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Emotional-Normal?

Shan_39
Posts: 17
Joined: Apr 2012

Hello Everybody,

I hoping that all the great RCC survivors on this board can offer me some help, advice or just a discussion board to cry on. :) I am a 39 yr. old wife, and a mother to three children (21, 14, 10). Back in February I went to the ER for a pain on my right side. I had the pain for about a week, but it would come and go, and then one day got really bad. So off to the ER I went, thinking my appendix had burst or something. ER doc did a CT scan and discovered a 4cm mass on my right kidney. This came as a complete shock. Anyways, I ended up having my right kidney removed on March 1, 2012. They removed the whole kidney because the tumor was right in the middle of the kidney. Pathology came back as RCC, but the margins were clear. I just saw my Oncologist last week and he said everything looks good, and that I should be just fine, recurrence is very low. This is all GREAT news! My problem is, why I am so emotional, and moody after this good news? And, I'm normally a very patient person, but my patience seems to have been removed along with my kidney! Sometimes, I just burst into tears, and I couldn't really tell you why. It has been a very stressful year for me, I lost my dad to lung cancer (almost a year to the day I had my kidney surgery), I started a new job,I quit smoking, I had my kidney removed, diagnosed with cancer, and my husband works out of state. I'm beginning to think the cancer diagnosis might be the straw that broke me! I have a great family/friend support system, yet I feel so alone. To everyone else, "I'm cured", and to me, I'm still trying to process that I even had cancer. I'm beyond grateful to be alive, but I don't think I ever got to express exactly how scared I was (and am) about having cancer.Everything happened so fast. Does that make sense? Am I crazy? I don't know if I should see a doctor and get some medication or if these feelings will pass on their own? I apologize for rambling. Thanks for listening and I appreciate any help.

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1702
Joined: Jan 2010

Shan-39,

I was in the same boat as you. Had my 4.2 cm bugger removed at age 59 almost 10 years ago and I was cured. We that have RCC are a 3% minority of Cancer patients. Over 1/2 of us are cured by the surgery. With what you have given us there is no reason that you being fully cured by the surgery is as close to 100% as possible. What society has pounded into our skulls for all these years is that Cancer is a disease that keeps coming back and people have horrific lifes as a result. Not so with RCC involving small tumors. Much needs to be done to help RCC where larger tumors and mets show there ugly face. But those of us with small tumors get a free pass from those problems. Think of it as you had cancer, not that you have it. RCC is not like other Cancers out there and don't get caught up in what miseries other Cancers cause. We bit the bullet, now is the time to go out and live. My Neighbor Faye across the street had her surgery 17 years ago and at 81 today is doing fine and her husband can not keep up with her. Best wishes for at least 50 more heathy years now that you have stopped smoking. I also have a 10 and 14 year old, as well as a 13 15 and 16 year old. They are called grandchildren.

Icemantoo

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 2092
Joined: Oct 2011

Shan, Sure is a shock to the system isn't it? The word cancer sets up a terrible sequence of mental events. We have all been there. Hang around on board for awhile. You'll find great support, understanding and compassion. Then you'll begin to appreciate your good fortune at being diagnosed and cured early.

Shan_39
Posts: 17
Joined: Apr 2012

Thank you Iceman for your encouraging words and support! I felt better after reading your post this morning. It's nice to know that I can talk to people who understand exactly how I feel.

Thanks again!

Shannon

sunlover_56's picture
sunlover_56
Posts: 110
Joined: Apr 2012
sunlover_56's picture
sunlover_56
Posts: 110
Joined: Apr 2012

You're post made me feel good in some ways. my tumor was almost twice the size of yours..but the Doc said it wsa all contained in the kidney (which they took out) I hope my furture is positive but I am still so scared of it "coming back".. My daughter is pregnant with my first grandchild and I want to see him grow up.

Maryooo
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2012

Your post make me feel good about my cancer. It was small and found accidentally after my sister was diagnosed with RCC a year ago. I hope finding this early and small is a life time cure

Maryooo
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2012

Your post make me feel good about my cancer. It was small and found accidentally after my sister was diagnosed with RCC a year ago. Alot of the reports say 5 years of life.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Despite your family history (mother and sister) the outlook is very good for you. You've not read the statistics that apply to a situation like yours. You are almost certainly now cured and your life expectancy will be much the same as it would have been without RCC. The fact that you very sensibly took early action because of your family history is a big plus and will have improves your prospects enormously so cheer up and enjoy a happy, healthy long life.

Neen
Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2012

I have the same feelings as you and probably everybody on this site. Hang in there this site has helped me a lot just reading what others have gone through or are going through helped me to realize I'm not the only one. It is scary, your not crazy and I did get on a low dose of anti depressants to help with the anxiety I was feeling and I too quit smoking so this has help with that also good luck!

JackieP125's picture
JackieP125
Posts: 55
Joined: Jan 2012

You sound just like me 3 1/2 months ago. After my surgery I was just plain mad, angry and emotional. Everything and everyone made me cry. In time I got past most of that. I still cry and find that I have a a huge amount of compassion and empathy for every living creature. I appreciate more and love deeper than ever before. It all comes with the territory. You will be fine. Just take it one day at a time. You are a survivor now. Embrace everyday with joy. I know I do.

littledarlin's picture
littledarlin
Posts: 102
Joined: Mar 2012

I sure am understanding this emotional roller coaster now that my surgery is over..
Will try take it one day at a time for now. Looking forward to a new normal. I am sick and tired of this one..

LD

Shan_39
Posts: 17
Joined: Apr 2012

Neen,

I do get very anxious when I think of all that has happened. I will talk to my doctor about something to help. Congratulations on quitting smoking!

Thanks,
Shannon

Shan_39
Posts: 17
Joined: Apr 2012

Neen,

I do get very anxious when I think of all that has happened. I will talk to my doctor about something to help. Congratulations on quitting smoking!

Thanks,
Shannon

Shan_39
Posts: 17
Joined: Apr 2012

Neen,

I do get very anxious when I think of all that has happened. I will talk to my doctor about something to help. Congratulations on quitting smoking!

Thanks,
Shannon

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

Shan,

Its the wham, bam, thank ya mam...oh, by the way, you're cured syndrome. We spend our pre-dx life hearing and experiencing the horrors that cancer brings to most people, suddenly we're told "You have cancer!" and before we have a chance to process and adjust to that we have surgery and are told we are "cured". Everyone around us breathes a huge sigh of relief and goes on about their normal lives, but we are still caught on the emotional roller coaster that having cancer is. What you are experiencing is completely normal and this is a great place to come and vent, cry, ask questions, etc. because everyone here understands and will rally to support you as needed. Stick around for awhile and before you know it you will be helping with the newbies.

Good luck and Godspeed,

Gary

donna_lee's picture
donna_lee
Posts: 448
Joined: Feb 2009

Let's take a look...
You were told you had Cancer with a Capital C.
You had to plan your life, your families lives, and everything you do-home, work, extended family, friends, etc. for: pick all that apply- your health, your impending surgery, your recovery, your absence from what you were engaged in, and even the potential for not recovering from surgery, the possibility that the cancer was inoperable, and yes, the realization that it could eventually cause your death.
Then you were under anesthesia and had to go thru the process of tubes in and out, get up and walk when you felt like you'd been run over by an 18 wheeler.
First your family dotes on you, then they want you to be better and pretend all is OK and you are well and back to normal. Then you get back into the public and they ask, "How are you?" They all do care, but they want to hear you're better, recovering, doing well, back to normal, etc. Except sometimes you just want to cry because you are emotional.

Do not deny yourself the right to feel sadness, grief, anger, or the mercurial changes that happen within yourself. Each is a part of what has been brought on by having a life threatening and life changing illness.

I think I know what I'm referring to, since I've been in your shoes. Not once, not twice, three times and almost a fourth. I've been thru Hospice Volunteer training and a key subject was dealing with emotions and grief; and I'm co-facilitator of a Cancer Survivors Support Group. I'm a former teacher, and I've worked with kids and adults all my life. And yes, I even saw a psychologist for a while to help figure out why I was so emotional.

Hopefully, it will help you to just know that you are normal. Now, pull up your big girl panties and pick a nice short term goal that you can complete quickly and enjoy -make a cup of tea or coffee and read the paper without letting anyone interrupt, you is a start---
Then do it. Feel success in the small things and pretty soon you will set your goals and sights higher.
Pretty soon you will be making goals for a lifetime away, going to graduations, weddings for kids, playing with grandchildren. Because probably way deep down, those are some of the fears that have been making the emotions emerge. The fears that you wouldn't be able to set some of those goals.

Be good to yourself.
With sincere best wishes for searching and finding what you need.
Donna_lee

Shan_39
Posts: 17
Joined: Apr 2012

Donna_Lee,

Thank you so much for your insight! This is exactly how I feel. I just need to have good cry and let it all out. Just reading everyone's response makes me feel better. At least I know I'm not going crazy. :) I've decided as a short-term goal I want to start walking for exercise and work my way up to walking in a charity cancer event. I need to live and feel alive. Thanks again for listening. I look forward to sharing more and learning even more from this site.

Thanks!

j_rod
Posts: 125
Joined: Mar 2012

Your one statement "First your family dotes on you, then they want you to be better and pretend all is OK and you are well and back to normal. Then you get back into the public and they ask, "How are you?" They all do care, but they want to hear you're better, recovering, doing well, back to normal, etc. Except sometimes you just want to cry because you are emotional.
This is what I went through - I am happy my recovery was relatively easy, but on the other hand, when I got home, since I wasn't screaming and writhing in pain, it worked against me. Even though I had major surgery on the inside, people thought I was OK. Even my fiance was waiting for his supper within three days. On day four he got up and went golfing all day as well as Sunday (day five). I was sad for sure. My sister checked on me every day until she went back to work on Monday so I was feeling pretty all alone. Except for being on this site...this is where I found relief. And eventually, you will be helping others, too. At that point, you will know you are on the road to your good life,

Shan_39
Posts: 17
Joined: Apr 2012

Gary,

You expressed all my feelings exactly in your opening sentence! I feel so much better knowing that my feelings are normal, and are felt by others who have gone through the same thing. It feels good to be able to talk openly and express my feelings to everyone. I appreciate everyone's kindness, and i look forward to learning a lot from all of you.

Thanks,
Shannon

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 2092
Joined: Oct 2011

You know what?...The facts are the facts.....What a crappy thing to have to live with...to have to live with....to have to live with...TO HAVE TO LIVE WITH!!!!!! I don't think that anyone here thought they would live forever. Yeah, it sucks big time. But we will all dig in. The thing is we do it for ourselves, but we do it for our loved ones. We hang tough.

Boomersdad
Posts: 25
Joined: Jan 2012

Hi Shan and every body else, Ive not been on for a couple of months,Everything you say Shan is the same for most of us, I had a full removel of a cancer size 7.5 cm and left kidney in Jan this year,the first few weeks were sore ,but I found I improved every day until about 6 weeks after the opp then things slowed down but I knew I was getting fitter each day, I went back to work 7 weeks after the opp, I also felt weepy and frustrated at how long it was taking but its just a matter of hanging in there,its now 13 weeks since the opp and I just get the odd sharp twinges mid belly, but the doc says its just scare tissue heeling ,My wife as been my best doctor in all that time and I cant thank her enough, keep smilling Errol

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Welcome back Errol - it's good to hear a fellow Englishman doing well and still hanging out with our excellent American hosts. Good for your Wife and I'm sure you'll both keep on smiling.

Boomersdad
Posts: 25
Joined: Jan 2012

Hi Wedgie, It was very stressfull to come on here when I found out about my problems, but as soon as I posted you out there really did pick me up and help me through my ordeal.

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 2092
Joined: Oct 2011

Wedgie...hmmmm.....I like that!

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 2092
Joined: Oct 2011

Wedgie...hmmmm.....I like that!..Wait till Gary hears this one....

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Unfortunately to a UK citizen of my generation this pseudonym can only refer to the engaging loony left politician, Tony Wedgwood Benn, a patrician (former 2nd Viscount Stansgate who renounced his title to further his ultimately unsuccessful political ambitions to achieve the highest office). He occasionally talks very good sense but he talks a great deal else besides.

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

Wedgie in the UK is probably still a better association than having your undies turned into a thong as it is on this side of the pond.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Agreed! I'd rather be 'Tex' than 'Wedgie'.

How's the golf in Michigan? The temperature screamed up to 41 F here today and I was looking forward to my first game for about 5 weeks at Carnoustie but the wind chill factor + heavy rain took the gilt off the gingerbread.

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

Its been Windy, Wet, and Wear your Woolies, but it is supposed to warm up starting today.

sunlover_56's picture
sunlover_56
Posts: 110
Joined: Apr 2012

My tumor was also 7.5 cm which put me just barely into stage 2.. my grade is 1 which is very good. I wish my doctor had just said "your cured" go home and ejoy life. (maybe he didnt cause my tumor was a little bigger I dunno)But I myself am telling myself I AM CURED!!! On another note, Tex and Boomer.. I am a big fan of the UK. I have always been facinated with the UK and all its history. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to England a few years ago and cant wait to go back!!! I spent my visit in the northwest of England.. Chester, Lancaster, Blackpool.. etc I absolutely loved every day of my two weeks there :-)

Vagusto's picture
Vagusto
Posts: 86
Joined: Aug 2011

Hello Shan!
As most, my cancer was diagnosed when having an ultrasound for gallbladder issues. I was 46. The tumor was large
and so I had an open radical. Recovery went well, all things considered. I struggled for a longggggg time. Letting go and learning
to live was/is difficult. I don't believe that I will ever totally stop analyzing ever ache and pain. But, I can tell you that
I managed to tell myself to start living again & save the crazy worry for when I need it. I stopped living and that was no fun. As time
approaches my check-ups (every 6 months) , I get REALLY crabby! But ......I'm allowed to do that. :)
Take care of YOU.
Valerie

Fishknees
Posts: 73
Joined: Mar 2012

I wrote I found out I don't have RCC. So exciting. Got the pathology report in my hands. I found out what I do have did not exactly correspond to the pathology report. It is related in a way to melanoma. Guess who has had melanoma?

Well I am not even going there. I don't know if the doctors tell the pathologists of previous cancers so I don't know if they knew.

Just anothe bump in the road. I think I am going to ignore it for now. I can't take this up and down.

Shan_39
Posts: 17
Joined: Apr 2012

I sure appreciate everyone offering their advice and sharing their stories with me. It's nice to feel connected to others who have shared the same experience. I wish I would have looked at this site sooner, but glad that I found it now. I've been reading a lot of old posts on here, and found a ton of useful information regarding eating habits after nephrectomy and etc. Some talk about giving up meat, and in particular "red meat". Why is that? I'm just curious because lately I've been having issues after I eat read meat. Any insight would be wonderful.

Again, thank you everyone for your kind words and inspiration, it's nice to not feel alone.

Shannon

Vagusto's picture
Vagusto
Posts: 86
Joined: Aug 2011

Shan

I've always been a "meatatarian"! However, since my surgery I've found it difficult if I eat too much red meat at one time ( mostly steak or hamburgers).
I'm not sure if it's harder to break down with one kidney or what. Also, I can tell you that to this day if I over eat in one setting, I'm
miserable.
Valerie

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 2092
Joined: Oct 2011

You know Val, I have been the same way. I could have driven down the road just to find a cow to bite. Now, I think I've had one small steak since Christmas. Also had been an over user of salt. No longer add it to anything. Something in our chemistry has changed.

Shan_39
Posts: 17
Joined: Apr 2012

Val,

Yes, I was very much a "meatatarian" also! I love my hamburgers and steak. I was going to mention it to my doctor because my stomach so bad after I eat the meat. I find that also after I eat too much I don't feel good. I'm only 2 months post-op, and if I eat too much I keep saying "my guts" hurt. I'm still wearing yoga pants, because jeans still don't feel right.have you completely changed your diet since your surgery?

shannon

Vagusto's picture
Vagusto
Posts: 86
Joined: Aug 2011

Hi Shan
I lost lots of pounds after my surgery. I felt so uncomfortable when I ate, and needed to shed the
pounds..,..so all was good. I would say that I'm eating healthier than before surgery. That being said, if
I want to eat something fattening, I will. I do limit my beef intake because I just feel sick when I eat too much of it.
I also take a multivitamin because for one I don't eat enough fruit. I have gallbladder issues ( reason my kidney cancer
was found) and so citrus really gives me problems. I feel that I will forever have problems if I over eat at one time. I'm
about 2.5 years post op and it still bothers me. Certain pants bother me when it hits my scar just right. I have a fair amount
of numbness underneath the scar.
Take care
Valerie

Minnesota Girl's picture
Minnesota Girl
Posts: 115
Joined: Jul 2011

You are NOT CRAZY!! I think you can already see that everyone on this board can relate. My story is almost exactly like yours, kicking off just about a year ago. You will find that these emotions ebb and flow - kicking you in the teeth at the most unexpected times. I realized last week that it was one year ago that I had a bad gastro attack, that led to a CT, that led to a cancer diagnosis. And remembering that put me on the emotional edge for a few days. I expect the other little anniversaries I will face, up to my one year surgery anniversary on July 9, will have the same effect.

Just remember that this rollercoaster is normal. Glad to hear you are going to start walking! You have a big incentive to take care of yourself - you have a long life ahead of you!!

flatlander's picture
flatlander
Posts: 46
Joined: Dec 2011

I have been having highs and lows since I got diagnosed. My surgery didnt go well and I couldnt work as a firefighter for the last six months. So I am finaly feeling better and two days ago I taped up my wound and water skied for the first time in over two decades. I wanted to yell 'f u cancer!'. Secretly I was afraid I would jinx myself and the cancer would come back. This thing has made me crazier than I already was. Next week I go back to work. It ought to be interesting when.I treat my first cancer.patient in the ambulance.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

I bet I'm not the only one to have been dying to hear that you're OK after all you've been through. Don't leave it so long before you talk to us all again!

Well done on the water-skiing and good luck with the return to work. Your brothers and sisters there will give you an even warmer welcome back than you'll be getting here - and that's saying something.

Yours is a unique and inspiring story and has to give re-assurance to newcomers like LuckyLady443 that it's OK to have the emotions that are natural in these circumstances and that even tough guys like you aren't immune to the heebie-jeebies and downs that are to be expected after such najor surgery and change in our perspective on life. People like you and Fox are beacons (especially the way Fox keeps glowing!). You both show that battling on with a good attitude can get you anywhere.

Maybe you can let us know what it's like to handle your first cancer patient after you are back in the swim with your Force?

Luckylady443
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2012

Hi,
I feel like I wrote the message you sent! I had my right kidney removed on Feb. 1st, 2012. My tumor was 4 cm and had not gone to the wall so it was contained within the kidney. I did not need any treatment. How lucky was that? It was a miracle they happened to check it out since I had a little pain but the doctor said that was not a symptom.
I did see a psychologist a few times because of my emotions, however, I decided that all I needed was the doctor saying I was okay. I cry so much and my friends think I should see someone including my daughter.
My three month ctscans were normal as well as a bladder test. I do that again in three months. I thought I would be just fine but after reading all the messages I have started to worry again.
I had been looking for a diet to keep my other kidney healthy. My surgeon said I could eat anything, however, I know that salt and protein should be limited.
I take a cholesteral pill which is a statin and now I see that I shouldn't take it as it could cause kidney problems. I will be talking to my doctor.
You are young and having three children and a husband who is out of state is certainly reasons for your emotions. I have gotten better but definitely not as strong emotionally as I was before.
Like you I have quit smoking. When I think about it I decided I would be crazy to have one.
I don't klnow if you will read this but I am sure that you are completely normal and I wish you the best and continued good health.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

It's no accident that your message is so similar to Shannon's when she started this thread. The obvious comparison is:- both female, pain the only warning and the cause a big surprise, 4 cm tumour, right kidney, good prognosis but a feeling that your emotionality is irrational and an over-reaction.

However,the more important comparison is with all the rest of us patients on this forum. Whatever our genders, ages, occupations, general health etc, we all faced, and continue to face, a major change in our lives. A strong emotional reaction to that is to be expected and it's then all a matter of how we best handle it.

You and Shannon shouldn't make too much of feeling so emotionally disoriented and alone. You're not alone and your feelings are perfectly understandable. Compared with a lot of us here, you both have very good prospects for many happy, healthy years ahead but no-one should blame you for being worried and labile.

I hope you will forgive me for giving this advice: you need to do two things in coping with your situation. One is to accept that your emotional reaction is natural and you shouldn't get too hung up on it (and if that proves difficult, seek help from a clinical psychologist or similarly appropriate counsellor). The other is to accept that your prognosis is very good - remain vigilant but believe in the fact that you have been cured and will probably die of something entirely different and at a ripe old age.

We're sorry to see you here but you're very welcome and keep coming back here for as long as you need to for our support (and, after that, for as long as you feel inclined to).

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 2092
Joined: Oct 2011

Let me add just one point. I think that most of us "think" about our cancer, our lives, and our survival constantly. The key is to be able to function and move on. Dwelling on something we can't wish away takes a toll mentally. This is lost energy. It serves no beneficial purpose. Depression is sure to follow. Those of us with good coping mechanisms are able to redirect our thoughts and efforts into productive outcomes. We remain positive in our thoughts and activity. This also influences those around us and creates an optimistic atmosphere in which we can live. This board is proof of this. If and when our time comes, you can bet that people like Tex, me and others will have a joke to share and I know that I will not be wearing a 3 piece suit but a smile. This will keep the deamons away from ourselves and loved ones. Sort of like holding a cross up to a vampire. I hate cliches but what is is. Everyone has a right to be traumatized but don't let it consume you. Now, to set the mood....Two cancer survivors walk into a bar......

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Oh no, not a shaggy Fox story!

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