Newly diagnosed and unable to cope

I preface by say that I also have panic and anxiety disorder and PTSD, so its nearly impossible for me to control my thoughts and emotions. I have been in complete turmoil since the shocking diagnoses. My level of stress as caused my BP to be at stroke levels. I dont know how to calm down when my entire life has been upended. I am having hourly breakdowns. I cant eat or sleep. Ive been scouring the net for support groups and chatrooms. I have no support system. Im alone as far as having someone to talk to that share the same experience. All I can think about is the worse. How much pain I will be in, how sick I will be, how much time i have left, my family. I just turned 40, with all of these goals and aspirations and everything just stops. I cant take my mind off it, i cant watch a movie or read a book. Even at work im breaking down. I have a lot of abdominal pain also. 

 

Its shocking for obvious reason but more so because I just took a colonoscopy 5-6 months ago and it was clear. Now I have meatball sized tumors and its has possibly spread. Even they doctors told me that would be unusually superfast. Theyre trying to determine what is the next course of action. I also do not have medical insurance. I have had my ct scans, MRI and seeing them through a non profit medical clinic's referal but of course I will have to find a way to afford surgery or chemo if that is what is next. 

 

I just need a friend. I need support, someone to talk through this with me. Anyone please. It was insinuated to me that I may not have much time left so im in a world of hurt and mental/emotional anguish the likes ive never experience before and just need someone to talk to. 

 

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Comments

  • SandiaBuddy
    SandiaBuddy Member Posts: 1,276 Member
    Take a deep breath

    Your situation sounds dire, but it is also puzzling.  Colon cancer is slow-growing and generally takes about ten years to develop to a crisis level.  CT scans are not completely reliable.  After my surgery, they saw what might be a large tumor on my CT scan.  It led to many sleepless nights.  There was also the possibility it was digestive matter.  Finally, after six weeks I was able to get a follow-up colonoscopy and there was no tumor.  All of the anxiety was simply over a mis-read CT scan.

    Some on this forum find meditation a useful tool.  You do not even need to read a book.  Simply slow down and take three conscious breaths.  If you do get to the point you can read, try "You are Here."

    Sorry you are here, but I think there may be cause for you to request additional information from your physicians before you conclude the worst is happening.

  • manapart
    manapart Member Posts: 67
    Thank you so much for replying...

    Ive taking a hundred deep breaths. Intinally when they spoke with me I was inudated with just morbid and negative news about the severity of it all and that i may only have 3-8 months to live. I feel its very uncompassionate to be giving out that information and statistic like jus a hour before I was told I have cancer. I would have requested not to know what stage or any prognosis. Just tell me what I need to do to give myself the best possible chance for a cure or remission. There was no talk of that, just basically maybe this and maybe that and theres no cure. At one point with my mother sitting at bedsisde sobbing i yelled for them to just give us privacy for a minute.

    My last CT scan was 4 years ago and it was clear, the colonoscopy was i think 6-7 months ago, and was clear. How two tumors grew the size of meatballs and spread to other organs in that short of time even surprised them. I must just be the most snakebitten unluckiest person ever. 

    Im hearing the worse part of cancer isnt even the cancer, its the chemo. So im worried about that as well and even how i will be able to afford it with no insurance and i definitely will lose my job soon. 

    I will try You are Here, thank you for the recommendations. I will know more(bad news) next week after a colonoscopy and biopsy. So hopefully it will at least be operatable, if not then i know what that means. And there is nothing more profoundly difficult than to think about the end. 

  • SandiaBuddy
    SandiaBuddy Member Posts: 1,276 Member
    manapart said:

    Thank you so much for replying...

    Ive taking a hundred deep breaths. Intinally when they spoke with me I was inudated with just morbid and negative news about the severity of it all and that i may only have 3-8 months to live. I feel its very uncompassionate to be giving out that information and statistic like jus a hour before I was told I have cancer. I would have requested not to know what stage or any prognosis. Just tell me what I need to do to give myself the best possible chance for a cure or remission. There was no talk of that, just basically maybe this and maybe that and theres no cure. At one point with my mother sitting at bedsisde sobbing i yelled for them to just give us privacy for a minute.

    My last CT scan was 4 years ago and it was clear, the colonoscopy was i think 6-7 months ago, and was clear. How two tumors grew the size of meatballs and spread to other organs in that short of time even surprised them. I must just be the most snakebitten unluckiest person ever. 

    Im hearing the worse part of cancer isnt even the cancer, its the chemo. So im worried about that as well and even how i will be able to afford it with no insurance and i definitely will lose my job soon. 

    I will try You are Here, thank you for the recommendations. I will know more(bad news) next week after a colonoscopy and biopsy. So hopefully it will at least be operatable, if not then i know what that means. And there is nothing more profoundly difficult than to think about the end. 

    Mortality

    Mortality is reality for all living things.  It is just that a cancer diagnosis makes it all the more real.  Perhaps you are getting a bit ahead of yourself and you should wait for the new colonoscopy and biopsy before drawing any conclusions.  And there are a lot of hours to live life between now and then.

    If you live in the US, there is always a way to pay for health care.  Talk to the social worker or financial aid person at the hospital.  They likely can help.

    Good luck to you.

  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,643 Member
    Typical response

    I think very few people here, who were diagnosed or had their loved one diagnosed, experienced the very same reactions as you did. It is just natural.  It has nothign to do with depression, though I don't doubt that will play a part in how you approach the diagnosis. 

    Just know that once you are past the initial shock, where anything and everything looks like death and dispare, things will start to fall into place.  There are others on the forum who are having financial difficulties, and they can share how they are coping. There are still more folks who suffer depression and anxiety, they too can help you. 

    Just know that what you are feeling is totally normal.  Like Sandia said, try to step back and catch your breath. It WILL settle down, but YOU have to work at it as well. 

    OK, I must go, but alas I have more to say - as always. 

    Hang in there. Even if you have to hang by your finger nails. It WILL get better. And you CAN beat it. 

    Tru

  • Lovekitties
    Lovekitties Member Posts: 3,364 Member
    edited February 2019 #6
    More info please

    So sorry you had reason to find us, but this forum is known for its helpful and compassionate folks.

    Some additional info would be helpful...do you live in the USA?  If so, what state?  This might help folks to give you more specific info.

    Also if in the USA, you might want to contact the closest American Cancer Society office to see what resources they can either help you with or guide you to.

    You mention that you have panic and anxiety and PTSD, I assume from before diagnosis, are you being treated for these conditions?  Even under the best of circumstances, these conditions are nearly impossible to overcome by yourself.

    A cancer diagnosis is daunting for anyone and sometimes more so for those who care about us.  It is possible to survive cancer, but it requires work and a positive attitude.  Regardless of how many days, months, years you have left, don't let cancer take all the joy from you.  Every day is a gift, even the bad ones.

    Stay in touch and the folks here will try to help you with the cancer related issues.

    Marie who loves kitties

  • manapart
    manapart Member Posts: 67

    More info please

    So sorry you had reason to find us, but this forum is known for its helpful and compassionate folks.

    Some additional info would be helpful...do you live in the USA?  If so, what state?  This might help folks to give you more specific info.

    Also if in the USA, you might want to contact the closest American Cancer Society office to see what resources they can either help you with or guide you to.

    You mention that you have panic and anxiety and PTSD, I assume from before diagnosis, are you being treated for these conditions?  Even under the best of circumstances, these conditions are nearly impossible to overcome by yourself.

    A cancer diagnosis is daunting for anyone and sometimes more so for those who care about us.  It is possible to survive cancer, but it requires work and a positive attitude.  Regardless of how many days, months, years you have left, don't let cancer take all the joy from you.  Every day is a gift, even the bad ones.

    Stay in touch and the folks here will try to help you with the cancer related issues.

    Marie who loves kitties

    info

    I live in Memphis TN, which has very strict laws on mediaid and other finacial means for treatment. Im honestly not sure what I would be willing to do even if I could afford it. Surgery and radiation would be fine but chemo i would need time to think about. My anxiety disorder makes everything worse. I have withdrawn from everyone. Im just emotionally paralyzed. Maybe itll wear off in a couple weeks, maybe itll get worse. I want so badly to apply what you are encouraging, that even if i only had days left to enjoy them, but at this moment i find it impossible cos of how much fear and panic im experiencing. How do you find peace knowing the gift of life is being ripped away. 

  • manapart
    manapart Member Posts: 67
    I am a mess

    i just watched a hour long video on youtube about a woman who... god bless her... fought cancer for 2 1/2 years and she described so many details so vividly and it crystalized how awful the treatments and surgeries are. She finally gave up treatment cos it was not improving anything and she lost 90% of her vision, could not even walk or do activities anymore. I broke down at the end where her partner talked about her decision and that she was in a better place. And the line that got me was "she is finally cancer free." 

    Im not sure i am made for this kind of fight. I am not a strong person. I have very low threshold for pain and sickness. All I can do is try but I have lost everything. My joy, my smile, I cant laugh, my concentration, my interest in anything, my refuge in things i enjoy. My entire life 24/7 is now this and every tormenting thought, emotional, panic attack, even dream. My feelings right now are very raw and real, and im trying to listen to those who can give me hope who have survived and been cured. I shouldnt have watched that particular vid but she has the same dx as me. Im in so much anguish. Forgive me. Thanks for your encouragement. I need all I can get at this point. 

  • Kazenmax
    Kazenmax Member Posts: 458 Member
    manapart said:

    I am a mess

    i just watched a hour long video on youtube about a woman who... god bless her... fought cancer for 2 1/2 years and she described so many details so vividly and it crystalized how awful the treatments and surgeries are. She finally gave up treatment cos it was not improving anything and she lost 90% of her vision, could not even walk or do activities anymore. I broke down at the end where her partner talked about her decision and that she was in a better place. And the line that got me was "she is finally cancer free." 

    Im not sure i am made for this kind of fight. I am not a strong person. I have very low threshold for pain and sickness. All I can do is try but I have lost everything. My joy, my smile, I cant laugh, my concentration, my interest in anything, my refuge in things i enjoy. My entire life 24/7 is now this and every tormenting thought, emotional, panic attack, even dream. My feelings right now are very raw and real, and im trying to listen to those who can give me hope who have survived and been cured. I shouldnt have watched that particular vid but she has the same dx as me. Im in so much anguish. Forgive me. Thanks for your encouragement. I need all I can get at this point. 

    im so sorry you are going

    im so sorry you are going through this. I know how devastating this diagnosis can be. But I will tell you that all your worry and panic is not changing anything. Stop. Take a breath. I know it’s all consuming but you are going to need to get your ducks in a row. please don’t give up before you start. Don’t go looking on YouTube for answers. Talk to your doctor. Tell him you need help with dealing with all this. Call the American cancer society. I wish I could jump through the internet and give you a hug. 

    You have no choice. You have to deal with this. One step at a time.

    k

  • Lovekitties
    Lovekitties Member Posts: 3,364 Member
    manapart said:

    info

    I live in Memphis TN, which has very strict laws on mediaid and other finacial means for treatment. Im honestly not sure what I would be willing to do even if I could afford it. Surgery and radiation would be fine but chemo i would need time to think about. My anxiety disorder makes everything worse. I have withdrawn from everyone. Im just emotionally paralyzed. Maybe itll wear off in a couple weeks, maybe itll get worse. I want so badly to apply what you are encouraging, that even if i only had days left to enjoy them, but at this moment i find it impossible cos of how much fear and panic im experiencing. How do you find peace knowing the gift of life is being ripped away. 

    and more

    Thanks for adding info.  I too had no medical insurance when diagnosed.  While I live in VA, I was able to get financial assistance for medical costs. 

    First of all, be up front with all medical providers regarding your financial situation.  Many will work with you and not turn you away.  My hospital is a non-profit and was able to get me a federal grant for their costs.  As it turned out, my surgeon was also attached to hospital so his costs were covered as well.  This was not Medicaid or any other long term assistance.

    You didn't mention if you were being treated for the anxiety disorder.  You definately need to find a doctor to help you with that since it sounds like you are in a particularly bad situation.

    The best thing you can do for yourself is to make up your mind to do what you can to make the best of what you have.  You have to be willing to put one foot forward every day.  You are right, life is a gift.  It is one most folks take for granted...it has always been there and will be until we are old and grey.  We are all mortal.  Today is the time we have.  If you squander today you can never get it back.

    Fight is what we all have to do.  I have read so many times here about folks who refuse to let cancer take their joy of living from them, regardless of what time they have left.  If you give up, withdraw, whatever, you are letting cancer have more control of your life than it has to have.  You are the only one who can keep that from happening.

    Don't go looking for statistics or such on the internet.  You are not a statistic.  Each person is unique and what works or doesn't work for one may have the opposite effect for another.

    Fear and anxiety can cloud your judgement.  That is why, now more than ever, you need to get help to overcome them.

    Wishing you the best,

    Marie who loves kitties

  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,643 Member
    manapart said:

    I am a mess

    i just watched a hour long video on youtube about a woman who... god bless her... fought cancer for 2 1/2 years and she described so many details so vividly and it crystalized how awful the treatments and surgeries are. She finally gave up treatment cos it was not improving anything and she lost 90% of her vision, could not even walk or do activities anymore. I broke down at the end where her partner talked about her decision and that she was in a better place. And the line that got me was "she is finally cancer free." 

    Im not sure i am made for this kind of fight. I am not a strong person. I have very low threshold for pain and sickness. All I can do is try but I have lost everything. My joy, my smile, I cant laugh, my concentration, my interest in anything, my refuge in things i enjoy. My entire life 24/7 is now this and every tormenting thought, emotional, panic attack, even dream. My feelings right now are very raw and real, and im trying to listen to those who can give me hope who have survived and been cured. I shouldnt have watched that particular vid but she has the same dx as me. Im in so much anguish. Forgive me. Thanks for your encouragement. I need all I can get at this point. 

    Tempted

    when you are tempted to hit Dr. Google or YouTube, come here instead.  There are lots of positive posts, lots of survivors, lots of honesty. 

    I'm not going to tell you that chemo is a joy ride, but for some people, it really wasn't too bad. For others, it wasn't a bed of roses. You don't know which one you will be.  

    To be honest, if you go into treatment thinking it is going to be worse than death, then it will. 

    I will tell you a story. When I moved from the lush green, green of England to the brown dry desert of Nevada, I KNEW i was going to HATE IT. And I did hate it, for seven long, painful years. Once I gave up on the hate, I soon came to realize that its really not that bad, and now it is home and I love it here.  How much easier would my seven awful years have been if I had moved with the right attitude 

    I hope you can get your into the right place, and know that your life is worth the fight.  We are here to bolster you up, and help you on this journey. You can do it. The plane fact that you have reached out to us, tells me that you have what it takes to fight the fight, and win.

    Tru

  • Christy76
    Christy76 Member Posts: 30
    edited February 2019 #12
    advice

    I'm so sorry for your diagnosis. I'm forty-two and was diagnosed with a large tumor about  a week ago. This may be difficult but the trick to coping is to accept what you can not change. None of us on this board can wave a magic wand and make our cancer go away so the best thing we can do is accept that is is there and that we have no control over that. Two weeks ago I was going to work and discussing with my girlfriend if we wanted to move from this area of the country. Today I am on disability through my employer and facing chemo and radiation treatments. As the old insurance commericals used to say "Life comes at you fast."

    If you can, take a deep breath and try to steady your nerves. Facing a serious illness takes a level head and if your anxiety is up it makes it that much more difficult. I would avoid watching videos about cancer patients for the time being as that may make things worse for your anxiety. Take it one step at a time and do not overwhelm yourself. For instance as of right now I have a PET scan coming up in a few days. I'm not worrying myself with what comes after that I'm just going to go for the scan and then when they tell me I will show up for the next medical procedure. Looking too far ahead can be overwhelming.

    Not to sound morbid but cancer could take us and we don't know if we will die but neither does anyone else. No one knows what will happen to them on any given day. A perfectly healthy adult could be struck by lightening. The reason I mention this is to let us all know that in that respect we are no different from anyone else. We live our lives day to day like the next person. You can handle this don't underestimate yourself.

    If you can find a mental health therapist they can help with the anxiety. I wish you the best of luck. I know you can do this.

    Christy

     

  • manapart
    manapart Member Posts: 67

    and more

    Thanks for adding info.  I too had no medical insurance when diagnosed.  While I live in VA, I was able to get financial assistance for medical costs. 

    First of all, be up front with all medical providers regarding your financial situation.  Many will work with you and not turn you away.  My hospital is a non-profit and was able to get me a federal grant for their costs.  As it turned out, my surgeon was also attached to hospital so his costs were covered as well.  This was not Medicaid or any other long term assistance.

    You didn't mention if you were being treated for the anxiety disorder.  You definately need to find a doctor to help you with that since it sounds like you are in a particularly bad situation.

    The best thing you can do for yourself is to make up your mind to do what you can to make the best of what you have.  You have to be willing to put one foot forward every day.  You are right, life is a gift.  It is one most folks take for granted...it has always been there and will be until we are old and grey.  We are all mortal.  Today is the time we have.  If you squander today you can never get it back.

    Fight is what we all have to do.  I have read so many times here about folks who refuse to let cancer take their joy of living from them, regardless of what time they have left.  If you give up, withdraw, whatever, you are letting cancer have more control of your life than it has to have.  You are the only one who can keep that from happening.

    Don't go looking for statistics or such on the internet.  You are not a statistic.  Each person is unique and what works or doesn't work for one may have the opposite effect for another.

    Fear and anxiety can cloud your judgement.  That is why, now more than ever, you need to get help to overcome them.

    Wishing you the best,

    Marie who loves kitties

    and more

    yes, ive suffered from depression and anxiety disorders from a young age. I also have PTSD and OCD.  I take medication and see a therapist but it has had minimal effect. I always describe it as my mind being hijacked. I feel the worse, I think the worse, I fear the worse. And until something positive happens or changes I have not been able to develop a mechanism to will my mind into a more positive and hopeful state. I feel like once I get a complete picture next week, one of two things will happen... it will be bad news and I will spiral even worse than I am now, or I will get a tiny bit of hope, a plan, and something I can hold on to and go into fight mode. I cant accept 3-8 months. All I have been doing is researching the negative aspects of surgery, chemo, hospice care, etc. I want to focus on remission and a cure. I dont know when this shock will wear off, it is the most traumatic event i have every experience, but if I can just get one small hopeful silver lining, just someone to tell me this is absolutely doable, then that is all i need to hear.... not 3-8 months. 

    I unfortunately do not have a support system. This site and my weekly 30 min therapist appointment is about it. The medication im on only makes me drowsy, it doesnt decrease the burning i feel inside, and the panic and anxiety racking my brain. 

    Whatever I have to do I will try. I will put up a fight, i wont just lay down and accept this. As long as I get results I can be hopeful. And maybe find a little peace. I wish you the best as well and thank you Marie

  • manapart
    manapart Member Posts: 67
    Christy76 said:

    advice

    I'm so sorry for your diagnosis. I'm forty-two and was diagnosed with a large tumor about  a week ago. This may be difficult but the trick to coping is to accept what you can not change. None of us on this board can wave a magic wand and make our cancer go away so the best thing we can do is accept that is is there and that we have no control over that. Two weeks ago I was going to work and discussing with my girlfriend if we wanted to move from this area of the country. Today I am on disability through my employer and facing chemo and radiation treatments. As the old insurance commericals used to say "Life comes at you fast."

    If you can, take a deep breath and try to steady your nerves. Facing a serious illness takes a level head and if your anxiety is up it makes it that much more difficult. I would avoid watching videos about cancer patients for the time being as that may make things worse for your anxiety. Take it one step at a time and do not overwhelm yourself. For instance as of right now I have a PET scan coming up in a few days. I'm not worrying myself with what comes after that I'm just going to go for the scan and then when they tell me I will show up for the next medical procedure. Looking too far ahead can be overwhelming.

    Not to sound morbid but cancer could take us and we don't know if we will die but neither does anyone else. No one knows what will happen to them on any given day. A perfectly healthy adult could be struck by lightening. The reason I mention this is to let us all know that in that respect we are no different from anyone else. We live our lives day to day like the next person. You can handle this don't underestimate yourself.

    If you can find a mental health therapist they can help with the anxiety. I wish you the best of luck. I know you can do this.

    Christy

     

    thank you Christy

    its means a lot... im trying to just bombard myself with as many positive people to interact with and take it one day at a time. If i cant harness control of my anxiety i can think more clearly maybe. I appreciate your kind words.

  • manapart
    manapart Member Posts: 67
    Trubrit said:

    Tempted

    when you are tempted to hit Dr. Google or YouTube, come here instead.  There are lots of positive posts, lots of survivors, lots of honesty. 

    I'm not going to tell you that chemo is a joy ride, but for some people, it really wasn't too bad. For others, it wasn't a bed of roses. You don't know which one you will be.  

    To be honest, if you go into treatment thinking it is going to be worse than death, then it will. 

    I will tell you a story. When I moved from the lush green, green of England to the brown dry desert of Nevada, I KNEW i was going to HATE IT. And I did hate it, for seven long, painful years. Once I gave up on the hate, I soon came to realize that its really not that bad, and now it is home and I love it here.  How much easier would my seven awful years have been if I had moved with the right attitude 

    I hope you can get your into the right place, and know that your life is worth the fight.  We are here to bolster you up, and help you on this journey. You can do it. The plane fact that you have reached out to us, tells me that you have what it takes to fight the fight, and win.

    Tru

    tru

    i think the reason im constantly researching things all day is because of the uncertainty and negativte outlook that was given to me by the doctors and surgeons. So I had this burning desire to know everything. When your driving, you want to see where your going, and that is part of my anxiety and I dont know what to expect. I need something to aim at and attack and right now, im just left in the dark in constant tears with nowhere to direct my anger. 

     

  • cnolte
    cnolte Member Posts: 1
    One thing I would suggest is

    One thing I would suggest is that you get on disability, probably SSDI, and get yourself qualified for Medicaid. That will give you income and Medicaid will be your health insurance. That way you can get the treatment you need and the income you need so that you can focus on getting well and not worry about money. I hope this helps.

     

  • Butt
    Butt Member Posts: 352

    Your family doctor should know places wher you can get a free care if you don t have insurance. There must be some sort of a community hospital where you can establish an oncologist and be able to get surgeries, chemos for free. Even illegal immigrants can get the whole treatment package. Butt.

  • manapart
    manapart Member Posts: 67
    cnolte said:

    One thing I would suggest is

    One thing I would suggest is that you get on disability, probably SSDI, and get yourself qualified for Medicaid. That will give you income and Medicaid will be your health insurance. That way you can get the treatment you need and the income you need so that you can focus on getting well and not worry about money. I hope this helps.

     

    working on that

    with my social worker but in TN she said it may take some time so we will see. Treatment will be in itself a full time job. If that isnt the definition of disabled I dont know what is. 

  • manapart
    manapart Member Posts: 67
    Butt said:

    Your family doctor should know places wher you can get a free care if you don t have insurance. There must be some sort of a community hospital where you can establish an oncologist and be able to get surgeries, chemos for free. Even illegal immigrants can get the whole treatment package. Butt.

    so far....

    my ct scans, mri, emergency room visits, and colonoscopy has been covered by a non profit clinic. But i was told they would not be able to cover my surgery, radiation or chemo if that is whats needed. 

  • Annabelle41415
    Annabelle41415 Member Posts: 6,715 Member
    Sorry

    Sorry you had to join this group but I'm so glad that you found us, especially with your anxiety levels, no one to talk to and recent diagnosis.  We are a great group here to help you get through this.  You've gotten some advice on how to get some medical help for free above so try that first.  After next week's appointment let us know how it goes.  Chemo and radiation are doable believe it or not.  We all react different but if you feel sick, they have something for you, if you feel tired then you rest, if you feel down then you have us to lean on.  You can get through this and we can help.  Wishing you the best and welcome to the boards.

    Kim

  • Annabelle41415
    Annabelle41415 Member Posts: 6,715 Member
    Internet

    BTW stay off the internet and Youtube.  The internet is full of inaccurate information and no one needs to watch a story about a person that goes through cancer.  Just not a good combination.

    Kim