person you may want to try speaking with a pastor. Keeping busy will help!

Best wishes to you as you deal with your depression.

Lewvino (larry)

mssa58
Posts: 21
Joined: May 2010

I just turned 65 today. I loved going to school and have somewhere around 216 college credits. I was going to go for my Masters but now have lost both the desire and the ability to attempt it. I have trouble concentrating and staying motivated for very long and that is a receipe for disaster in the accademic world.

I have tried to find a cancer support group where I live but the closest one is an hour away. I am a religious person and that has helped me somewhat but I still suffer everyday.

Thank you for your concern and your support.

Terry

Kongo's picture
Kongo
Posts: 1167
Joined: Mar 2010

Your depression is a frequent side effect of HT. Your doctor may be able to prescribe some medications to help. I hope you have talked to him about it. Hope you feel better soon.

K

Kongo's picture
Kongo
Posts: 1167
Joined: Mar 2010

Your depression is a frequent side effect of HT. Your doctor may be able to prescribe some medications to help. I hope you have talked to him about it. Hope you feel better soon.

K

lewvino's picture
lewvino
Posts: 1007
Joined: May 2009

Terry, Glad to read about your lifetime goals on education! We can always learn something. I finished my masters degree at age 53. Another fun option you might want to check out is short term college level classes for older adults. I forget the name 'elder hostel?' or something along that line. I believe that some of the classes might involve travel to places with education on history, art, music or other things. Sounds like fun and I hope to participate once I retire.

And of course you always have support on this forum!

I'm also a religious person (have been church organist for 32 plus years at various denominations) A good friend told me to focus on the other 'C' word not 'cancer' but 'Christ'.

Again best wishes.

Larry (lewvino)

califvader's picture
califvader
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2010

i felt the same as you when i was diagnosed. i was only 54 at the time. the cancer has taken away many things from me but one thing still remains. that is the privilage of life. you might feel better if you can exercise. it helps me.

mssa58
Posts: 21
Joined: May 2010

I am glad you are as upbeat as you are. My problem is that I feel like I am not living, just existing. Even though I know that exercise is a great way to fight depression, I have trouble motivating myself to actually do it. I find no joy in exercising or anything else at this point.

hopeful and opt...
Posts: 1332
Joined: Apr 2009

If you go to religious services, find a clergyman who is UPBEAT; this is very important to me.

Do good for others, volunteer,etc........there is a reward that comes back to you.......help others.

Enjoy the moments.

Think of the positive things in your life, and concentrate on those.

Fill your life with positive.......do not focus on the negatives

For a while we at the site had a thread going.....I think that I started it about a year ago...it went for a few months......there are are lot of positives on it...please add a positive to it

mrspjd
Posts: 693
Joined: Apr 2010

Terry,

Sorry you are still going through such a rough time. After reading a few of your older posts, it seems you’ve been down this road (MDD) for a while. Kudos to you for starting this thread and candidly sharing your thoughts, feelings and emotions about your struggle. Hopefully, the replies and your postings/writings will begin to have a cathartic effect and ease some of the burden that depression can impose. Any number of feelings and emotions i.e., anxiety, fear, anger, associated with a PCa dx and on going tx side effects (not just HT), status change, repeated testing, and the like can contribute to depression, and for some, may become debilitating affecting QoL.

A few suggestions: From your post, it would seem that your VA resources/counselor(s) are not providing the level of help you might require. Have you requested the services of a VA social worker who might assist you in obtaining the appropriate mental health services with a higher level of mental health professional care (MD) within the VA? If already treating w/ meds, perhaps dosing needs to be re-evaluated or Rx changed. If you're on a continuous HT protocol, have you looked into or talked to your PCa treating MD/oncologist about switching to an intermittent protocol, which might help/lessen certain side effects?

If you’re on Medicare or have Medicare w/supplemental, you may have add’l options for seeking mental health professional care outside of the VA realm. If that is not an option for financial or other reasons, following are some free/low cost emotional support resources in or near the Milwaukee area that you and/or your RN wife may wish to pursue:

A new, free, men-only face to face cancer survivors (in tx or post tx) emotional support group, led by a mental health professional is starting up on Aug 2, 2011, @ “The Cancer Support Community” of Southeastern Wisconsin (old name is “Gilda’s Club” but don’t let that name throw you). Contact Susan, Clinical Program Director @ 414.962.8201, ext 102. Website: http://www.gildasclubsewi.org/

Stillwaters Center on the Westside also offers free individual counseling with a mental health professional for cancer survivors: www.stillwaterscenter.org

Don’t know if you’ve already seen these threads or whether they might be helpful, but here are the links to recent posts related to PCa & depression (copy and paste into your browser):
http://csn.cancer.org/node/212719
http://csn.cancer.org/node/208076

PJD, my husband, was dx’d with T3 PCa last year and is doing well. Even though he's the one with cancer, he has been my strength. We are strong advocates and proponents of the face to face group process & dynamic, and when indicated, along with the benefits of individual, one on one, guidance from a licensed, experienced/trained mental health professional, many of whom offer low/no cost counseling, especially for cancer survivors. Finding the right one is the key.

Wishing you all the best in fighting and winning two challenging battles.

mrs pjd

mssa58
Posts: 21
Joined: May 2010

Thanks for all your kind comments and suggestions. I know one thing that helps is to be able to come to this forum and state how I feel without anyone cutting me down for my attitude. Just the ability to sound off once in a while is very theraputic. At least my PSA test came back today and show I am still cancer free. That is one battle won. Now I only have to win the other one.

Thanks again,

Terry

BOBfromNJ
Posts: 32
Joined: Feb 2011

Hi Terry,

That's good news on you being cancer free. I also had my PSA test yesterday and although its only been 6 months I too am still a member of the "zero" club. You just have to take small steps and do one day at a time.

Good luck to you and please let us know how you are doing from time to time.

Stay well,
Bob

mrspjd
Posts: 693
Joined: Apr 2010

Terry,

Yes, writing/posting can be a productive outlet and has therapeutic value. I hope you continue to derive cathartic benefits from your posts by sharing your story, experiences, feelings and emotions as that can be helpful not only to you, but to others as well. After all, you are a survivor.

In addition, if you’re not homebound, I encourage you to check out new face to face emotional support group resources; if not the ones previously provided, then perhaps some others that might work out. While online, somewhat impersonal, discussion boards & social networking sites such as CSN can play an important role in sharing info and experiences, the human contact element and personal connection in the right face to face support group setting can be an integral part of your wellness.

Belated Happy Birthday Wishes. Be Well.

nowrest
Posts: 51
Joined: May 2011

Found out I had prostrate cancer in 2005 - Depression. Had bracky therapy in 2006 that didn't work - depression. Cancer spread to lympth nodes in 2010 - depression. 16 Chemo treatments later the cancer is still there - depression.... But I am alive!!! And that is how you have to think. Every Chemo leaves me so fatiqued I stay in bed for a day or two and sulk but then it passes and I look on the new day with joy and happiness that I AM A SURVIVOR.

califvader's picture
califvader
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2010

you did not mention if you have a significant other? if not maybe companionship would help. my wife has been very supportive of me and it has helped tremendously.

califvader's picture
califvader
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2010

you did not mention if you have a significant other? if not maybe companionship would help. my wife has been very supportive of me and it has helped tremendously.

Swingshiftworker
Posts: 636
Joined: Mar 2010

To state the obvious, everyone's different and each person's reaction to the diagnosis of cancer -- whatever the cause -- ranges widely depending on his/her personality and circumstances.

FWIW, I experienced no depression over my PCa diagnosis whatsoever. I treated it as a problem that needed to be solved, did my research and made a treatment choice (which has been executed) and went on w/my life w/o any other consequences. It remains to be seen whether the "problem" has been solved yet or not but I'm not one to dwell on something over which I have no control.

Since my treatment choice (CK) had no side physical side effects, I'm just living my life like I have always done w/o regard to the cancer. Time will tell whether I have to do anything further to deal w/it, but in the meantime I'm living life to the fullest and enjoying each moment as best I can.

Haven't ever really experienced depression (as opposed to sadness) in my life. So, I'm really in no position to give advice about how to deal w/it, except to suggest that IMHO the best way to deal w/it is NOT to dwell on the negative and to engage in activities & cultivate relationships that bring you as much happiness and joy as possible.

Good luck and best wishes!

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