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Memory, Concentration Problems and Depression

Posts: 10
Joined: Jul 2000

I am trying to regain my strength after breast cancer by working out. How can I stay motivated when I get so tired and hurt in so many places? I ended up with both rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis and a difficult intestinal problem after surgery and chemotherapy. I used to manage depression and actually get rid of it by exercising, so it is very difficult when I cannot. I also have a severe memory and concentration problem. Does anyone else have similar concerns?

nancy levy
Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2000

I am a cancer survivor also and due to radiation therpy my back hurts all the time. I use to love to do all kinds of things but now I hurt even carrying a laundry basket. So I do only what I know I can handle. I like to bowl and by me easing into the sport I can bowl one day a week. But I still have to take pain pills at times.

Posts: 10
Joined: Jul 2000

Hi Nancy,

I didn't know that radiation caused such problems too. I am trying to do things gradually, but pain pills only help some. I am on 3 medicantions for rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. One of them takes months to work and may be begining to now (after 4 months of taking it.) Have you had any physical therapy? I've had some for my lower back and am now starting it for my upper back and neck. I have osteoarthritis of the spine. Can't even sew or do anything that causes my head and neck to bend down. I really would like to play golf again, but I am afraid to hope for that much now. thanks for responding,

tcbangels's picture
Posts: 114
Joined: Jun 2001

I just read about memory concentration,I can't believe everything that was said was me.I thought that I was the only person like that.I'm always being corrected on things I say telling me it never happen.I go through the same thing to.There's not to much that I can do.I gain a lot of weight when I was on tamoxifen,I had already had herninated disc in back but didn't know when gain weight show up.I stay on pain pills & nerve medicine which don't help .I got rhemotoid arthritis in hands, real bad my fingers got big knots in nuckles.I have a lot emotional problemns, with this & fluid on my breast that i lost, under arm & top of back.I will not give up & one day i'm going to get better & so will you.I don't mean to upset you on your problemns but when i read these articles it just gets to me because i see i'm not alone there is other people like me,we sold our house it was just to big for us & my husband not well either ,we bought a camper its kind of small but getting use to it.I couldn't do housework no more but i still did no matter how much it hurt.they found i have problemns in neck & arm with so much fluid in it .I'm in pain but i keep on trying & thats what i want to tell you.Don't give up .since I'm in this camper & I bought a computer to & see all of you on it makes me feel better so don't give up that son is going to shine again i can see that son now starting to peek out over those cloudy days ilove this computer it has change my life so much, This is what my LORD wanted me to have.I say this besides my Lord & family this network is the best medicine for people with emotional problemns with cancee.I'm sorry if i upset you because that is not what i want to do i just want to help people in my situation
i'm praying for you

Posts: 4
Joined: Nov 2001

Yes, Yes, Yes. I have been living with metastatic breast cancer since '81. In the 80's and 90's all doctors denied the memory problems -- now I learn from a friend recently diagnosed that new patients are told there may be congnitive problems that may last up to 10 yrs after treatment. I also believe that depression is a natural reaction to living with cancer. It is a big shock and a big threat with many losses attached that most people, even friends and family, either fail to realize or chose to ignore to protect themselves. That is part of why I am here. Only those who "have been there" can really understand. My depression has intensified over the years and is now considered chronic and refractory [ie it keeps coming back]. I have been through a number of antidepressants and am currenly on celexa. But other problems related to the cancer issue keep coming up that trigger the depression again and again. Currently it is the Presbyterian church of which I am a minister member trying to dump me off their disability program because I didn't die when the doctor said I would and nothing else including the depression count. Sorry, I digressed from you to me. I am also a social worker and recognize that the symptoms we experience, memory and concentration problems are symptoms of both problems and more. The pain resulting from the arthritits also chronically drains us of engery and adds to the above. I also have osteoarthritis, osteoporsis as a result of radiation, and fibromyalgia. What helps me most is learning to pace myself which is a constant process since what is too much is only defined by doing it and paying the price of pain and exhaustion. Connecting with others is the next most helpful thing for me -- especially with those who listen, care and understans. I'll stop for now.

Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2002

I am also going through the same things you are for the past couple months. I am a carcinoid survivor with the second recurrance of this illness since 12/01. I went through my third treatment of chemo last month and was admitted into the hospital because the chemo was to hard on me. Since then I have not been able to regain my strength, also as you have severe memory and concentration problems of which I cannot get into my correspondence course because i cannot remember what i've read a sentence ago. I too am dealing with intestinal problems because that is where some of my cancer is and have gone thru 8 abdominal surgeries, 2 (12 wk) rounds of chemo and am dealing with osteo-arthritis. I can only tell you that I know how you feel not being able to get motivated when your constantly tired and hurt in so many places.
I try to talk myself into beleiving that things are that bad and that works for a short period of time and all this stuff you mentioned gets in the way. I started what I call cancer counseling last week and my next session is Friday. I'm hoping this will help me get back to some kind of life worth living. I'm one who always loved to keep busy no matter what it was I was into, I loved reading, etc. Please know I know how you feel and would love to keep in touch with and maybe we both could help each other through all these awful feelings.
take care,

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