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Depression long after diagnosis...

Kathy G.'s picture
Kathy G.
Posts: 116
Joined: Dec 2012

 

Ladies,

I was wondering if any of you have gone through a period after your diagnosis and recovery where you become depressed and/or frustrated?

I don't know if it is my age, my mental health, the hormonal result of my hysterectomy or certain aspects of my life in general, but I am very frustrated with not being in the position to do things I want to do. Mostly I want to quit work, but at 56 I have a few years to go. After my diagnosis and treatment this past January I find my tolerance for some things has changed dramatically. Alot of survivors talk about 'not sweating the small stuff,' but I feel my outlook on life has changed. I no longer want to be tied to a job where I have to hear clients whine all day no matter how real there issues might be. I want to spend time with my family, raise our granddaughter without the interference of a demanding job, do what I enjoy while I still can...I feel like my cancer has made me realize how short and precious life can be...

 

I know most people would like to be free agents who do not have to work, but my feelings have grown in intensity and are leading to depression because I am financially trapped so I cannot escape the need to work. Maybe this is just a phase or a delayed angry reaction to getting cancer...I was kind of emotionless from diagnosis thru treatment...

I am just curious if anyone else has experienced anything similar?

Thanks for any input!

Kathy

debrajo's picture
debrajo
Posts: 724
Joined: Sep 2011

Right there with you!  I am the most depressed person on this board, and it isn't JUST the cancer.  While I don't work, there are all kinds of ways to be "trapped".  My anger is through the roof, I have NO patience, Can't stand to be touched for any reason, and if I were the only person on the planet I would like it just fine!  E-mail me through here and we'll vent together without upsetting anyone on the boards!  Best, Debra  

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1198
Joined: Jul 2012

They tried to enter me into the psychological study at the cancer center. That was a few days after I found out about ovarian cancer recurrence and was waiting for results of breast biopsy. I would not call myself the most depressed person on the planet but as you can understand I was not my usual jovial self. I had to fill out a enormous questionnaire with questions like "did cancer bring you closer to god", "do you hear voices telling you to harm yourself and others", "what is your anger level on a scale of 0 to 10", etc. etc. They made me cound back from 20, name months of the year backwards from December, guess what time it was without looking at the watch. It felt like roadside sobriety test. The next day I git a callback that I have not reached the minimum level of emotional distress and didn't qualify for psychological help. Whatever...

I went back to work in March after finishing chemo, because I kinda missed my co-workers and was bored at home. At work I could not concentrate like I used to, made mistakes, forgot appointments, took frequent brakes, missed deadlines, some days I didn't feel like getting up in the morning and stayed home. They should've fired me, but no one even noticed. I "worked" for 5 months and then decided that I had enough; I asked for the doctor's note and went back on long-term disability. I'm only paid 60% of my normal paycheck, but I don't spend money on gas and lunches. They let me keep my laptop, company cell phone, private health / drug / dental insurance and pension plan. I'm pretty content staying at home for now, it's my version of freedom-45 and early retirement. Plenty of time to watch TV and play on the internet.

Kathy, have you tried to get on disability or stress leave? Or at least ask to work from home?

 

Lothose's picture
Lothose
Posts: 18
Joined: Aug 2013

I can understand where you're coming from. Even before this diagnosis of cancer I've been diagnosed with bipolar disorder where primarily I'm depressed. Last year in October I filed for disability because of the depression. For 2 years the Depression was so bad that I've never felt like getting out of bed and I didn't want to be around people because I was afraid I would hurt them. With my emotions being so out of control before the cancer diagnosis I worry about what is going to happen with my hormones go crazy after surgery. My mother seems to think that my hormones I've already made me act crazy and that's what caused the pressure to get worse in the last couple of years. I don't know that I agree with her. Just know that you're not the only person that is dealing with depression before or after cancer diagnosis

cleo
Posts: 121
Joined: Sep 2009

Is it the fact that most of us put ourselves last in the queue after family and other responsibilities and suddenly have to accept that we are not invincible and there are so many things that we would like to do if we only had ourselves to worry about?        I have a huge bucket list.....also have responsibilities that I can;t walk away from and consequently wonder "is this all there is?"    So...if you can....do it now!

debrajo's picture
debrajo
Posts: 724
Joined: Sep 2011

Smart lady!  Pretty much hit me dead center!  I have {and always have had} the responsibilities and cant walk out.  There is no time to use this wonderful second chance at life,becaues I allow everyone suck the life out of me.  I don't really have a bucket list...not reasonable or financialy possible, but I also feel that I am wasting the life I have left.  Days here are made up of di rty laundry, dirty house, mountains of bills and Hamburger Helper...in other words, life as I've known it for almost 62 years.  Soooo tired. Debra

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 997
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Kathy:

It was eight years ago that I was diagnosed.   I have been over many bumps.  And like you, have handled most of them without emotions, etc.   I was 45 years at the time.  I am now 53.   I did have a recurrence in 2009/2010 and since then have been on a wait and see approach due to finding one lymph node from surgery that had microscopic cells.    This past year, however, I have been getting more and more tired and exhausted.  I do work full time but after work I don't want to do anything.  I don't go out and even though I wish I could do it, I just don't feel like it.    I have started to have various symptoms that I have been trying to have check, but recent x-rays do not reveal anything.   CT scan still shows the two small masses that haven't changed in size for several years.   Insurance denied PET Scan.

Like you, I get frustrated when people "whine" about stuff that is so insignificant (ie.  broken finger nail type of whining).  Then I thought well maybe I am going through my actual menopause?    I have even gained ten (10) pounds for no reason.    If you go to the doctors to check it out, all they want to do is give you assorted medications.  I was having lower back pain (how my cancer started before) and I went to my PCP and was given pain meds and steroids???   I didn't take either.    I did finally get a CT scan from my oncologist which still only show the two small masses and nothing else.   She also wanted me to come back for depression.

So in answer to your questions I would have to say YES.   But I have never been one to just take medications.  I like to figure out the cause first.  whether it be thyroid issues developing, menopause, or even the food I eat.   I just demanded certain blood tests (thyroid, CA125).   The thyroid was good (although they only did the one test) and my CA125 never came into play before - it was a 10.9 (previously 3 - 21 when I had my staging surgery).   The only blood test that was flagged was my Hematocrit (HCT) levels (45.5), but neither my PCP nor my oncologist called me regarding that.  

Sounds like I am whining!   lol    I think sometimes we just need to get it off our chests.  I hope you start feeling better.

Kathy

ConnieSW's picture
ConnieSW
Posts: 537
Joined: Jun 2012

Yes, we DO need a safe place to do that.  Thank goodness this is the spot.  What would we do without each other and the Internet that brought us together.

Kathy G.'s picture
Kathy G.
Posts: 116
Joined: Dec 2012

Ladies, I appreciate all your responses...they made me feel better...at least temporarily ! I wish I could go out on disability, but since I was one of the lucky ones with a very early diagnosis I would not qualify. I couldnt work from home because I need to supervise staff as well as see clients. My job is extremely stressful and can be physically demanding. I am on call 24-7 all year. My boss and other staff are all doing the jobs of 2-3 people so no relief there...

I relate with all of us who have been caretakers all our lives. I have really tried to recognize and deal with this better, but many situations I deal with are beyond my control. My husband is disabled, we are raising our granddaughter, finances are tight, and our adult children present challenges. We have often joked that we have had no time to ourselves the whole time we've been married. We raised our kids, cared for our parents before burying them, had some adult kids return home for periods of time and now now his multiple illnesses and my diagnosis!

I am tired. I was prone to situational depression and anxiety in the past, but now I almost feel this desperation mixed with anxiety to escape. I have taken an anti-depressant when needed, but meds are not the answer for me, either. I hate taking my blood pressure meds! I am whining when I really tend to be a suck it up kind of person...

I am grateful for this site where we can vent and hope this too shall pass! If not, at least I know I am in good company!

Kathy

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

Who said our lives would be easy?  I'm right with you as when first diagnosed '09 I took it in stride, reminding myself this was okay and life would go on.  One thing which helped me immensley, GROUP THERAPY.  I did this prior to start of treatments and didn't stop until 2 yrs after treatments.  We met during the AM  every Monday and if I walked into that group feeling depressed or frustrated, by the time I left 1.5 hrs later, I was much calmer and realized life is okay.

 

One thing my therapist always reminded me of -- happiness is an INSIDE job.  We have to make our own happiness and not rely on our job, family or things.  Now that's easier said then done and in many case, we have a biological makeup which changes to the depression side, therefore, only thing to jump start our bodies to the happy side, meds.  Do not ever feel bad about taking anti-depressants as I've seen wonderful things happen after women started the meds.  Sorta like going from the black clouds to the happy fields of life!!!!  Might consider a good physical and see if this is a biological makeup is causing the saddness and anxiety.

 

You definitely have tons of stress and there has to be a way you can unload some of it.  Who can live on the fast lane of life forever...we eventually crash!  These are just a few of my thoughts and not sure if any might be of help to you, but one must start somewhere.  

 

You're in my thoughts and prayers....the happiness is out there, some times it takes time to get there....

Jan

 

 

Rosestar570's picture
Rosestar570
Posts: 10
Joined: Oct 2013

I have to tell you that I was so depressed before cancer that I think it prevented me from seeking the treatment I needed. I was embarrassed about bleeding. Didn't want anyone to touch me. I thought I was worthless. It didn't help that I got into a job that made me feel even worse about myself. I had to seek help and some drugs to lift me out of the fog. I am so grateful I did. I highly recommend talking to someone who can make sure your brain chemicals are good, then work on the rest. Depression bites. Cancer is worse. Let's nip them both in the butt!

 

Stage IIIc1 Endometrial Carcinoma

Biopsy and D&C: July 2013

Da  vinci: August 2013

1st Chemo: 10/3/2013

Age: 36

http://rebelcupcake.wordpress.com

tattooedtxgirl's picture
tattooedtxgirl
Posts: 61
Joined: Sep 2013

You are worthy of anything that you want!! This 'disease' cannot take that from us! we will always be what ever we want to be! fu#$ this disease!

How did Chemo Go for you? I start my chemo next Wen...two weeks earlier than planned.

Thinking of all of you ladies

Good luck with treatment <3

Hugs,

Crystal

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

I've been following your journey as best I can, and wondering how you're feeling?  What type of cancer did they find?  Where was it located and what staging?  Curious as some how I've missed a few key points.  I know you're at the beginning, but keep on putting one foot in front of the other and never give up.

I feel so much of this journey is moving along and getting used to the "new normal" in our lives.  Since I've had my first recurrence I've been going thru the same things as the original diagnosis in '09.  Loosing the hair, feeling like crap for a good 5-7 days after the infusion...and once I get a new routine down, it does get better.  

Keep us posted on your first infusion...what drugs?  Any radiation suggested?

Best to you my friend,

Jan

 

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