PROBLEMS COPING "10" YEARS LATER

Options
grammy3
grammy3 Member Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I'm 63 years old and was diagnosed 10 years ago (Nov 1999). During treatments I seemed to have no thoughts one way or another about what was happening to me. In an effort to have things be "normal" I went back to work (reduced hours) 1 month after my first Chemo session. 6 1/2 months later when chemo and rad was complete I returned back to work and that was it.

When my first grandchildren (twins) were born is when I started to have problems dealing with what I went through 3 years earlier. I thought I was going to loose it. My oncologist referred to me to an Oncology Psychiatrist. I was out of work from October 2002 until late January 2003. I was being treated for depression . I went back to work and again put things out of my mind.

Unfortunately I'm one of those that just tucks things away instead of dealing. It's now "10" years later and I seem to be having a harder time coping now than I ever did. The slightest little that happens brings everything out of their hiding places and right back as though it just happened yesterday. I think my biggest problem is that I've never been able to talk to anyone about what I went though. I didn't talk 10 years ago and to this day still can't. If I talk or even think about things it's like the floods gates will open and I'm afraid I'll loose it.

Is it NORMAL to still not be able to talk about things?

Comments

  • GregStahl
    GregStahl Member Posts: 188
    Options
    Yes
    but its not healthy. I do the same thing and have had problems with drugs and alcohol in the past.
    Find someone to talk to, get things off your chest, you willl be healthier and happier in the long run.
  • m_azingrace
    m_azingrace Member Posts: 399
    Options
    GregStahl said:

    Yes
    but its not healthy. I do the same thing and have had problems with drugs and alcohol in the past.
    Find someone to talk to, get things off your chest, you willl be healthier and happier in the long run.

    Greg is Right
    Keeping your emotions bottled up causes all sorts of problems. Finding someone to talk to, who will listen and validate your feelings (not necessarily agree with them--but recognizing that you do FEEL this way), is vitally important. Sound emotional health is crucial to maintaining physical well-being. You have faced the beast and won! I try to have a really good cry every day. Then I try to have a really good laugh! I make a point of finding more joy than sadness in each day. I also have "grandtwins" that are 3 years old, and their older brother is 5. Blessings from God. My beast is eventually going to win, but not without a fight. I refuse to let it ever break my spirit. Hugs to you. Gracie.
  • KathiM
    KathiM Member Posts: 8,028 Member
    Options
    Picture a box with a very tight lid.....
    This is where I put my 'not-so-nice' stuff. To deal with 'later'. Trouble is, that if you don't clear the box out every once in a while, it fills to the breaking point, and that last thought you slip in bursts the box wide open, and you need to deal with all of it at once.

    After colorectal cancer (which I'm told can be contributed to by stress...), I visualized removing the lid, and tearing apart the box, never to 'store' my worries again. My mantra became...."80% of what you worry about never happens, and the other 20% you can do little about. So stop worrying!".

    Sounds easy. It wasn't. I kept trying to build another box. Each time, I stopped. Dealing with stuff as it happens is far easier. One thing at a time. This doesn't mean forgetting it, but just softening it after you look it in the face. A psych term for it is 'silver boxing'...tying it up to look pretty, and making it no longer savage. And at some point saying "ok, now I've dealt with this enough. The time for looking at this is over. I will never worry about it again!"

    Since 12/2004, I have been dx'ed twice with cancer (rectal followed by breast, unrelated, both in the lymph system). My beau's dad died 2 weeks after my dx. My ex-hubby (we were friends) died. 3 weeks later, my youngest daughter passed. My beau had serious heart trouble...that's just the top of the list... there's more. I haven't forgotten these things, I loved these people...but I don't rehash the dark stuff around their deaths.

    There was a point where I became numb. But then dealt with stuff, and there's no looking back. I'm no hero, and no better than anyone else. I've just learned that since I fought like heck to save my life...I need to live it to the fullest!!!!

    Time can be a friend, but also an enemy if you are not happy....feel free to come here and vent, we have all had our moments! The fact that you are 10 years out is GREAT!!! 10 years of living!!! YEA!!!

    My 2 cents' worth. I attended a seminar on grief after I lost my first patient partner. I learned that there is a cycle to these things. Grief, anger, loss, sadness....Imagine a circle. We get stuck in the circle, talking about it, keeping the thoughts alive, until one day we say "OK! That's enough about this!" And exit the circle.

    What you are feeling is normal. The hard part is to look it full in the face so that you can leave the circle and get on with living!!! If I can do this, you can, too!!!

    Hugs, Kathi
  • BlownAway60
    BlownAway60 Member Posts: 851
    Options
    Coming here to share your
    Coming here to share your thoughts and concerns was probably a good thing. All of the survivors here are very caring and pretty much have and will discuss anything. I was only dx in July of last year and am not an authority but I too do tend to keep a lot of things to myself. I am doing better and do discuss a lot more of my concerns on this board. It is just easier for me to do it here. The warriors here are not judgemental and if you lose it we will support you.

    Welcome to the boards

    Hugs

    Donna
  • grammy3
    grammy3 Member Posts: 2
    Options

    Greg is Right
    Keeping your emotions bottled up causes all sorts of problems. Finding someone to talk to, who will listen and validate your feelings (not necessarily agree with them--but recognizing that you do FEEL this way), is vitally important. Sound emotional health is crucial to maintaining physical well-being. You have faced the beast and won! I try to have a really good cry every day. Then I try to have a really good laugh! I make a point of finding more joy than sadness in each day. I also have "grandtwins" that are 3 years old, and their older brother is 5. Blessings from God. My beast is eventually going to win, but not without a fight. I refuse to let it ever break my spirit. Hugs to you. Gracie.

    PROBLEMS COPING AFTER 10 YEARS

    Thank you so much for responding. I wasn't even aware of this site until I went to a seminar last week at a local Dana Farber Center. I have brothers and sisters but, we grew up in a family where problems weren't discussed. As result we at times don't even tell each other when things happen or go wrong in out lives. Trying to deal with my cancer has been hard because when I try to talk about it every other unpleasant thing that's gone on come flooding forward as well. I have a wonderful son, daughter-in-law and 3 beautiful grandkids. But prior to the cancer and grandkids I went through a very unhappy divorce. This happened many years ago (my son was only 3), but I was betrayed by my then husband and best friend. This was a little easy to deal with once my son was in and out of college because I didn't have them in my face all the time. Now that the grandkids are here it's as well as the cancer is in my face all the time. We're all very involved in the kids lives so, I have to be in the same place as those who betrayed me the most are. Trying to deal with my feelings about the cancer get all jumbled up with other things in my life. I've tried therapy but, I have trouble finding therapist that will take my medical insurance and it's expensive to pay on yur own. I'll sign off for now. Having problems putting thoughts together and my emotions are getting the best of me. Again, thanks so much for sharing with me. Hugs, Barbara
  • Kat11
    Kat11 Member Posts: 1,931 Member
    Options
    KathiM said:

    Picture a box with a very tight lid.....
    This is where I put my 'not-so-nice' stuff. To deal with 'later'. Trouble is, that if you don't clear the box out every once in a while, it fills to the breaking point, and that last thought you slip in bursts the box wide open, and you need to deal with all of it at once.

    After colorectal cancer (which I'm told can be contributed to by stress...), I visualized removing the lid, and tearing apart the box, never to 'store' my worries again. My mantra became...."80% of what you worry about never happens, and the other 20% you can do little about. So stop worrying!".

    Sounds easy. It wasn't. I kept trying to build another box. Each time, I stopped. Dealing with stuff as it happens is far easier. One thing at a time. This doesn't mean forgetting it, but just softening it after you look it in the face. A psych term for it is 'silver boxing'...tying it up to look pretty, and making it no longer savage. And at some point saying "ok, now I've dealt with this enough. The time for looking at this is over. I will never worry about it again!"

    Since 12/2004, I have been dx'ed twice with cancer (rectal followed by breast, unrelated, both in the lymph system). My beau's dad died 2 weeks after my dx. My ex-hubby (we were friends) died. 3 weeks later, my youngest daughter passed. My beau had serious heart trouble...that's just the top of the list... there's more. I haven't forgotten these things, I loved these people...but I don't rehash the dark stuff around their deaths.

    There was a point where I became numb. But then dealt with stuff, and there's no looking back. I'm no hero, and no better than anyone else. I've just learned that since I fought like heck to save my life...I need to live it to the fullest!!!!

    Time can be a friend, but also an enemy if you are not happy....feel free to come here and vent, we have all had our moments! The fact that you are 10 years out is GREAT!!! 10 years of living!!! YEA!!!

    My 2 cents' worth. I attended a seminar on grief after I lost my first patient partner. I learned that there is a cycle to these things. Grief, anger, loss, sadness....Imagine a circle. We get stuck in the circle, talking about it, keeping the thoughts alive, until one day we say "OK! That's enough about this!" And exit the circle.

    What you are feeling is normal. The hard part is to look it full in the face so that you can leave the circle and get on with living!!! If I can do this, you can, too!!!

    Hugs, Kathi

    HI Grammy 3
    First welcome to the boards. Glad you found us even if it took 10 years. They say write out you feeling, a journel. That did not work for me. I was so glad when I found this site. You will find it to be a great place to have questions answered and to vent.
  • jk1952
    jk1952 Member Posts: 613
    Options
    Kat11 said:

    HI Grammy 3
    First welcome to the boards. Glad you found us even if it took 10 years. They say write out you feeling, a journel. That did not work for me. I was so glad when I found this site. You will find it to be a great place to have questions answered and to vent.

    Grammy 3, welcome to this
    Grammy 3, welcome to this discussion board. No one wants to be a member of this club, but we're glad that you found the site. I was diagnosed 10 years ago also; the original tests were done in the fall of 1999, but it wasn't determined to be invasive cancer until early 2000.

    I loved Kathi M's comparison to a closed box holding lots of things until it just can't hold anything more. You've had a lot of stressors in your life, and it sounds like you haven't had anyone that you felt you could trust to talk to about them. When someone has broken a trust, it is so hard to trust again.

    Please make this your safe haven and discuss your fears and feelings. I would also suggest that you try to find a psychiatrist, someone who can treat you through medication and talking. My mother suffered through several depressions, and we were so thankful for the help that a psychiatrist could give her. I would recommend a general psychiatrist, not just one that treats cancer patients, since your problems and the triggers for your depression are not just cancer related. I'm the first to admit that I don't know how to find the right person to help you. If you have a good relationship with your PCP (primary care physician), that's where I would start. You might also have an Employee Assistance Program at work.

    Please believe that if you can put these things behind you, there is a wonderful life post-cancer.

    Joyce
  • carkris
    carkris Member Posts: 4,553 Member
    Options
    jk1952 said:

    Grammy 3, welcome to this
    Grammy 3, welcome to this discussion board. No one wants to be a member of this club, but we're glad that you found the site. I was diagnosed 10 years ago also; the original tests were done in the fall of 1999, but it wasn't determined to be invasive cancer until early 2000.

    I loved Kathi M's comparison to a closed box holding lots of things until it just can't hold anything more. You've had a lot of stressors in your life, and it sounds like you haven't had anyone that you felt you could trust to talk to about them. When someone has broken a trust, it is so hard to trust again.

    Please make this your safe haven and discuss your fears and feelings. I would also suggest that you try to find a psychiatrist, someone who can treat you through medication and talking. My mother suffered through several depressions, and we were so thankful for the help that a psychiatrist could give her. I would recommend a general psychiatrist, not just one that treats cancer patients, since your problems and the triggers for your depression are not just cancer related. I'm the first to admit that I don't know how to find the right person to help you. If you have a good relationship with your PCP (primary care physician), that's where I would start. You might also have an Employee Assistance Program at work.

    Please believe that if you can put these things behind you, there is a wonderful life post-cancer.

    Joyce

    also the depression can be
    also the depression can be related to post traumatic stress. It is healthy and freeing to discuss with someone safe how you feel. although scary at first it can go a long way into making your life happier.
  • Balentine
    Balentine Member Posts: 393
    Options
    carkris said:

    also the depression can be
    also the depression can be related to post traumatic stress. It is healthy and freeing to discuss with someone safe how you feel. although scary at first it can go a long way into making your life happier.

    KathiM has much wisdom in her words
    When I read KathiM's post all I can say is it showed a strength unmatched. It is amazing how adversity can make you so much stronger. They say that what does not kill you makes you stronger. However, like Granny, I too tend to be a melancholy spirit that stays in that circle for far too long that you talked about. Adversity only makes you stronger if you take the stance that you are determined for it to make you BETTER and not BITTER. Personality has alot to do with what we all do with our baggage that we carry through life. Those of us that live in the more negative mode most of the time HAVE to pick ourselves up by the back of our necks and continue moving on toward the life God had predestined for us to live. He does not want us to stay in depressed mode...His will is for us to get on with the next thing. A good biblical story for this was when Jesus was praying in the garden of Gethsemene and asked his disciples to pray. He came back several times to find them sleeping and finally the 3rd time He came back and just said..."Rise, let us be going." In essence He continually tells us that when we fall and fail to do His will in various circumstances, that He encourages to rise...to get back up....to go on to the next test and forget the failures of the past tests until we finally overcome and learn to deal with adversity in a healthy way. It is WHAT we do to deal with life's bitter moments that matter and that can lead us to a better way to live instead of a bitter way that He never intended us to have. John 16:31....Jesus answered them, do you now believe? Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own and will leave me alone. And yet I am not alone because the Father is with Me. THESE THINGS I HAVE SPOKEN TO YOU THAT IN ME YOU MAY HAVE PEACE. IN THE WORLD YOU WILL HAVE TRIBULATION BUT BE OF GOOD CHEER, I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.....Love and Hugs,
    Lorrie