6 Years cured, struggling with anxiety/depression

Hey guys,

This is my first post here, so thank you all for reading what I have to say.

I was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma at the age of 15. I underwent 15 rounds of chemo and a surgery to replace most of my femur with a titanium internal prosthesis. The whole thing took about a year.

After I was done I had trouble returning to high school, as I would have panic attacks in class that left my unable to function well. I was also incredibly depressed, and I eventually got on a dose of zoloft and started seeing a counselor, which helped within a matter of months. I was eventually taken off the medication and able to enjoy school. I ended up getting my GED to save time, as my credits were behind, and I was able to go straight off to college.

Now I'm about to graduate college, and I've been struggling with more anxiety/depression for the past year and a half. I don't know what happened, but I know that it kicked back in when I started dating more. All my anxious triggers find their roots in chemotherapy. Throwing up in the morning due to nausea, losing my appetite, feelings of restlessness. I still cannot find it within myself to date comfortably, as I feel nobody understands these problems I have. 

I also find that there is a subtle maturity difference between myself and the women I date, as well as many people around me who've never had a disease. Not that I've surpassed my peers, in fact I feel emotionally immature in a lot of ways compared to my friends, but there is a certain focus and perspective that I don't see in a lot of people I know. It sounds dark, and possibly egotistical, but I just get the feeling like many people around me don't know what true sadness is, and will never really know what it's like to have their lives shaken like mine was. I feel very alone in this respect, and I'm afraid it will be a burden I carry with me forever.

I am tired of being sick in my head like this. I'm afraid of things that shouldn't be frightening(classrooms, eating food in stressful settings), and can't envision myself being autonomously happy any time soon.

Has anybody else experienced this years down the road from childhood cancer? I'd feel better if I could talk to somebody with a similar experience.


  • Mary N.
    Mary N. Member Posts: 100
    I was older when I was dx but

    I was older when I was dx but as I read your post I thought I would reply anyway.  In life things do come back and haunt us and affect us in different ways and even when we though we had addressed what ever the situation was.  I would really say find a counselor again.  You still have things that you must work through.  You had a very stressful year, your life was changed over night.  That is a lot no matter how old you are.  Be well!

  • NoTimeForCancer
    NoTimeForCancer Member Posts: 3,247 Member
    I agree with Mary N

    I don't think you are "sick in the head".  Consider finding someone to talk to again.  You said how much it helped the first time and sounds like you need a "booster" of guidance by someone best trained to help.  

  • atma9
    atma9 Member Posts: 3
    your perspective

    Life is filled with moments that forever change our perspectives and focus and teach us what is truly important. It is a sign of your maturity and healthy introspection that you can identifty and articulate your feelings. I agree with other posts that you should find a professional to talk to and to make sure you have all of the support you need, but also I strongly encourage you to let other people (friends, potential romantic partners) in on how you feel. They may not have been through the same things you have, but don't underestimate their potential ability to empathize and love you for who you are. Part of who you are now is undeniably attached to your cancer and treatment history - it does not have to define and control your life but it will always be a part of it. Happiness or contentedness is a choice - and one you will be able to make. Talk to professionals, let your friends in, and know that those who matter love the whole you - titanium rod, chemo flashbacks, worries and anxieties and all. 

    I know this for a fact. My husband was diagnosed with a rare cancer four years ago when he was 31, has had almost continuous treatment of all kinds, including surgery and titanium rod placement in his femur. Our life is nothing I would ever have imagined - but nonetheless it is our life and I still love and cherish him as much, or more, than the first day we met (we were 18) when he seemed immortal to me. 

    We wish you all the best - and trust in the fact that you can be happy. Maybe not everyday all of the time, but if you choose contentment and equanimity you can live that way. I, too, struggle with this every day but I know it is possible.