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attitude changes in suriviors

Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2005

I'm 18, I had treatment for bone cancer on and off from when I was 12 until I was 15. I am very negative, apathetic, pessemistic, suspicious, belligerant, and reckless at times. Also I can be very callous. I know that past experiences with cancer can have huge effects on you life views and attitude later on, has anyone noticed things like this about themselves, or know where I can get literature on it?

tiggertoo's picture
Posts: 26
Joined: Mar 2003

Have you seen a counselor, psychiatrist? I was diagnosed with depression 2 years before I was diagnosed with leukemia 3 years ago. At diagnosis my medication was doubled and when treatment was over I had to go into serious counseling and was seeing both a psychiatrist and psychologist. (one can proscribe meds, the other NOT) The full impact of the changes in my life and my new "normal" didn't hit me until after remission. If you are not on anti-depressants they also may be worth a try -- just to help you cope while you work thru any emotional issues. I don't think it is unusual for us to "act out" after surviving the biggest battle of our lives to date! Hang in there and purse happiness, we CAN find it again! Love, tiggertoo

Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 2010

I hope you don't mind a question. I had my right kidney removed in Feb 2009 due to cancer and now am finding that my tolerance for they way people treat each other is really low. I don't really feel depressed but rather angery at how some people act. Best way to discribe it is I don't feel I should have to tolerate the game players or fake people- did you every experience anything like that? just curious as I am looking into counseling because sometimes its hard to control my mouth with these types of people and I have found I have to put my hand over it to prevent angry words from popping out.
any words of advice would be greatly appreciated
thank you

kitandkat's picture
Posts: 11
Joined: Sep 2010

I wouldn't say I've experienced an attitude *change* because I had a bone marrow transplant as a baby... being the sick/formerly sick person was never a change for me if that makes sense. (This took me awhile to figure out! I went to some survivor meetings and didn't relate to some people and I figured out it was just because I don't know what it's like to change from healthy to cancer. I've always been on the latter end.)

BUT to answer your specific question, yes, I feel that way and I've always felt that way. I guess we know life is too short to put up with stupidity. I have done things a few times... in 6th grade I had surgery on my feet and was in a wheelchair while I had the casts. My homeroom/math teacher thought I couldn't/shouldn't push the chair by myself and neither could my friends so she would insist that she had to push the chair everywhere. Well, that annoyed the hell out of me so one day my friends and I decided that I would keep the brakes on the wheelchair when the teacher came up to me to push me to the next class. Sure enough, the woman had never handled a wheelchair before this and thought it was broken/stuck. My friend came up, I discreetly undid the brakes, and off we went. After doing this a few times, my teacher gave up. And no, she never found out... but that was tons of fun and I'm still friends with one of the girls and we laugh about it till this day. I guess that doesn't really help because you want to stop being impulsive, but just to say I relate to that...

Overall though I am pretty quiet so it's really rare for me to lash out at people. But I think maybe you could learn to channel that energy into something positive? It's good to call people out and have a low stupidity tolerance sometimes, like at a job - maybe volunteer to lead a project? I know I've been told I'm a good leader because I'm good at keeping people on task and don't put up with excuses. I think my low BS meter is good at helping me be assertive and that's not a bad thing. Even something as simple as letting a cashier know when someone rudely/loudly starts placing their order on top of your voice (this has happened to me a few times because my voice is soft maybe?) that you are next can be extremely satisfying!

Edit: to the OP, I agree, seeing a therapist might be a good idea! There is absolutely no shame in doing so :) I think your emotions are probably pretty natural after going through such a big change in your life. Maybe you could also try channeling your emotions into something you enjoy like writing or music.

DIVA's picture
Posts: 38
Joined: Apr 2005

I think that we all change with the cancer diagnosis and treatment. I wanted to be crazy and wild and just my age and I just didnt do it because in reality it was not me at all. I let my life change me. I did see a shrink but I did not need to because I was fine but my doctor recomended all young survivors he treated see a counsler or shrink. I would recomend talking to us on here and talking to your doctor about it. I am sure that others have been through similar situations...


Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2005

I'm new here, but its my pessimisms, suspicion, and anger that sent me searching the internet for fellow survivors. I'm now 27, 15 years since treatment, and I still have to remind myself daily that I'm not a victim, but victorious.

Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2009

i hear you. i am a year out of treatment and more messed up than i ever was it seems

lilmom2's picture
Posts: 14
Joined: Jan 2003

I think that attitude changes are actually pretty normal. Especially for those of us who fought this battle as teenagers. The teen years are often some of the most critical in our lives as far as finding ourselves, etc. When you take and toss in "oh, you've got cancer". That changes things. It makes us change. I mean where our peers are concerned with the latest hair styles and who's the hottest in the gym class...we're more concerned with "am I going to still be here tomorrow". That's a BIG diffrence. In many cases we are forced to grow up faster than we should. And I think that realizing one's own mortality (especially at a young age) has a lasting impact. I was 16 at the time of my diagnosis and treatment. I beat it, but when I returned to school the next year, I was a totally diffrent person. I didn't act the same or think the same. It's was odd. I suddenly had nothing at all in common with my friends. Ended up having to make new friends when I finially found some that weren't ashamed to hang out with the "cancer kid".

Talking to someone about it all might do you a lot of good. There are times now that I find it helps to just talk to someone about how I feel and what I fear. And I'm now 10 years past treatment. It's like I told my husband, I have this demon that sort of follows me around, messes with me from time to time, and has every intention of haunting me for the rest of my life. Please excuse me when I decide that I need a doctor's appointment or I begin to get this really worried look on my face when something that I can't explain is going wrong with me. I am one who demands answers. Today I was crying and my husband had no idea why. The reason was because I'm afraid of what COULD come back in my lab tests.

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