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KarCar523's picture
Posts: 21
Joined: Oct 2008

After I Got Out Of treatment I started suffering from Post tramatic stress disorder. It has been almost 5 years but I Still have it. I ahve been to Therapy and things like that but it doesnt seem to help. Has anyone esle who had PTSD been able to get over it? i would love to know if i will be able to overcome this.

Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2009

I was once diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and then put on medication that made things worse (I changed doctors after that). I don't have PTSD per se, but I have much higher stress levels than a normal person. Mine is also tied to depression. I've found counseling to be helpful, as long as I am consistent with it. Something I'm looking into now is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and I'm hoping I'll have some success with that, combined with counseling. I wish I could be more helpful, but that's all I've got for now.

maryruth1035's picture
Posts: 16
Joined: Mar 2009

I'm 51 now--so I've been cancer free for over 50 years. I think maybe because I was so young when the cancer was removed (8 weeks) I didn't have what were considered 'normal' stress symptoms, but I grew up hypervigilent (always extra on edge and looking out for trouble) and pretty hyper in general. I NEVER expected to live past my thirtieth birthday--and remember feeling a bit odd when I hit 31! SO--I'd say that some of the odd feelings stay with you--but they mellow with time.

When you say PTSD are you talking fuul blown, flashbacks, nightmares, can't sleep, etc? Strangely, well into my '20s, I could still remember the ringing in my ears and would 'flash' on the Operating Room memories whenever I smelled ether (Back in the day they used ether to knock you out and it had a very distinctive 'flavor' or smell, and was frequently used in household items and drycleaning fluids, so I had multiple occasions to smell it. I thin that sort of flashing on things, when triggered, is pretty normal for a while, after all, your body and your psyche have been thru a huge trauma!

Still, I'm wondering, did the therapists you saw do EMDR with you? Because most PTSD victims have had great success working with a therapist trained in EMDR. You should have a therapist who is 'level 2 trained'. They are better equipped to deal with more difficult cases, and in the case of cancer, the problem is, you are still potentially on the battlefield--your fear that it could come back again are not completely unjustified. So there is some fear you (and other cancer survivors) will always live with. I call it 'the dragon who may be chasing me, but I'm not looking back to see...'

We KNOW how frail life is and that it is delicate. Most people your age do not know that. I remember being a loner growing up--partly because other kids never seemed to see things the way I did--like my 'innocence' was broken, along with me. I always got along better with other 'broken' kids who valued life more and were more psychologically sensative.

Have you tried journaling your everyday crises? I started journaling when I was about 18--and now I have over 30 years of my journey journaled! Not every day, but just the days I'm particularly jumpy or edgy or 'down'. I get a blank book with a pretty cover and started by writing letters to God, or to myself (As thoughI knew that in 5 years there would be an older me reading it--I'd actually ask myself questions and leave a space to write in the answer 5years later, like "I wonder, Maryruth, Do you still love Brian?" I found that writing poems was a good release and sometimes drawing was a good release--I did all of that in my private journal that no one but me got to see. And I really love going back to see the ways I have grown and the ways I am the same 30 years later!

Anyway--I don't know if any of this was helpful, but I hope so! Take good care of yourself and allow yourself some room to 'be a little crazy' now and then--you've earned the right!

KarCar523's picture
Posts: 21
Joined: Oct 2008

I have flashbacks from smells, sounds, words. the nightmares come and go. I will get them for a while like 2-4 times a week for a month or so but then they will stop for a month or two. but they always come back. And yes many nights i lie awake because i cant sleep. Its 2 a.m. right now but i dont really mind that part. I like the silence.

You said " We KNOW how frail life is and that it is delicate. Most people your age do not know that. I remember being a loner growing up--partly because other kids never seemed to see things the way I did--like my 'innocence' was broken, along with me."

Thats exactly how I feel. Its crazy to think someone else actually felt that was. I have so many childhood cancer survivor friends but none of them seem to be effected as bad as I am. Its good to hear i'm not alone.

Its changed me, I have been cancer free for 5 whole years and still it haunts me.
but I dont like telling my friends and family about the flashbacks or nightmares because it upsets them. Especially my mom, shes seen me go through so much pain and all she could do was sit and watch. I dont think she can take anymore.

The one thing that gets me through the day is music. I play piano and Guitar and I am trying to deal with stuff through that, and hopefully over more time it will help.

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