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I am terribly numb, broken, and feel alone. I long for friends

Naajaa
Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2013

Hello,

I'd like to give just a little background on myself before I go into detail on my subject. I was diagnosed with testicular cancer when I was 18 and just about to graduate from high school. I had surgery to remove the testicle that was effected, and my oncologist recommended that I get a few short cycles of chemo to ensure that I was clear. However, I was under a lot of pressure from my family to try to go a hollistic route instead. That ended up being a horrible mistake that I will forever regret. That was in 2008, and 3 years later - all the while doing this hollistic approach that involved me entirely changing my lifestyle and taking between 40-70 supplements a day, and having an extremely strict diet - I ended up going to the emergency room due to severe pain from what we discovered were tumors that had spread to my liver, hip and spine. It was so bad that initially the hospital had determined that I might not survive for much longer. That lead into me getting inpatient and outpatient chemo all through 2011, and into 2012 when I got my final surgery in early 2012. I have also had radiation therapy, and 3 surgeries total. I can't even begin to describe the regret for that decision in 2008...

Fast forward to today (July 21 2013). I'm nearly 24 and while my cancer is gone, I am personally degrading emotionally. I feel like I've been losing myself for this entire year, and it's only getting worse with every day. I have been debating going back to my psychiatrist who I visted a few times to cope with things after my last surgery, but I really feel like it won't do me any good. There are so many things going wrong that it's overwhelming. I'm losing interest in things I used to love, I'm failing to connect with old friends, and I'm struggling to feel much of anything anymore. I'm having a hard time caring about anything - even things that should make me upset, angry, or demand a response that I remain silent on.

I'm normally a very strong willed person, but lately I am just flat out defeated; I'm shutting myself away from my family, and none of my friends really understand - not even my girlfriend. I talk to her about my troubles quite a lot, but she seems to deny that there are any problems or that this is just what I have to live with. She is there for me, but there is a gross misunderstanding and I don't know why she isn't seeing my pain. Lately I've felt so bad because I feel like I'm distancing from her as I've been seeking out new friends online who will understand my problems and offer me a shoulder to lean on.

When I was visiting my psychiatrist, we kept going on and on about how I protected my family from the things I was going through; I pretended it wasn't bothering me. I was a rock for them, while they fell apart around me. Now, I feel like I can't support myself anymore. I feel so alone, and for some reason I'm seeking out solitude. I have always enjoyed being alone or having very very few friends that I held dear, but lately it just feels like I am alone and those close friends are all gone. They don't understand what I feel - and really, I don't know if I do either. I realize it might sound strange, but I guess the best way I can describe it is I'm really looking for a personal closeness, despite being such a solitary person. I'm looking for understanding, and I have truly been so desperate for it lately.

I keep taking these psychological tests online, and they all suggest that I've got antisocial, OCD, and schizoid (not schizophrenic) tendencies. I don't know what is wrong with me, but I have not felt the same as the "old me" since after all of my treatments. Something is different, and it's just getting worse :(

I would really appreciate to hear any kind of response...I'm sorry my post was so long, but I have had so much bottling up and nowhere to vent it :(

Thanks

fullyloved
Posts: 38
Joined: Oct 2012

But you aren't alone.....Cancer changes all of us, sometimes in ways we could sooner do without. I too have always been a strong willed fighter, and that part of me has changed. There are still days I wish the cancer had killed me though in my sanest moments I know better. I can relate to the feeling of losing yourself..... I'm battling with some similar things right now, feeling like I'm shutting down emotionally, losing interest as well, even losing touch with reality a large part of the time. Knowing that I have to get a grip on my emotional and mental world before I really go to pieces, I have scheduled an appointment with a counselor/psychiatrist.  I know you said that you don't think it would really help to go back to a psychiatrist, but it appears to me like you badly need someone. If you can't go back to the one you were using, would it be possible to find someone else to go to or talk to?

I'm sorry about the regret for your decision....That has to hang on you....Can you learn to let go of that and realize that what is is what is? I know; I know. Easier said than done......

For me, the biggest thing that makes me hang on and keep on fighting, is my faith. I don't know how it is for you, but if you do believe in Someone greater than yourself, cling to that and don't let go. And things really do get better eventually. I've been down this road before with other circumstances in my life, and with time and faith and healing and hope and courage and just hanging in there, life and joy does return. And it will for you too. 

Naajaa
Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2013

It really seems like we've got similar experiences and similar emotional struggles. It's nice to be able to relate to somebody in such a deep and specific way. I totally get that feeling of losing touch with reality; I've been so reckless ever since I've been in remission. 

Unfortunately, I couldn't be further from you as far as faith goes. My family smothered me with theirs while I was sick, and that made me really resent their religion more than I already had beforehand. I had a lot of negative associations with faith, but even though I looked into religion thoroughly and with a lot of research, I've determined it's just not for me.

lp1964's picture
lp1964
Posts: 833
Joined: Jun 2013

I happen to tumble over your post and thought I share my though with you. I'm a 48 year old male with a stage 3 rectal cancer, after radiation and first round of chemo and before surgery. I'm married and have a 15 year old daughter. I haven't gone through nearly as much as you have. At the same time I believe that all patients with life threatening chronic illnesses have similar views on life like you. I think the reason is that our illness gets us detached from the world and we fill isolated. Pain, fear, anxiety, tiredness all tend to make you feel like that, they shrink your world. When you spend too much time in your head with your own problems, you lose references and your thoughts may become unrealistic and distorted. We need to force ourselves to open up our world, get and maintain connections with others, art, music, humanity, spirituality etc.

When you spend too much time in your head you also start asking the wrong, meaningles unhelpful questions like: why did this happen to me, why me, why not other bad people? Then you have unrealistic view of yourself even though you have all these values, skills, attributes, kindness. You still tend to fill less than others. It's a tough one.

You with testicular cancer may have couple more reasons for the way you feel:

You may have clinical depression that may require medication and counseling.

You probably had your testicle removed and sometimes that may cause low testosterone levels, that may cause low energy, low motivation, disinterest On top of the mental aspect of losing a testicle. You may want to look into what may increase the testosterone level. 

Cancer can take a lot away from you. That's reality, and there is nothing you can do about it but deal with it. But if you really look cancer also gave you so much good too. In my case it strengthened my marriage, my relationship with my daughter, pulled my larger family closer, I'm more aware of others in need etc. 

You have come a long way. We need to deal with the bad, but mainly search for and find the good, stop and appreciate it.

 

wyseguy
Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2013

Life can be a bi$*& sometimes, and you already know cancer sucks. I had stage 3C test cancer. Ended up losing one, you know (similar to you), losing part of my gut, my rt lung and something called a mesentary. On top of it, that one in a million chance of having the sympathetic nerve cut, I WON>>>>>. I wish I was able to beat the odds like that in the damn lottery. If you know what a sympathertic nerve is, you know the effects of it. I had two chest ports put in and had chemo 7 hours a day in both ports for 5 days a week for 3 weeks, one week off. That was a cycle. I was set for 4 cycles. After treatment a couple of years my teeth started breaking. I am kind of angry, pissed, depressed, it, well it sucks. What else could you say. I now live in florida and the whole situation of getting treatment for pain from surgery is a joke. Because of the pill mills the fed government has put all these rules and regs that are insane (another topic).

For you, what you are going through. You beat the cancer which was a bear. You put up with some whack stuff because of the best (I guess) intentions of your family. I did some whack things as well for family (Peach Pit enemas :(, sleeping on a mtn after a sweatlodge, some fluressence glowing drink from mexico, just really weird crap including IV's from a holistic doctor. Hell they, families worry and panic.

That you are a bit off, which of us isn't after going through this. Hey you may need therapy, I don't know you, but it is expected that we will not have similar views due to our life experiences. If it worries you, get some help.  You have a bunch of us online here  that you can reach out to. I don't have the answers but can empathize with  the pain.

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