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Depressed and lonely

Posts: 19
Joined: Oct 2005

I am at a loss where to go on the internet for help and understanding. In the past, when I was in treatment, or recovering from surgery, I felt I belonged here. But since I am currently cancer free, (by the Grace of God), I don't feel I have the right to be here, complaining. It sounds so wierd to say, but I felt I belonged to a group of friends when I had my cancer. I had a support group, friends, etc. Some of you know my story that my husband left me right after treatment, going on a year ago, and, well, I seem to have gotten worse instead of better. I am almost house bound, talking to no-one. I am not exagerating when I tell you I do not have one friend, except for my son. My phone does not ring, etc. I am not looking for pity. I am looking for support. I do not know where to turn and I search deeply for my purpose. God let me survive my cancer and I feel I am doing Him and injustice by this life. I was sure I would feel that rebirth feeling, appreciating the world, but instead I question my being. Please, help me.

Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

Dear dreamer,

I belong to 2 cancer clubs: breast (stage 1) and lung (stage 1). Both needed lots of surgery, neither needed chemo, so I find myself sometimes on the fringe of things. (One fellow patient told me I just had "baby cancer", but trust me my emotional reaction was about as bad as it gets!!!)However, I'm a great listener and one thing LOTS of my friends talk about is the let-down when chemo is over. They feel insecure about the future and if they have done enough and what if it comes back. . . and the lack of support when the doctors and nurses are no longer hoovering over them. And then there is the survivor's guilt to deal with. I deal constantly with the two extremes of "boy was I lucky!" and "when is the next ax going to fall?" Emotional upheaval seems to be a very common situation. But many have found a solution by helping others along. The survivors who meet in the chat room share their stories to encourage those in the trenches. I was just diagnosed with lung cancer last summer, so to hear from folks that have years since diagnosis behind them gives me hope. Some of my friends with breast cancer have joined up with groups that pair a long-term survivor with someone newly diagnosed so they can give back. A lady in church who is older and housebound takes it upon herself to send internet birthday cards, another makes a phone call to everyone who gets in the monthly newletter for a birthday or some other celebration. Still another tells the minister she prays for folks who are sick and mentioned in the newsletter. So maybe you can find support in the chat room or maybe you could find meaning in helping others in some way. The Wellness Community has a branch in my town and an internet site that offers support groups for a number of kinds of cancer survivors. You might call your local American Cancer Society to see if they recommend a particular internet site for after treatment support.

Another thing: lots of research has started to come out on the emotional ramifications of being diagnosed with cancer in the breast cancer research I read. They didn't used to have long term survivors so they never worried about that before, but medicine has improved so now it is being researched. This probably won't be news to you, but being diagnosed and treated for cancer ranks right up there with some of the most stressfull scary things anyone ever has to deal with. Post traumatic stress disorders and depression are VERY common among us cancer folks. Don't be afraid to talk about it with your oncologist and get a referral to a well trained social worker that counsels cancer patients. I did and mine helped a lot. Some of my other friends needed meds too, but for me exercise helps enough. Good luck!

Plymouthean's picture
Posts: 264
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi Dreamer925.
I'm a five+ year survivor of nsclc and curently in remission of NHL.
You should in no way feel any guilt about your survival of cancer. No one understands why some of us survive and others do not. It is not for us to question. It would be better if you are thankful that you have survived, and that you channel your energies toward helping others. In doing so, you will be amazed at how much you will be helping yourself.
You certainly do belong here, on CSN. In the past, you found hope and encouragement here. Now it is your turn to offer that hope and encouragement to others who are dealing with this monster we call cancer. Your experiences will help others cope with their own problems.
Another area which needs your attention is your isolation. I found that, in addition to my family, I needed other friends and aquaintances. I found them through volunteer work at my local hospital, where I had been treated. In addition to transporting patients and other errands, I had ample time to converse with my fellow volunteers. They were a widely varied and diverse mix of people, - young and older, who were very interesting to talk with. Although I no longer volunteer, due to physical limitations, I still have social contact with many of those people.
There are many places at which you could volunteer, - libraries, museums, hospitals and schools, to name a few. You will find that your willingness to help will be greatly appreciated. And who knows what social life might develop?
Please stay here, with us. We ALL need each other!

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2007

Hi,I feel like a survivor too although the cancer metatisized to my liver now. I was given 3-6 months to live twice. Onc when I was first diagnosed with lung cancer and then a year later when it had spread to my liver. I had lung surgery and had a brain tumour removed (when it had spread the first time). I was so blessed that I responded well to chemo for the liver tumours (there were many...one was 5 cm and one was 3.5 and approx. 12 more). They can now only see 2--and they are 1.7 ml and 1 ml. The start of this was January, 2005. I moved to a new community and didn't know anyone except my two daughters and my husband was with me. I got very bored and started volunteering my time with seniors through my local Community Resources Centre. It has given me much pleasure and I've met some great people. I highly recommend this to relieve your boredom. Depression and loneliness makes you feel like you can do nothing, but YOU can....

Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

The folks from my first Relay for Life said I was a survivor as soon as I was diagnosed. I got to admit I didn't feel much like one then: drafted onto the front lines is what it felt like. But if I could call myself a survivor from day one, you are even more so while dealing with a met!

Posts: 12
Joined: Feb 2007

Hello. I just wanted to let you know that our circumstances are alot alike!! I've had enough bad luck to last 10 people a life time!! I was disabled due to a back surgery gone wrong, and left unable to work. So my life sucked pretty bad before my cancer dx!!
Although things are a little better now that Spring/Summer is here, like you, I don't get out of the house much. I don't have any close friends, and I don't have a close knit family. I spend many hours/days alone, (other than my dogs) and a "rare glimpse" of my Son coming and going!!
I know what you mean about wondering what the heck is wrong with me, because I didn't have that warm and fuzzy "rebirth" feeling!! Then, the same feelings of letting God down!!
But like the others have said, I have found that trying to help the "new comers" with their fears and worries, helps me. And lately, God has helped me alot in coping with my emotions through all of this mess!!!
I have a number you can call, where the Cancer Society will match you up with a support person you can call and talk to by phone, or maybe even in person? If you want it, just let me know, and I'll be happy to give you the number. Also, I'll be your friend, you can post and talk to me here if you like? Anyway, just hang in there. You've been through alot emotionally and otherwise!!! Things will get better, every day is a new day!! Every day when I get up, I make the decision to do the best I can and try to be happy and have a good day. It's been working as of late, so I'm greatful for that!!! Take care and God Bless. Prayers coming your way dreamer, (Until I know your first name)!!! Deb

Posts: 19
Joined: Oct 2005

Hi Deb - I can't tell you how grateful I was to receive your email. I felt you honestly understood what I was saying.

I would love the number to the support group. Although I talk to a counselor from my oncologist office, it may be what I need to talk to someone new.

What struck me as so ironic is that my reason for being on disability right now is because of back problems and I am currently contimplating surgery. However, after reading your email, I may reconsider! :)

I went today for my 3 month Cat Scan, it's always scary when it comes time for that. I get the results Monday when I see my oncologist.

If you want to email me directly, please feel free. My email is lilie@cox.net . Maybe we can be pen pals...LOL

Again..thank you and God Bless You.

Posts: 12
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi Lilie, (pretty name)!!!! Nice to meet you and I'm glad I helped you feel better, because I do understand. I don't get on-line everyday, but I'll be happy to look you up and drop you a line when I do, ok?? ok!!! haha. Here's the phone number I wanted to give you, it's 1-800-813-4673. Also, there's another support group that I'm apart of, much like this one, that helped me ALOT, when I was first diagnosed. I'll send you that information in an e-mail. My e-mail address is: debber216@yahoo.com so you feel free to e-mail me also. So anyway, I hope you're feeling a little better about things, and I hope you call the number, I think that will help you alot too!!! And the "penpal" thing sounds good, I could use someone to talk to too!!! Take care, God Bless and hugs!!!! Deb

Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2006

Dear Dreamer,
I, too, am now cancer free after surgery for lung cancer and chemo just about two and a half years ago. I've not contributed to the CSN before because I also feel that I really don't belong because I'm not sick, I've survived -- but that what this is, the Cancer Survivors Network!! I'm sorry that you don't have a lot of people around to support you and keep you busy. Perhaps you can force yourself to just get up and get out of the house -- even just to go for a walk. Staying in just makes one feel worse! I'm not the type to join clubs, etc. but because we moved to a new community I, for the first time in my life, joined a women's club and signed up to take French lessons -- just to meet people. It worked. I now know some new people. It is very important to get out and talk to others, just to keep your spirits up! You probably, and rightly so, are down because of your husband's leaving you just after your being so sick. Perhaps you should see a therapist, if you are able. Talking to someone who has the expertise to give advise is very helpful.
I can tell you that although I felt initially very appreciative of the world and just to be alive, I do sometimes forget how lucky I am because of the day-to-day aggravations that come along. Know that you are still here for a reason. You just don't know what it is yet!
Keep in touch -- and take care,
Mary Anne

Posts: 13
Joined: Mar 2007

I, too, have great feelings of depression and lonliness after my lung surgery. Even though I was declared cancer-free, just as you were, I felt like my world was closing in on me. I never go anywhere and don't even enjoy my crafts as I used to. I think after a major surgery such as we went through that depression is a symptom we all experience. I found a site sponsored by the National Cancer Institute that offers one on one on-line counseling. The sessions are completely confidential, unlike a chat room where everyone knows what you are saying, these are trained professionals and I feel like it has really helped me. The link is www.cancer.gov and you can reach the site through that link. I understand how you are feeling, I feel the same way. I feel like I don't have a right to complain either, but I am still terrified that the cancer will return. Every little pain I get it goes through my mind that the cancer is back. Sometimes I get so tired of hearing people tell me to just take it one day at a time. I think because I don't know how to take it one day at a time. I wish I could, but I look into the future and fear what might happen. Stay strong Dreamer, and know that I am thinking of you and wishing you the best. We can get through this. And you DO BELONG HERE. YOU ARE A SURVIVOR!!

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